Listen Linda, we need to talk. (this is the punchline, everything after this sentence is ridiculously serious.)
Initially, I was ecstatic hearing about an all Asian cast for the best selling movie, Crazy Rich Asians. When I watched it the first time, I cried because I felt like I could relate. Women like Constance Wu or even Awkwafina really broke through to the silver screens in the US and created a platform for Asian female actresses. It was like a movie that showcased the feelings that I think a lot of young Asian girls felt but I also felt it wasn’t accurate enough. The problem that I had was not the interesting characters nor was it the movie itself, but the certain cliche moments that made us take a step backward even though we were only just able to take a step up.
Many phrases and other skeptical scenes had me rethink was this a good move to showcase Asian culture properly or was it something that exploited the problems of the Asian culture regarding females. One phrase that really made me realize a problem with Asian culture and how it was portrayed as “the red dress is perfect for fertility”.
If you didn’t already know, fertility and bearing children as early as you can is considered highly recommended in many countries of Asia. If you are not married nor do you have kids by a certain age, society deems you as a failure. Movies that illustrate Asian society like Crazy Rich Asians and even Mulan has always been portrayed as a woman being supported by a man. Our society was built on the idea that the man has to go out and be successful while the woman stays at home and does housework. We aren’t able to do what we love or what we are passionate about.
Speaking about “passion”, that was a relevant topic in CRA in which the mother disapproves an American Asian woman who is dating her son. She thinks a woman’s role is to support the family and the man first. I think Jason Chu (the director) did a good job explaining in the movie but as a male, he didn’t portray the emotions of this kind of feeling enough. I wish there was a way to really hone down on every day to day hardships that a young female has to go through to follow her dreams.
With the critiques that I had with this movie, I can still say that even with the critiques, I still cried and enjoyed the movie. Thrice. Every time we look at anything that has been portrayed through a lense, there will always be a critique but I’ve learned to take a step back to appreciate what the movie has done and what can be improved for later.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.