New Film Challenges Harmful Stereotypes About Asian Women

by Emma Tilden

“Asian Girlz,” a song by Day Above Ground, opens with the lines “Asian girl, she’s my Asian girl,/ you’re my Asian girl.”  Right off the bat, the singer proclaims his ownership of a woman (or ‘girl’) who he identifies only through her race. PS, NSFW:

The song only gets worse from there, fetishizing Asian women through its use of sexually aggressive language and, in the music video, imagery.  It relies on the common stereotype of Asian women as “submissive,” and is characterized by a presentation of hyper-sexualized images.  

Such a fetishized notion of Asian women is hardly unfamiliar, and Angela Seo, Mila Zuo, and Mira Lew are taking a stand.  The three women are working to produce a short music film entitled “Carnal Orient” which will contest the objectification and hyper-sexualization of Asian women.  Seo, Zuo, and Lew will be using music, performance, and special effects to reveal what they describe as the “nightmarish undertones of Asian fetish” through a psychological exploration of carnal desire and pleasure.  By highlighting the degrading, abusive dehumanization inherent in Asian fetishization, they hope to remind the viewers of the very real violence that results from these images. 

“Carnal Orient” will counteract these images, confronting the viewer by presenting unsettling images inspired stylistically by the early work of Chris Cunningham, David Lynch, and David Cronenberg and others.  The film will work to provoke its viewers, forcing them to reconsider the stereotypes which they have built around the notion of “the Asian woman.”  Seo, Zuo, and Lew are asking for support to help them produce the best film possible and to combat the fetishized notion of the stereotypical “Asian woman.” You can find the teaser here. 

Images courtesy of Vimeo and YouTube.

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