Media can influence how individuals relate and understand one another. Scholars are usually interested in understanding culture diversity in the media (Barker 1999). One way of comprehending cultural differences in the media is to analyze characters who share aspects of our identity (Bordwell 2013). The article below examines how a celebrity of my choice interacts with other actors. Through this, the paper will identify how the media represents diverse cultures and how they define outsider groups.
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The report will focus on Lynn Chen. Chen is an American female actor (Saving Face 2004). She shares the aspect of my identity because she is liberal and a body activist. She became famous for starring in Saving Face. The motion picture is a love and comedy production directed by Alice Wu (Saving Face 2004). The film featured Asian American actors. Through it, Alice Wu challenged several stereotypes and prejudices held by the American communities about Asian American communities. To aid with this analysis reference will be made to Will, Goa, and Alice Wu.
The scene where Chen, Wil, and Gao interact indicates that the media depicts some Asian American cultures to be authoritative and outdated (Saving Face 2004). Wil, a surgeon, falls in love with Chen. They both come from the same neighborhood. Their relationship is put to a test when Gao relocates to Wil’s apartment. Gao, who is a widow, has been sent away from her society after she failed to name the person responsible for her pregnancy. A group of elders from Asian American community reached the decision to save the society’s image (Saving Face 2004). The film’s director used appropriate costumes to enhance the above scene.
In the movie, Wil’s mother dresses in Chinese aprons, while her daughter dresses in designer clothes (Saving Face 2004). By selecting appropriate costumes, the film’s director created scenes in the movie that would be familiar to both Asian and Asian American audience. Similarly, to enhance the struggle of a daughter and a mother trying to come to terms with their lives, the film’s director controlled systematically the pace and the tone of the film. Through these, she manages to capture the movie in a comical and romantic manner (Saving Face 2004).
The scene illustrated above demonstrates how the film tried to depict Asian American culture as authoritative and outdated. It was wrong for Gao to be sent away from the society for failing to identify the father of her unborn child. Through these, the film tries to criticize the prejudices and taboos held by both Asian and Asian American societies against sexuality. According to Asian conservative societies, it was uncultured for Wil’s mother to have a child as a widow because she had other children from her deceased husband.
Equally, the scene where Chen’s father tries to persuade her to marry a man of his choice illustrates that the media suggests that some Asian American cultures are outdated (Saving Face 2004). Chen is confused between choosing a lover of her choice and following her father’s instructions. Through the above scene, the director of the film wanted to ridicule Asian American outmoded cultural behaviors. In the US, Asian origin societies have upheld their cultural values for centuries. Through the cultural conflicts and confusions depicted in the scene the film’s director highlighted the struggles faced by liberal Asian American individuals in a conservative society (Kelly & Robson 2014). By doing so, the film’s director tried to reveal a different understanding of Asian American cultures to the rest of the world.
The scene where Chen falls in love with Wil illustrates that she is liberal unlike her society (Saving Face 2004). In one scene, Chen invited Wil for a dance. At the end of the show, the two friends took the time to know each other. During the conversation, Chen revealed to Wil that they had interacted when they were children. Chen reminded Wil that she had once rescued her from bullies in school. Later, that day, they both went to Chen’s apartment (Saving Face 2004).
There, the two friends exchanged a kiss. In other scenes, the couple organizes several dates. However, in all these times Wil is scared to kiss Chen in public. The act causes pressure in their relationship. Later, they separate due to social expectations (Saving Face 2004). The society was against their relationship. Homosexuality in Asian American societies is not only unusual but also condemned. Therefore, the two lovers had to keep their private lives away from the public to save their families’ image. Through these, the film tries to criticize the prejudices and taboos held by societies against homosexuality and sexuality.
When looking at Chen’s role as a liberal woman amongst an authoritative Asian American society, she is treated as a rebel (Saving Face 2004). Although she stills admires the Asian culture, she is quick to point out what she believes is wrong with it. In many scenes, the film poses multiple stereotypes about the Asian communities. Both Wil and Chen are consistently deemed as rebels by many male characters in the film (Saving Face 2004).
The above links back to our shared identity attribution of being a liberal. As such, Chen is depicted as an open-minded character in the film. She has embraced both the Asian and the American culture. Because of this, her behavior seems strange to the elderly members of her community. Monaco James in his book How to Read a Film suggests that some genders are underrepresented in the media. The above situation has been exhibited in Saving Face (Monaco 2009).
Throughout the film, women are not allowed to make their decisions. As such, the society dictates the people the women should date. After Goa gets pregnant out of wedlock, her father chases her away from home. She is not even given a chance to defend herself of why she got pregnant. Similarly, Wil and Chen feared to kiss in public like other lovers because they did not want to embarrass their family members (Saving Face 2004). Through the above illustrations, Saving Face highlights an old stereotype of protagonist society that undermines women’s role.
The realm of public and private are perceived as separate, overlapping areas (Saving Face 2004). Through the film, the director attempts to show how the two spheres interact. In Saving Faces by Alice Wu, Asian American habits of portraying decent public images and concealing personal issues away from the public have been heavily criticized (Saving Face 2004). In the film, Wil is depicted struggling to hide her homosexual behaviors from her mother because she knew that her mother would not easily tolerate her behavior. On the other hand, Wil’s mother had a secret affair, which she concealed from her daughter and the public. Through these, we realize that the two actors portrayed contradicting behaviors in public and in private places. By doing so, the film’s director managed to invoke tension among his targeted audience (Tehee 2007). In America, Asian American communities are renowned for their different habits in public and private places.
In conclusion, it should be noted that media influences how individuals in our societies relate and understand one another. One way of comprehending cultural differences in the media is to analyze characters who share aspects of our identity. The article above examines how a celebrity with an aspect of my personality interacts with other casts. In the film, Chen reveals several stereotypes and prejudices held by the American communities about Asian American communities.
She shares the aspect of my identity because she is liberal and a body activist. The scene where Chen, Wil, and Gao interact indicates that the media depicts some Asian American cultures to be authoritative and outdated. Besides, the act where Chen’s father tries to persuade her to marry a man of his choice demonstrates that the media suggests that some Asian American cultures are outdated. Chen is confused between choosing a lover of her choice and following her father’s instructions. Through the above part, the director of the film wanted to ridicule Asian American outmoded cultural behaviors. The section where Chen falls in love with Wil illustrates that she is liberal unlike her society. Through the above interactions, the film tries to criticize the prejudices and taboos held by communities against homosexuality and sexuality.
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Barker, C 1999, Television, globalization and cultural identities, Open University Press, Buckingham. Web.
Bordwell, D 2013, Film art, McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y. Web.
Kelly, G & Robson, C 2014, Celluloid ceiling, Supernova Books, Twickenham. Web.
Monaco, J 2009, How to Read a Film: The World of Movies, Media, Multimedia Language, History, Theory, Oxford University Press, New York. Web.
Saving Face 2004, DVD, Destination Films, New York. Web.
Tehee, M 2007, ‘American Indian and European American Women’s Perceptions of Domestic Violence’, J Fam Viol, vol. 23, no. 1, pp.25-35. Web.