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Asian Hooker Stereotype

In the Anglosphere, and particularly the USA, one classic stereotype - complete with uncomfortable overtones of sexism and racism - of pan-Asian women is the Asiatic prostitute. This trope is just a stereotype, mind, and it doesn't require someone actually being - or 'believing' that someone is - a prostitute for it to be brought up.

The trope would appear to have its origins in the 1960s and '70s, in the wake of the height of the USA's military-political intervention in Asia. Much of the exposure that US servicemen did have with the locals in Indochina was with prostitutes, as it had been during the Korean War. That films about the war should depict this, along with the endemic black-market trading and drug use, is no surprise. But films of the time also began to include ethnic-Asian characters in stories set in the USA itself, the influx of Vietnamese refugees perhaps serving to highlight the existence of the USA's Asians where before they had been largely ignored.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this trope really came into its own when Asian women were also portrayed as being prostitutes within American society. While this had some basis in reality, it's worth noting that this was virtually the only role in which Asian women were seen for many years, Dragon Lady role aside. This led to an interesting where all Asian women were either conniving kung-fu/wushu temptresses or prostitutes.

This isn't as true these days, as portrayals of Indian/Subcontinental and East Asian women tend to show them in more varied roles, even within European societies, but there's still a strong baseline of light-brown-skinned call-girl and streetwalker characters. That south-east Asia and its peoples should continue to be associated with Prostitution in European media is however unsurprising, given the influx of first-world tourists and 'sex tourists' to Indochina during and since America's heavy involvement in the region.

If the person doing the stereotyping is...

  • ...some sort of non-Asian male, then he may believe the trope and think badly of Asian women - which can get tricky, in a 'bad' way, if they're courting one. Or maybe they just exploit the trope to justify their natural cruelty to their fellow woman.
  • ...an Asian male. Indochinese tend to be cool with whatever, but if he's East Asian then he may be out to preserve Neo-Confucian/traditionalnote  gender roles. He may pressure or even 'bully' fellow Asian females into dating within their race.
  • ...a non-Asian woman. Possessed of belief in the stereotype or not, a non-Asian female might well make use of the trope to discredit her romantic rival if she and an Asian are pursuing a non-Asian. If pursuing an Asian female herself, a non-Asian female may well behave as the non-Asian male (see above). Likewise, expect instances of watchful non-Asian mothers "not being racist", but just wanting their son/daughter to marry someone who isn't a prostitute.
  • ...an Asian woman, then things are a probably a bit complicated. She has to deal with the hangups of the other categories and maybe some Internalized Categorism.

Contrast Yamato Nadeshiko and Ethical Slut. Compare Dragon Lady, Asian Babymama and Happy Ending Massage.


Examples

Fan Works

Film
  • Full Metal Jacket, with its infamous line "Me love you long time" (see the page pic). The second half of the movie takes place in Vietnam, yet the hooker saying this and a few more lines still constitute the majority of Vietnamese characters' dialogue.
    • Note that the soundtrack just happen to be about a woman breaking up and getting revenge. The movie ends with most of the squad getting gunned down by a Vietnamese sniper - who is then revealed to be young and female.
  • In Jägarna ("The Hunters"), the villains are a gang of (Swedish redneck) petty criminals. Their lifestyle is to feign sickness to get welfare money from the state, while making a lot of money by killing reindeer belonging to the local Sami ethnic minority. Early in the movie, the narrative establish these hunters as being the scum of the earth, by having them sexually harassing a waitress and insist that it's okay because she is Asian and thus a whore. After escalating to murdering some random innocent people, they escalate further to raping the waitress while their leader use "Chinese hooker" as some kind of mantra. Oh, and he does know that she's not Chinese, the incorrect use of nationality is a part of establishing him as ignorant racist scum.
  • In the 1960s movie The World of Suzie Wong, Suzie is depicted as a prostitute who falls hopelessly in love with Caucasian man who refuses to return her feelings.
  • Exploited in The Fighter, as Dicky Ecklund's girlfriend readily poses as a hooker for a scam they are running.
  • At one point in Ong Bak, an Australian fighter taunts the Thai fighters claiming Thai women come to his country to become hookers because Thai men are wimps.
  • In Mammoth, a major plotline starts with Leo visiting a place where sex-workers and clients hook up, just to have a look. He obviously expected the local prostitute to be a living stereotype: Finding out that she's a regular normal person makes him shocked and confused. He awkwardly tried to take up the role of Mighty Whitey Knight in Shining Armor instead, but it doesn't work. After that, he spends the rest of the story trying to convince himself that he's a heroic lover and that paying a sex-worker "for not having sex" and then have sex with her after all does not make him a John. This also fails miserably, and he end up leaving her without even saying good-bye... Thus after all treating her as a lowly whore to be used and discarded..
    • As for the racist "all Asian women are sex-workers" stereotype version of this trope, the movie limits this to Thailand by having Gloria as a central character, Gloria's mother as an important side character, and loads of minor female Asian characters who have nothing to do with the sex industry. In Thailand, however, every single female character who gets any actual dialogue just happens to be prostitute.
  • In The Big Hit, Keiko's initial boyfriend is Caucasian. While attempting to rape her, the jerk quotes two phrases from Full Metal Jacket: "Me sucky-sucky" and "Me love you long time". By implication calling his "girlfriend" an Asian whore.
  • Final Destination 5. When company sleazeball Isaac enters an Asian massage parlor, it's blatantly obvious that he tries to invoke this in the douchebaggiest way possible by harassing the receptionist, complete with inquiring if there will be a "happy ending". When the girl makes it clear that the place isn't a brothel, he still doesn't take the hint. He gets duly rewarded when the girl sets him up for an exceptionally rough massage performed by her much older mother.
  • Abduction Of Eden: Invoked when Eden, a sex slave in a human trafficking ring, is told to play up her "Asian shtick" for some clients. She throws on a stereotypical heavy Chinese accent while wearing a bastardized qipao costume— despite the fact that she is Korean and speaks perfect English.
    Eden: You wan take control? You wan me take control?

Literature
  • Michel Houellebecq's Platform initially play this straight, objectifying Asian women with a cold detached cynicism. Eventually deconstructed, as this perspective is gradually expanded to encompass all of humanity.

Live-Action TV
  • In Law & Order: SVU, female Asian characters are almost always prostitutes, mail-order brides, or similar.
  • Similarly, for all the Asian culture in Firefly, the only Asian character with a speaking role is a whore.
  • Dr Kelso in Scrubs frequently cheats on his wife with various prostitutes. All of them are Asian.
  • There were few Asian women in Barney Miller aside from Perlita, Frank Luger's Mail Order Bride. Dorothy Murakami came in to report a purse snatching; she is elegant and personable, and Nick Yemana is smitten, before he knows she is a streetwalker. When he finds out, he takes her out anyway.
    Nick. I can't stay out too late. I'm tired.
    Dorothy. Me too.
    Nick. I gotta work tomorrow.
    Dorothy. Me too.
    Nick. As of now, I'm officially off duty.
    Dorothy. As of now, me too.
  • M*A*S*H had several episodes dealing with Korean "business girls".

Video Games
  • Visiting Lower Hensha in Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the first time dumps you right onto the roof of a Chinese brothel. From there on, you can count on getting a bunch of jobs in the city involving hookers. On the other hand, getting them to work for you is impossible, since Adam already has a girlfriend.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • One episode of South Park has Cartman suffer a head injury that makes him forget who he is. When he wakes up after the injury, he thinks he's a female Vietnamese hooker and starts to act like the trope.


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alternative title(s): Me Love You Long Time
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