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Asian Hooker Stereotype

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"Me love you, long time. Fiftin dolla, me love you too much."

Well, the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
And only seven flying hours, and I'll be landing in Hong Kong
And there ain't nothing like the kisses
From a jaded Chinese princess
I'm gonna hit some Hong Kong mattress all night long!
Cold Chisel, "Khe Sanh"

In the Anglosphere, and particularly the USA, one classic stereotype of the pan-Asian woman 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. Or possibly earlier, with the enslavement of Korean, Chinese, and Filipina "comfort women" during the Japanese occupation of World War II. 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 situation 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.
  • 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.
  • Asian woman, then things are 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.


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    Comic Books 
  • In the chilean comic Me llaman Pulp! A group of criminals seeks to steal a loot of diamonds, one of them, Lee, of Chinese origin, pretends to be a Japanese industrialist interested in buying diamonds. When he is negotiating the seller mentions "Asian prostitutes" with contempt, Lee patiently asks him to "don't insult the women of my race", the seller, with a smile, talks about how Asian women "come happily to the west to prostitute themselves and try Caucasian penises” Lee kills him and ruins the entire operation.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live Action 
  • 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?
  • Cynthia, the Asian stripper married to Bob in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert fits the trope perfectly, down to the slutty talk in broken English.
  • 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.
  • Da 5 Bloods has Tiên, the contact who helps the Bloods connect with Desroche, who was a prostitute during the Vietnam War who had a relationship with Otis (which ended up producing a daughter). She seems fairly well-off in present day but confides in Otis about the difficulty of living with the stigma of being a prostitute who serviced American soldiers, while also being the single mother of a black mixed-race daughter no less.
  • Deconstructing Harry: While the Asian prostitute is an extreme stereotype, her attitude, personality and accent are all purely American, which probably means she's just roleplaying the Trope.
  • Exploited in The Fighter, as Dicky Ecklund's girlfriend readily poses as a hooker for a scam they are running.
  • 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.
  • Hinted at, and possibly an Ur-Example or Unbuilt Trope, in 1934 film Flirtation Walk. One scene has Sleepy the American GI in China, with two Chinese girls sitting on his lap, giggling and feeding him by hand. The trope is promptly subverted when Sleepy has to hurriedly leave, and the girls/hookers reveal that they stole his wallet and watch.
  • Full Metal Jacket is arguably the Trope Codifier with its infamous line "Me love you long time". The second half of the movie takes place in Vietnam, yet the sex worker 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 Goldstone, the Chinese girls brought in to work at the mine's brothel are instructed to act this way as it is what the men expect.
  • Vietnam War documentary Hearts and Minds has a thoroughly gross Real Life example of this, when two American servicemen have sex with two prostitutes in a dirty little room.
  • Played with in Hector and the Search for Happiness with Ying Li, the high-end call girl that wealthy banker Edward hires to entertain his new friend Hector. Edward sets it up to make it look like Ying is just a young woman at the bar who's interested in Hector, and she's so well-spoken and refined that Hector doesn't even realize she's a prostitute until their conversation the next morning.
  • 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 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 Odd Angry Shot, the boys from Patrol 22 encounter the typical Asian hookers shouting the typical come-ons while on leave in Saigon.
  • 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.
  • An early subversion comes in the form of Hui Fei in Shanghai Express. She's a prostitute yes but portrayed as a High-Class Call Girl who speaks perfect English and after being raped by the villain gets revenge by stabbing him in the back. Additionally she has a white prostitute as a companion.
  • War Hunt: The Hays Code was dying in 1962 but wasn't quite dead. So this movie, set near the end of the Korean War, gets the idea across by having a very pretty Korean woman on the other side of the barbed wire say hello to Private Loomis. Then, out of the blue, she says "I love you." She follows this up by saying "You got trouble, GI? Come on, I fix!, and reassuring him "No MP!" Loomis takes a pass.
  • In the 1960 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. She's something of an Unbuilt Trope, shown to have a complicated past and is trying in fact to escape her life as a prostitute - and also has a son she has to provide for.

  • Back in the USSA: In "The Teddy Bear's Picnic", which tells the story of Apocalypse Now in an Alternate History where the US went communist and the UK is the world's foremost democratic superpower, there is a Vietmanese prostitute nicknamed Vimo Vingh who services the British troops and embodies the stereotypes and dialogue of Asian hookers seen in films like Full Metal Jacket.
  • 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.
  • Zigzagged in Lawrence Block's Two for Tanner. While the prostitute in question starts off as this, her behavior changes completely when Evan speaks to her in Thai.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • For all the Asian culture in Firefly, the only Asian character with a speaking role is a whore.
  • In Law & Order: SVU, female Asian characters are almost always prostitutes, mail order brides, or similar.
  • M*A*S*H had several episodes dealing with Korean "business girls". It's also heavily implied when discussing mentions of leave trips to Tokyo.
  • Inverted in the New Girl episode “No Girl”, the guys decide to turn the loft into an Airbnb while Jess is away at jury duty. One of the guests, Kumiko, is a Japanese woman whom Nick finds himself attracted to. The two of them end up having a sexual encounter. Afterwards, when he awkwardly still tries to charge her for her stay, she agrees to pay- but she thinks the reason she’s paying him is that he’s a male prostitute, or “working boy” as she calls him.
  • Dr. Kelso in Scrubs frequently cheats on his wife with various prostitutes. All of them are Asian. He does say they are his type, and he probably developed this preference during his time in the Vietnam war.
  • The Sopranos: In the Film-Within-the-Show Cleaver, Michael's Asian-American fiancée is due to marry him in two days and is initially worried when he goes missing, but all it needs to convince her to forget about him and bang his boss is two tacky come-on lines from Sal. Notable primarily for being a Race Lift, since Adriana was white.
    • The season four episode "The Test Dream" saw Tony staying at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan. He orders an Asian escort to pass the time.


    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 Comic 
  • In C'est la Vie, Vietnamese-American Tiffany Nguyen is seen as this by her rival for the affections of Louis, Mona Montrois. It doesn't help that Mona is going through a psychotic episode for which she is later hospitalised after attempting to kill Tiffany.

    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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Me Love You Long Time


Me love you long time.

Full Metal Jacket is arguably the Trope Codifier with its infamous line "Me love you long time". The second half of the movie takes place in Vietnam, yet the sex worker 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.

How well does it match the trope?

4.92 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / AsianHookerStereotype

Media sources: