Swords? Check. Small town? Check. Martial arts? Check. And with this, you have the ultimate starter pack for your Asian representation cast in your classic Hollywood movie. Fast forward to 2019, and things are slowly starting to change.

Exploring Asian Representations With Stock Images 123RF Blog -  Asian woman shopping for clothes
Surprise surprise! She’s not going for sword shopping.

Asian representation in the media

Crazy Rich Asians has split opinions, with advocates of the film applauding their all-Asian cast. Always Be My Maybe won over fans while also adding Keanu Freaking Reeves to the movie! Talk about style. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before has also done well to break the stereotype of Asian-Americans always being shunned away. Additionally, there’s been a revival in casting Asians as a leading role. Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh is the best current example.  

Exploring Asian Representations With Stock Images 123RF Blog -  Asian man with backpack
It’s okay if he doesn’t have a black belt in karate.

However, for every positive spin of the Asian representation in the media, there has been double the amount of negative prejudice and stereotypical roles. While the jury is still out on Mulan, the same can’t be said for The Last Airbender. Based on the hugely popular Avatar: The Last Airbender series, the film featured Noah Ringer in its lead role, despite the television series having a predominantly Asian look and feel. This level of glaring preference to whitewash Hollywood, remains to be a massive problem that needs to be fixed. 

Exploring Asian Representations With Stock Images 123RF Blog - Indian woman with lover under umbrella
She’s every bit as Asian as the rest of the community.

Redefining members of the Asian community

Another issue of Asian representation in the media as a whole, is the limitations of being an Asian. People sometimes forget, Asia is a continent. Therefore, to limit Asians as those only living in China, Korea or Japan, is a huge mistake. What about the rest of the community from India and Pakistan. Or what about those from Southeast Asia? Singapore or Vietnam anyone? These communities are often isolated. Therefore, they’re under-represented in the media, because they’re deemed to be “not Asian enough”.

Hence, it’s perhaps time to redefine what it means to be an Asian. And along with this, provide a better representation of one of the world’s largest communities. Let’s begin to make this change with this collection of stock photography.