美国影视艺术专业report-亚裔形象在美国电影中的影响

2017-06-15 10:28:04      点击:
 

                        摘要

     随着全球化的发展,越来越多的亚裔形象在美国影视剧中出现。不难发现,一直以来,无论何种类型的影片,亚裔形象大都以一种刻版化,单一化甚至反面的形象出现。从十九世纪末期到二十世纪中期,亚裔美国人一直被视为黄祸,在美国生活的方方面面都遭到排斥。

     而近年来,作者渐渐发现,荧屏上的亚裔形象在悄然间发生了改变。他们正在逐渐脱离刻板而变得多元。是什么造成了这种改变的发生?这种改变是如何体现出的?又对亚裔以及美国影视有什么意义?本文分析了亚裔形象改变的具体表现,从不同角度探究这种改变发生的原因,为进一步探究亚裔形象在美国影视中的发展提供参考依据。

       关键词:美国影视;亚裔形象;刻板形象; 提升;原因

                       Abstract

With the development of globalization, more and more Asian image appeared in the American film and television drama. Is not difficult to find, and has been, no matter what type of movie, most of the Asian image of an engraved version of the homogenization even negative image. From the 19th century to the mid-twentieth century, Asian Americans were viewed as the “yellow peril” and were legally, socially and economically excluded from the main stage of American life.

However, in recent years, the author gradually found Asian image on the screen is a quietly changed. They are moving away from the stereotype. What caused this change occurred? How to reflect this change? What is the significance of the Asian as well as American film and television? This paper analyzes the performance of the Asian image change from different angles to explore this change occurred, to provide reference for the development of the film and television in the United States to further explore the Asian image.

Key Words: American movies; Asian images; stereotypes; cross-cultural communications

I. Introduction

A.Significance of the study

1.Effect on the audience
     Screen images has a profound impact on people’s life. It seems that the movies which related to the "anti-Asian" once become a mainstream movie about Asians in the history of American film. This behavior caused a strong protest and boycott by the Asians. However, the ruined Asian images still has a far-reaching impact. These images will let American audience gradually transformed into a formulary mindset from initial curious about the Asian and it will affect American’s attitude toward Asian in daily life. Under various incentives, the images of Asian in reality seems to be more and more closer to "the recognized screen images". The performance and the situation of most Asian roles in the film will be considered a reflection of reality, and the same as living conditions. So that Asian mages has became a symbol that universally recognized by foreign audiences which is a huge mistake. This will engender some barriers or misunderstood of Asians in communicating with people in other countries, or even stimulate a part of Western people’s anti-Asian sentiment. That will cause overseas Asian’s threaten of the personal and property safety. Overseas have occurred many anti-Asian unrests and a partial reason is the dissemination images in American films.

电视剧对人们的生活产生了深远的影响,国外的形象也通过屏幕传播到了国内,很多人多国外的理解,都是来自于电视,这种现象也被称为银幕现象。
    Study the improvement of Asian images in recent years can spread the Asian culture while the more foreign audiences could have a better impression and a deeper understanding of Asian, and also, this study can make the Asian actor gradually move towards the world level of performing arts process into an positive and normal track.

 

2 Effect on national image
    Compared with art of music, painting and sculpture, film is a kind of art that more intuitive and vivid. It’s effect can be directly mapped into subconscious mind of general public, and have more vitality and more far-reaching than those highly timeliness news media.

近几年的研究发现,亚洲形象可以传播亚洲文化,很多观众可以对亚洲有更好的印象,对亚洲有更深入的理解。这就可以使亚洲的演员在演艺圈有积极向上的发展。

     Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan who was an actor before had publicly expressed his understanding of Hollywood movies as early as in 1950s during the Cold War, " The ideological struggle on the screen in today's world, not propaganda but the story of the United States, is successfully fought back the iron curtain propaganda offensive from the other side. It is the movie of the United States, showing to the people from all over the world our stores that filled with our American goods, the parking lot in United States of America, showing the streets which full of cars in United States of America, even the drivers in United States of America, we should feel proud of our films." The (Li Xiguang: Behind the "demonizing China", China Social Sciences Press, 1996, 227. Translation) As the matter of fact, the American movie as a promotional image of the country from the beginning. The U.S. government also took advantage of the Hollywood film can across borders and cultural barriers so they successfully lead the American ideology penetrate into other cultures through the entertaining way.

与音乐 绘画和雕塑相比,电影是一种更直观,生动的艺术,它的效果可以直接进入人们的潜意识,比那些新闻媒体更有影响力,影响更深远。

     At the status of people continue to pursue the national temperament and racial equality, the film culture communication effect and national temperament shaping effect was brought up continuously, and more and more valuable. Therefore, Along with the raising level of the audience viewing, the film has been not just to make money and entertainment tool, it is carrier which has vitality and a unique character. Its ideology will comprehensive printed into the audience’s consciousness while in communication with the audience. This influence is indelible.
    Therefore the intention to study in Asian image
s in American film is that, we can summarize the reasons of the changing image through the analysis of the improvement of Asian image, thus Asian culture could spread to the world faster, and the world can have a better way to understand Asian.

B. Thesis statement

    Through the analysis of the improvement of Asian images in American film and television shows in recent years, we can see that although the Asian image have negative and stereotype as before sometimes, but still improved in general. This is closely related to the increment of Asian strength and influence of American market factors.

C. Organization of the paper

   

II. Literature review

A "Stereotype" introduction and theory
      The definition of stereotype in Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is something conforming to a fixed or general pattern, especially a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.
(Webster 1994:1314 Microsoft R Encarta Encyclopedia 2002, Microsoft Corporation) Various ethnic minorities are typed forcedly by the mainstream American society through Hegemony. It is a manifestation of racism. When the stereotypical images form a system and are immobilized, we will only concern the facts which match and turn a blind eye to the contrary. ( Walter LippmannPublic Opinion [M]New YorkFreepress[1922]1965) Although stereotype can sometimes help people understand some of the salient features of other people or groups, it is still a formed stereotyped view of people and events. The prevalent stereotypes have profound impact on the psychological level to the public. In racist society, the hegemonic class allocate existing roles of ethnic minorities by stereotypes to maintain their power structure and ruling order. But under the hegemony manipulation, the Asian image in the eyes of American whites also change, and the stereotype of Asians experienced the evolution from the Yellow Peril to Model Minority. (On the United States in the hearts of the Asian male stereotype) These examples show that if comb China’s images in American film today detailedly and systematically, we can still find mainstream of Western ideology exist and play a role in the old mode of interpretation of Chinese culture. The old routine produce sustained and profound impact on this nation’s dissimilar cultural stance once generated. “A single form and a single semantic figure” once become conventional phrases, it will penetrate into a nation’s deep psychological structure, continue to release energy, and influence the views of the descendants. (宋伟杰. 美国电影里的中国形象)

B Previous studies of Asian image
      Asian Americans in history suffered in quilting the stereotyped images in the definition of their identities and personality characteristics. “The general function of any stereotypes is to establish and maintain order between the various elements of this society, continue and develop Western civilization, to strengthen Caucasian hegemony in minimum efforts and concerns as well as minimum costs.”(
Frank Chin, et al., eds. Aiiieeeee!:An Anthology Of Asian American Writers [M],Washington D. C.: Howard UP, 1974, p. xi, xi, x,xxvi.) It is a necessary prerequisite constructing an independent and complete Chinese ethnic identity and cultural attributes to put these stereotypes in specific social and historical context, to understand its formation, type and impact, to reveal its underlying ideology. The product of Yellow Peril are the evil Fu Manchu, “Clown” Detective Charlie Chan who lack of masculinity and feminine and exotic Oriental women. (李希光[美] 刘康等《妖魔化中国的背后》,中国社会科学出版社1996 11 月版) Stereotypes formed based on the personality characteristics of the ethnic Chinese are summarized in the two types of “racist hate” and “racist love”. The representative of the former is Fu Manchu, while Charlie Chan is typical of the latter. They are widely and popularly circulated along with the 1920’s and 30’s, the rise of the film industry. Fu Manchu is a typical representative of the "yellow peril", is evil, cunning and depraved pagan image, exactly the right time with the implementation of the "Chinese Exclusion Act" which because Westerners feared the arrival of a large number of Chinese would subvert Western civilization and their rule. From 1913 to 1959, Romer wrote dozen novels about the villain Fu Manchu; in 1929, Hollywood began to shoot the Fu Manchu theme movies, has been extended to 1980, and shot a total of fourteen. The image of the Fu Manchu was popular in Europe and the United States for more than half a century, and was deep-rooted. Racism used Hollywood movies as media to strongly perform all the ugly of racist hate: Chinatown was an evil breeding place, filled with prostitutes, gangsters, opium, smuggling and gambling; Asian men’s appearance are wretched and thin, with ugly image, grotesque behavior and lack of masculinity, in stark contrast with forthright westerners; while Asian women were "China Doll", prostitutes and flirtatious women, and become the preys of white men. ( 虹:解读华裔美国人的几种刻板形象)  The determinants of production of the images of China in American films include social differences and cultural divide between the United States and China, the depth of two sides exchange and exposure degree, the political demands and cultural anxiety of the specific historical period as well as feeling and worldview of different artists. (宋伟杰. 美国电影里的中国形象)

III. Analysis of Asian images in American TV shows
A. The old stereotypical images
      Have to say on the issue of the treatment of ethnic and cultural differences, American dramas have the stereotyped tradition to the exotic images which have entered their sights. The stereotyped Asian images in American dramas are not come out of zero, but have profound social and historical roots. “In the eyes of Americans, China is quirky, idealistic, disillusioned or sociological.”(
费正清. 美国与中国[M ] 北京 商务印书馆,1971.) In the time of seven consecutive generations, the white American mainstream society reproduced the Chinese men as a cynical and vulnerable ethnic which is lack of masculinity through a variety of ways, through reproduction of the movie lens, and Asian stereotypes continued to deepen and strengthen.

     Liu Xiaoqing has said a fateful words, means that the greatest tragedy of their generation actors is unable to become a world-class movie star. These words have a certain degree of accuracy. Even Joan Chen went to Hollywood and starred in the art and mainstream films such as "Taipan" "The Last Emperor" etc., her role is still unable to escape the pathetic image of the Asian woman with the strong dependence.

      Male images, such as the image of Bruce Lee's martial arts, has become the Chinese men forever “martial arts routines”. Possible Bruce Lee himself did not expect, his martial arts in those days which in order to get rid of the negative image of the coward Chinese will create another stiff Chinese thug face. Different with the Bruce Lee’s valent image, the roles of Chinese men in the martial arts in the U.S. film and television are almost all the gang thugs.

     A small number of roles with lines or equivalent to supporting roles, the image of Chinese men are mostly cold triad members, while for women are the killers, prostitutes or witch images in contemporary American films. The China gang coach played by Jet Li in Letha Weapon IV, the Chinese nationals crime gang leader played by Simon Yam in The Cradle of Life, the mainland woman urgently needing to settle in Hong Kong played by Gong Li and distressed stricken woman played by Maggie Cheung in Chinese box, the controversial female vampire played by Lucy Liu in Rise bloodhunter and cold female killer in Charlie's Angels series, these hero images are mostly related to Chinese martial arts. It is can be said that the survival or success of Asian film and television personnel performing arts in the U.S. media, to a large extent, rely on repeating, even leaving heavier American mainstream awareness of Chinese culture and Chinese bias. The fifth-generation Chinese directors’ films also took advantage of and catered to the perspective of the Chinese people in the West to open the western markets. Fifth-generation Chinese and continental directors’ movies played a role in fueling the deterioration of the typical stereotypes of these Chinese.                                   

     Therefore, the mainstream of Western society consider more that all Chinese culture and life must be backward, disastrous and terrible, and the Chinese men are vicious, or stiff, or killing and robbing, or with big braids, or looking fierce, or weak. Chinese in the United States must be ridiculous nerds, bullied bosses in restaurants or laundries, or sissy feminized footmen. Ethnic Chinese women images are attached to the white males to meet the psychological satisfaction of mainstream American male audiences of protecting the weak females. Asian actors are still only accepted to come off the bench as thugs. From Hollywood to the TV, prejudice to Chinese is very deep, and also has an enormous impact on the next generation of Chinese mentality. When China was debilitated with separate territory, the image of China in the United States tended to be more positive. “When China is strong and with external development potential, the image of China in the United States is getting negative.” (文车. 百年来美国人看中国理想化与误解两极间摇摆[ N]. 环球时报, 2005- 10- 11.)

B. The new improved images
      Asian men: In recent years, the U.S. Film and television respond to the trend of the development of the multi-cultural, and increase the performance of ethnic minorities in mainstream TV drama, from the early "Ganga Ding Highway"’s (1994) correction of Hollywood myth, made effort to digest these harmful stereotypes in ironic and exaggerated language, dedicated to reshape Chinese American masculinity. "Ganga Ding Highway" also invoked the hero tradition of Chinese traditional culture to digest Charlie Chan stereotype deeply rooted in the American mainstream culture. It borrowed "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" and other Chinese classic works which manifest heroes in many places as examples that the Asian Americans did not discard the heroic qualities of traditional Chinese culture. The image of Chinese descents is different from the United States distorted image of the mainstream society; and the true nature of the Chinese-Americans’ self-confidence and brave are enough to expose the imagination of the white American mainstream society and replace the negative image of Chinese Americans in mainstream American culture. “It is an effective strategy to counter-attack the minds of white American-Chinese stereotypes to insist on maintaining the true essence of the Chinese American, advocate ethnic Chinese heroic tradition, and strongly believe this hero tradition.” (
牟为姣 邹丽丹:解构美国华裔男性的刻板形象) Including Jackie’s films made in Hollywood, whether he is the driver in The Tuxedo, master of Qing Dynasty in Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knight, police in Rush Hour series and Highbinders, The Medallion, the Passepartout in A round the World in 80 Days, all eventually rescued with his own effort in a comedy and a thrilling and distressed atmosphere. In addition, Jet Li is also worth mentioning. The One which he starred contains a dual identity between justice and evil, and the film's fight scenes are superb. Kiss of the Dragon, The Unleashed and the action blockbuster War achieve hero myth by virtue of his extraordinary skills.

     Take  the extremely popular drama in recent years The Big Bang Theory for example, this drama use "scientific genius" as background, tells the story of a beautiful woman and four science otaku sitcom. And as one of the four main protagonist Rajesh Koothrappali is an astrophysicist in the Physics Department at Caltech, best known for a publication on the Kuiper belt object size distribution.” (Wikipedia) His cultural background, personality characteristics leads to a lot of jokes. Raj's principal characteristic is his shyness and inability to speak to or around non-related women become his lovely place. Not to mention his humor natural Indian accent, also became the favorite characters of many viewers.

      Asian women: Asian women’s status improved relatively faster than men and remains so to this day. This is more or less benefited from the Asian women have been "beautiful dream" image in the minds of white men. With the further development of the feminist movement in the United States, many white males found American woman was no longer the ideal good wife, so gentle, virtuous and considerate Asian women are more welcomed by many white men. Such a good impression of Asian women also brought to colleges, companies and other social work fields. With the growth of the descendants of Chinese immigrants in the 1970s, Asian women made full use of the goodwill of the white society to enter show business. The rise of Asian women in American society gradually affected the film and television industry in the United States. The influence including the industrious and brave Chinese peasant woman image in "Earth" is known to be a breakthrough in the history of American film, and changed earlier stereotyped image of the Chinese (supporting roles like opium diseased, Funny chef and laundry assistant, and protagonist like sinister Vamp and barbarous warlords mentioned before). As well as the largest film on the theme of Asian women is adapted according to Amy Tan’s novel "The Joy Luck Club". "The Joy Luck Club" was shot in 1993, was a story describing the four families, two generations of Chinese mother and daughter. This is like Spielberg’s film "The Color Purple”, a female self-improvement-themed films. From the point of view of the female self-reliance movie, "The Joy Luck Club" is quite successful. Many excellent performances of Chinese actresses made many Americans see Chinese side of "normal people’s" life and struggle in the United States, and remains a model for female theme movie.

     Take nine-year popular drama Grey's Anatomy for example, its second heroine Cristina Yang is a Korean doctor, although there is nothing attractive about her appearance, she won the higher popularity and more favorite than the heroine. She is outstanding, a double PhD graduate from Stanford University; She focused on Cardiothoracic Surgery and works very hard, became the most outstanding figure in the Seattle Grace Hospital from her first year of internship; her dedication made her always fight for her goals. The character is also outspoken and frankly. She treat her friend well, although lukewarm in the language but warm in her heart. Today Cristina Yang become not only a classic role in American drama, but also become a new idol of many girls who desire for independence and the pursuit of perfection and urged self  improvement.

     Launched in 2010 by CW television drama Nikita tells about a killer named Nikita succeeded in finding the vulnerability of important confidential government agencies, when she attempted to completely dismantle the agency, Nikita past colleagues have been appearing and ready to kill her. The heroine hired the Vietnamese descent Maggie Q featuring actress. This killer not only has fine selection of Asian faces and sexy body, more importantly, she has agility skill and a kind heart. Thus she is loved by the audience.
     This is the history of American drama that it is the first Asian actor  play the leading role alone in a prime time show. This has attracted increasing attention some extent explains Asian faces in the film and television work in the United States as a villain or stereotypical role, gradually moving towards important position.

    Animated image: In 1998, Hollywood put classic story of Mulan onto the screen, and with popular box office, a wonderful story, Mulan rewrites the American understanding of China. In 2000, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s blowing Oriental style and fantastic martial arts design pushed the imagination of kung-fu of Westerners to a new height. In 2008, Hollywood once again launched the animated film "Kung Fu Panda". From the plot to the mood, from the character styling to choreography, it fused the essence of the Chinese martial arts perfectly. The Chinese style is everywhere in the entire film. The two western animated film have affected the world, highlight the image of China in different ways, have a profound cultural connotation, and are imprinted with a significant era.
      Group image: In 2012, the image of China as the savior of the world was pushed to a climax. In the base of building of the ark, the Hollywood lens elements continued to render the details of the Chinese, the Chinese scenes, Chinese dialogues, Chinese actors, Mandarin systematic broadcasting, Chinese guides ships. We see the "transformation" of yellow faces, the People's Liberation Army, Tibetan grandmother who values human life,old lama who faces death calmly and serenely, Chinese official who has a compassionate heart. 2012 is a complete breakthrough. In the film, the image of Chinese people are no longer backward and dull, but full of wisdom and ability. Significant change of the image of the Chinese people as well as many Chinese elements make the movie be called "people image’s turning over in Hollywood" in public’s opinion at a time. "The New York Times” commented, “2012 shows the Chinese people superb disciplinary coordination and organizational skills, as well as the hard-working spirit, is one of the few positive inspiring force in the film. Singapore's "United Morning Post" had predicted before the exhibition of the film, " 2012 continues to perform the great of Chinese government and the Chinese the people, reflects that American filmmakers has mastered how to survive in China and the film's box office will sell largely." “2012 somehow changed the characterization of groups of Chinese people, and it is certainly related to the Americans understanding of China now.” (
刘迎红 美国电视剧中的刻板化华人形象评析 时代文学 2011)

IV. The reason of the improvement of Asian images

A. The Needs of Asia’s Film market

The Hollywood changes its publicity policy to seek survival and development in the context of globalization. For today's Hollywood , the proportion of the box office revenue of the oversea market is growing , especially in Asia, with its huge population and becoming a great potential of the emerging film market of Hollywood. For examplehaving admitted to the WTO , China committed to allow imports 20 foreign films for cinema annually to the split in circumstances consistent with the Film Management Ordinance. These imported blockbusters at the box office in Asia have achieved good results, which also make U.S. producers pretty profit from the Asia market.  “Therefore, under the impetus of the profits, the major studios have produced Asian theme films, adding Asian elements in them, or invite the Asian director and Asian actors to take part in these films in order to maximize the Asia market. ”(周勇 张雅佼 吴迪 吴储歧 电影框架与大国形象建构 基于1996_2010年间15部美国电影中中国人物形象的,现代传播2012 年第3 ( 总第188 ) ) 

 According to the statistics, Asia may become the second largest film market in the world exceeding Europe and Japan. In the future, there will even be one every four American movies just made for Asian and Oriental market. Asian movie box office market should not be underestimated. The producers need to please the tickets buyers to profit in the market. The film clearly cannot be accepted by the non-distinct Asian people if it still vilifies Asia's image as the past.  Asian men in the U.S. film and television industry, driven by market factors, gradually get rid of stereotypes. The United States Sing Tao Daily reported that a number of Asian men appeared in the American television reality show " Survivor " and " Amazing Race". And then thinking of the sudden fame after the "American Idol" William Hung, Asian men are emerging positive exposure in the U.S. media , and mainstream media join more and more Asian elements in the film and television programs in order to attract Asian audience. The fact that the first weekend box office receipt of 2012 broke through 80000000 easily will Asia as saviors climax.

B. Ascension of Asia's Comprehensive National Strength and International Political Status

     First of all, a rising Asia appears to the world during the past 15 years.  Asia’s good performances in the 2008 financial crisis show the strength and potential of this country to the world; the Chinese government’s behaviors during the Wenchuan earthquake appears Chinese response to the crisis in a timely and effective; our country reveals her charm and influence by holding Beijing Olympic Games successfully, as well as Shanghai World Expo and other large-scale events.

    As the rising of the international status, Asia plays an increasingly important role in international affairs, and her international image has also changed a lot.

    Secondly, the Sino-US relations turn from "confrontation" to "dialogue", which changed the attitude of the U.S to Asia. Since 1996, the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all focus on the stability and improvement of Sino-US relations.They have cooperation in many other areas including economy, terrorism, cultural exchanges, etc. Asia and the United States needs communication on these issues. Under the background of sound development of Sino-US relations during this new period, the Asian character in American movies shows the tendency of positive changing, which is also caused by the influence of the environment.

 C. Charm of Asian Traditional Culture and the Increasing Quality of Asian Filmmakers

    "The theme innovation became Hollywood's biggest problem at present." said by Steven Spielberg, one of the most famous Hollywood movie masters. China's rich cultural heritage gave birth to her five-thousand-year history and created magnificent eastern culture.  Mark Osborne, the director of Kung Fu Panda , once said: " The film is full of Chinese elements for being filled with adoration to Chinese traditional culture.” With the media globalization caused by international communication, American producers are aware that each race in the society own its unique characteristics, and they should present these different ethnic kin via the new diverse perspectives.

    At the same time, the Asian filmmakers acquired solid acting and distinctive Oriental features after the long-time accumulating. A lot of famous directors such as Tsui Hark, Zhang Yimou, as well as the movie stars including Joan Chen, Zhang Ziyi have obtained the widespread social impact in the international film, bringing traditional Asian culture into American films and televisions. Asian positive image created in Hollywood movie and TV shows reflects the respect and expectation for the Oriental culture. Martial arts are spreadingly used as a typical Asian cultural element.

V. Conclusion

     Considering the socioeconomic progress Asian have made throughout the decades, the change of their public image is positive. In comparison with what they been suffered a century ago, the socioeconomic status of Asian today has greatly improved.

     However, it cannot be denied that  Though there are a few positive portrayals of Asian images in American movies and dramas, the majority has an old-fashioned and distorted perspective of the Asian. The media develop these stereotypes through a blend of bad history and ignorance. Stereotypes have always been there; but Americans have become capable of masking their prejudices. Many of the negative Chinese stereotypes exist well into the 21 st century and even exist in today culture because American are very likely to have gotten their information of Chinese from archetypal entertainment. We live in a time which diversity is valued very much, but under close scrutiny, most today's films till have signs of these old stereotypes. For the most part, they are sources of humor or comedy, but they are actually still there.  It is important to read across ideological and cultural lines in order to find the most precise version of the truth.

     Therefore, it is too early to celebrate for this change because under the complimentary face of "model minority" there lies a cruel fact that Asian, have neither become the real "elite group" in American society nor been fairly treated in social life. For them, full equality and integration are still to be achieved.