Hello out there, our lovely “A” from LA Snark’s T&A Do LA column has been swallowed by her job.
In the meantime, I, the “T” will share with you some observations I make about the entertainment we’re dished. To Tele & Film Universe (TOFU: Where you can get a side of estrogen with your entertainment) and beyond.
And yes, I know tofu only has plant estrogen, but go with it here.
This has been a busy week for discussions on “race” and “television” concerning women.
It’s not really letting up either. See Amanda Dobbins’ Vulture (New York Magazine) time line.
How did this all start? With a show, heralded as the greatest new thing for women, based in Brooklyn that is white washed.
I didn’t make this image. I snagged this from an old teacher of mine who is a Jewish man—>
There’s The Good Wife and the good Asian wife (in The Joy Luck Club) and then just the “good Asian”. I’m continuing my coverage of the diversity issue in recent entertainment because it’s been in the press a lot this week.
Just to let you know, I won’t be harping on this all the time, but will endeavor to provide more, ahem, diverse coverage of entertainment issues across different mediums. Next week I’m going to write about something I’m calling “Twit-Play” where people use Twitter pseudonyms. It’s like Cos-Play, but online and no capes and stuff.
Back to the dilemma at hand:
In Jezebel founder Anna Holmes’ New Yorker piece called Race in Lena Dunham’s “Girls”… we’re treated to the on-going saga of African-American writers (from Racialicious to Jay Smooth) pointing out entitled Generation Y white women who live with blinders on in New York, and what I like to call “Arfin-Gate”.
Arfin-Gate is where a highly paid 30-something white woman keeps putting her foot in her digital mouth. She’s made comments about the president’s skin tone resembling excrement and has given less than intelligent responses to people calling out this new HBO show and this writer, Lesley Arfin, for being racist. Alyssa Rosenberg and noted feminist Jessica Valenti author and professor have posted and re-tweeted this as “hipster racism”.
Also included by Holmes is the description of the one Asian-American female character in one episode of Girls: “Joy Lin” described as “a bespectacled, goody-goody Asian-American girl who is chosen over Hannah for a job at the publishing house where they are both intern because she has better computer-design skills.”
And the only other person of color was an African-American homeless man—in the entirety of New York f*ckin’ City.
I sense a trope here. Remember Su-Chin Qah from Juno by “Diablo Cody”, neh Brooke Busey? Joy Lin and Su-Chin- wow they rhyme.
And what about “Chonger” from What Happens in Vegas penned by Dana Fox? “Chonger” is an Asian-American woman who is the rival of the protagonist played by Cameron Diaz. Notice that all these projects mentioned were written by white women?
I discussed Liza Lapira’s Asian-American “stalker of a Caucasian woman” character named Robin on the show Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 in last week’s column.
Su-Chin is the teenaged Asian girl who stands outside in the cold alone at an abortion clinic. She holds a picket sign and tells Juno that her unborn baby now has finger nails. This part makes Su-Chin kind of look like a loser asshole, dim Conservative as compared to Juno’s hip and modern sensibilities.
Chonger as she’s referred to as, played by Michelle Krusiec, tries really hard. She’s portrayed as being the goody-goody, and just not cool. Chonger’s the kiss up. Chonger is the butt of the jokes by the boss-man. She’s the foil to Diaz’s Joy McNally, who is a guy’s gal, who has that ease to her. Men want to be with Joy and women want to be her. No one wants to be Chonger. She’s the uptight one they don’t want you to like. You catch my drift.
Lucy Liu is the only Asian-American besides Maggie Q who has crossed over into bad-ass territory without being purely objectified as an Asian flower or some such crap. Though Q has played the short skirted Asian dream girl in Balls of Fury, she has been praised for the show Nikita, a role that has only been given to Caucasians before. At least in Kill Bill, Liu’s character O-Ren is referred to as a worthy adversary and a leader in her world. In Mission Impossible, Maggie Q gets killed off with some nasty, misogynist words said to her.
Let “FireofSpring” from Tumblr tell you: “More unpleasant than the notion that Matt’s nationalism and manhood can only be validated with a gun, though, is the misogyny that creeps into Mark Bomback’s script. It’s equitable that Maggie Q’s stereotypically cold, kung-fu baddie should, after delivering a whupping to McClane, suffer a few vicious retaliatory punches to the face. Yet it’s distressing that the movie has to push its everyone’s-fair-game ethos past the breaking point during McClane’s subsequent description of his fallen female adversary as “another dead Asian hooker bitch”. Dead Asian hooker bitch. Yeah, uh huh. She’s not a hooker at all in the movie. Not at all. What is Bomback contributing to here? Goes a tad far for a mainstream theatrical release, don’t ya think?
So, the lesson here? Maybe writers, directors and producers should get “race-consultants” for their projects even for shows hailed by some a “revolutionary for women” like HBO’s Girls…
And as for Ms. Arfin? Last time I checked her Twitter account tagline, it says: “Wifey material”.