Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Justine Van Meter
In 2018, the film, Crazy Rich Asians showcased the glitz and glamour of the life of the one percenters of Singapore, one of the richest countries in the world. The film fueled the obsession that American media already has with cultures that are not their own. The purpose of this paper is to underscore the ways in which postcolonial theory applies to the way that American media and culture has warped the understanding of Asian cultures. I will use Edward Said’s definition of Orientalism and the theories set forth by Said’s work as a framework to explain how American media has commercialized and fetishized Eastern cultures for their advantage. Through the analysis of the work of Asian-American authors, such as Crazy Rich Asians, both the trilogy and the movie, by Kevin Kwan, the casting process of Hollywood, and the Pixar short film Bao, the orthodoxies of “the Orient” are challenged. The way that these pieces showcase Asian cultures that have then been commercialized to fit an American standard in media highlights the fetishization of Eastern cultures for the consumption of a larger public. It is not the intent of an author to commercialize their piece for a larger audience, but the intent of the media to create something that does not stray from what their audience already understands. I will demonstrate how American media has created a niche market for Eastern cultures to be showcased in the way that American media understands it, and not as it actually exists. The taking of Eastern cultures and warping it to fit in with an American perception and belief system is an issue that has plagued Asian-American creators and the work that they hope will highlight the culture to which they came from and belong to.
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Yaghmai, Amanda C. Changing the Definition of the Orient Through Hollywood. 2022. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000358