Unclear Description: Asian Hooker Stereotype

Deadlock Clock: 1st Jun 2012 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [56]
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Asian Hooker Stereotype found in: 13 articles, excluding discussions.

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This trope is doing terribly. I'm not surprised. This doesn't seem like a very prominent stereotype or trope. Looking at a few of the examples...

  • Subverted in Sin City. Sure, the only Asian character just happens to be a sex-worker - but so does almost all other female characters as well. In order to give the Asian character enough of western stereotyping, she is thus upgraded to an Asian sex-worker NINJA. It actually fits the setting perfectly. (First example is Not a Subversion; that's a bad sign.)
  • Full Metal Jacket, with its infamous line "Me love you long time". 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 character's dialogue. (Seems like an example.)
    • Note that the soundtrack just happen to be about a woman breaking up and getting revenge. The movie end with most of the squad getting gunned down by a Vietnamese sniper - who is then revealed to be young and female. (Wait, so let me get this straight; the example used for the page image isn't a full example?)
  • At one point in Ong Bac, an American fighter taunts the Thai fighters claiming Thai women come to the US and become hookers because Thai men are wimps. (This seems like a generic racist insult; I've seen similar varieties used against blacks, hispanics, and, yes, whites.)
  • 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. [[spoiler:This also fails miserably, and he end up leaving her without even saying good-bye... (Okay, this is good.)
    • As for the racist "all Asian women are sex-workers" stereotype version of this trope, the movie averts it 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. (So... It's not an example?)
  • Michael Holbeq's Platform initially play this straight, objectifying Asian women with a cold detached cynicism. Eventually deconstructed, as this perspective is expanded to encompass all of mankind. (Okay, how many straight examples are there?)
  • On the South Park episode "Cow Days", Cartman starts acting and talking like the Vietnamese prostitute of Full Metal Jacket after a Tap on the Head. (Specific reference to another work, and not an example itself.)

So yeah, most of the examples for this are subversions, aversions, not-examples, etc. There are a few straight ones, but not many. I'm not sure if this is tropeworthy or a common stereotype; I haven't had much experience with racism towards Asians. However, it's definitely not thriving.

edited 25th Apr '12 8:49:49 PM by Scardoll

I don't understand what "the stereotype" is, exactly. Appears to be all over the place. Doesn't seem tropeworthy.
Becky: Who are you? The Mysterious Stranger: An angel.
Huck: What's your name? The Mysterious Stranger: Satan.
The sterotype is say, if you go to Bangkok, you're going for only one reason. If you go to an Asian Massage Parlor... get me?
4 peccantis25th Apr 2012 10:22:39 PM , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
the flies will find you
Should be noted that (at least on media level) it's likely a Discredited Trope (or a Dead Unicorn Trope), hence the aversions and subversions dominating.

edited 25th Apr '12 10:24:42 PM by peccantis

before the darkness arrives
^^ What part of the description says anything like that? "It can also be used against male white characters, accusing him of being a john for visiting Asian countries or hanging out with Asian women."? That is only somewhat the same idea, and it is one sentence out of several dozen, which all describe pretty distinct concepts. I realize that a trope can play out in a lot of different ways, but summarizing it in a sentence or two seems like a reasonable request. Can it be answered?

...and no "get me?"s please. My point is no, I don't. Explain.

edited 25th Apr '12 10:59:32 PM by rodneyAnonymous

Becky: Who are you? The Mysterious Stranger: An angel.
Huck: What's your name? The Mysterious Stranger: Satan.
Starting out among white people, this stereotype has since been adopted and nourished by some conservative Asians, as a Double Standard to keep "their" women in line: Western women can be free and still respectable, but an Asian woman behaving in the same way is to be condemned as a prostitute. This typically come in the form of Entitled to Have You implications that every Asian woman has some kind of duty to marry an Asian man - if she goes Asian Gal with White Guy it makes her a Race Traitor.

I was just looking through the description, and I've got to say, this is one of the creepiest paragraphs I've seen on tv tropes. Maybe this is all unintentional, but the last line makes it sound like the complaining of a very lonely man.

Also, the description is schizophrenic as all hell. What is this stereotype?

  • Asian women being materialistic about their bodies
  • White men seeing Asian women as sex objects
  • Asian men being repressive of Asian womens' sexuality.
  • White men seeing sex with Asian women as easy and shallow (God, I felt horrible writing that)

edited 25th Apr '12 11:53:50 PM by Scardoll


This trope is two or three months old. How do you expect it to thrive? It was made as a result of the Asian Gal with White Guy thread. Did you look at when it was launched?
Oh my God, I'm an idiot. I was looking at the wicks and got that confused with the dates the history (2011 vs 2012). Yeah, you can shut down this thread if there's nothing more to discuss.

Sorry about wasting your time, everyone.

edited 25th Apr '12 11:58:22 PM by Scardoll

It seems there's some other problem with the examples, so let's work on there. What do you want me to change the title to?
I'm not sure. I think that the description could use changing (It's not clear that straight examples of this stereotype aren't very common). Right now, the main problem I see from the examples is that they aren't clarifying the stereotype very well, and the description isn't clarifying the stereotype well because it's talking more about how others react to it.

I'm not sure we should be talking about a title change just yet, but the main problem I see from the title is that it sounds like a stereotype about prostitution (sex for money) when it's more about sexual availability in the description and in the majority of examples.

Also, South Park Cartman example has to go, since it's not actually an example. I'm cutting it.

edited 26th Apr '12 12:07:06 AM by Scardoll

I changed the thread title to "Unclear Description", since that seems to be problematic for now. Unclear description can be the cause of example drift.
12 Spark926th Apr 2012 01:31:54 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
While it's certainly true that Asian hookers exist, that falls under People Sit on Chairs. What exactly is this stereotype, though? I'm not seeing much of a stereotype here except "they will have sex for money", which again is People Sit on Chairs.

Special trousers. Very heroic.
For reference, this trope was created by Xzenu during a debate about Asian Gal with White Guy. During that discussion, it was being argued whether or not Me Love You Long Time should be restored as the [Trope Name] since the nebulous AGWWG was causing misuse for any type of Asian/White relationship. Xzenu, and others, argued that MLYLT invokes "misuse" of the trope because the Trope Namer was about prostitution. So, he made this trope.

I've also stated, in the other thread, that his description of this trope is way too specific. Really, this is an "aggregate trope". That is, it's a People Sit on Chairs that perpetuates itself so much that it becomes a trope by how many times it shows up. For example, I'm sure that an Angry Black Man exists in Real Life (being Black myself, I know it for a fact, even)...however, the fact that this particular characterization shows up so much in fiction makes it a trope, and a stereotype.
So, all that being said, here's my proposed solution: the trope itself, is simple: it's an asian woman as a sex worker. Period. It doesn't matter why she's a sex worker; it doesn't matter how it's justified or deconstructed. Being an aggregate trope, it doesn't provide us the luxury of picking and choosing which examples of it qualify.

That being said however, we should focus on Analysis of the trope. Just by Googling "asian hooker stereotype", I was once able to come away with a lot of interesting articles, blogs, and introspectives on the subject. Even if the trope itself is simple, the reasons for why it persists in media are complex.

For example, Spark 9, the reason it's a stereotype is because this was how American G Is were first introduced to Asian women during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Asian women portrayed as sex slaves/prostitutes has appeared in Law & Order and many other shows/movies (such as Payback. It's gone way past People Sit on Chairs now, and to consider it that is dismissing the issue. It's impossible to have an asian woman as a prostitute in Western fiction and not invoke this trope.

edited 26th Apr '12 5:43:27 AM by KingZeal

14 Spark926th Apr 2012 05:44:23 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] I don't see how "<ethnicity> person who is a <profession>" is a trope. "Asian Girls Are Easy" would be a trope. Or perhaps "All Asian Girls Are Hookers". We could definitely have a trope about camp followers. But this? Not really.

edited 26th Apr '12 5:46:03 AM by Spark9

Special trousers. Very heroic.
Again, because of how many times it shows up, and the fact that it's a role Hollywood often enforces on Asian women.

Also, All X Are Y is a a dying snowclone.

edited 26th Apr '12 5:46:32 AM by KingZeal

I agree with King Zeal. Asian women are depicted disporportionatly as hookers, geishas, concubines, people that marry American GI's just to get American citizenship, etc.

And then of course there is the "South East Asian underage prostitute" varient on the trope that pops up from time to time, and isn't confined to females either.

edited 26th Apr '12 6:09:31 AM by Catbert

17 Michael26th Apr 2012 06:28:24 AM , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
So that's what this does
Umm... Regarding that first example, I always understood that Miho was NOT a sex worker, but rather the hookers felt more comfortable hiring a female mercenary as extra security.

edited 26th Apr '12 6:31:24 AM by Michael

No, she was a hooker, too.
19 Michael26th Apr 2012 06:38:42 AM , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
So that's what this does
Where is that actually stated? Wikipedia lists it as inconclusive.
I don't think it's explicitly stated, but the narrative goes out of its way to say the girls of Old Town can take care of themselves. My guesswork is just Occam's Razor.
21 Michael26th Apr 2012 06:48:50 AM , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
So that's what this does
See, it's canon that people live in old town who aren't themselves hookers. To me, it's not Occam's Razor so much as this trope in action.
22 shimaspawn26th Apr 2012 06:50:48 AM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Miho is the only one of the girls who is never seen acting as, referred to, or treated like a prostitute. Instead her occupation is given as assassin.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
23 Michael26th Apr 2012 07:03:28 AM , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
So that's what this does
Though I'm sure Frank Miller deliberately played with this stereotype when he created her in order to make fans argue like this.
[up][up] Interesting.
25 Spark926th Apr 2012 07:27:15 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Re: "All X Are Y is a a dying snowclone" - whatever gives you that idea? It's Everythings X With Y and Our X Are Different that are being deprecated on (and that isn't working too well), not All X Are Y.
Special trousers. Very heroic.

Total posts: 56
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