I’m starting a running list of Asian/Asian American characters I come across on TV/Netflix and in movies. Some will be from 2017 because I’m playing catch up, but the majority of the list will be from 2018. Let’s see how many offensive stereotypes they can fit in this year…
I was recently talking to a friend and they were telling me about how Brazilian women are seen abroad. I knew the stereotypes of Brazil and Brazilian women, long before this conversation. Brazilian people in general are seen as being lazy (an overarching stereotype of Latin American people in general), but also being “spicy” and “foreign/exotic.” The whole country of Brazil is seen as one big beach party, or the Amazon rain forest. There’s no in between. As for gender, Brazilian women are seen as beautiful, but also sexually promiscuous/available. Men are also seen this way, as seen in most recently in Inside Out, where the mother has a day dream about a Brazilian helicopter pilot. He has a sexy accent, a half buttoned shirt, toned muscles, and a full head of hair. In addition, recently on the 3rd episode of season 11 of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon comments on his Brazilian bikini line. This is funny because the stereotype for a man's bathing suit in Brazil, is a lot smaller than in the U.S. Sheldon doing anything "sexual" is the butt of the joke. They use Brazil as a way to mark him as sexually deviant.
I’ve visited Fortaleza Brazil for the past two years. In 2015, I came here for the first time and it was definitely a huge culture shock. I was afraid to go outside at night, I was afraid of getting food poisoning, cockroaches crawling on me while I slept, etc. Before I came to Brazil, I thought it was going to a big jungle and small villages. But when I got here, I realized that there was actual civilization. I still find this surprising considering that we’re basically living in a desert (at least in Fortaleza). I only stayed for 2 months in 2015 because I still studying to get my Bachelor’s degree in English in the U.S. I came again in 2016 for two more months and that trip was a lot better. I didn’t have that much culture shock, but things were still new. The only difference was I knew what to expect - the smalls, the sounds, and the sights. As well as customs and infrastructure that are different from the U.S. Now I’m here for the third time. And rather than staying for only a couple of months, I intend to live here permanently. I came June 13th and today, it’s the 3rd of August. Being here for the 3rd time, everything that was once different or weird, is basically normal for me. I still don’t feel totally comfortable because of the language (I’m working on that), but over all nothing surprises me anymore. I’m no longer afraid to go out at night by myself, take the bus alone, or carry my cell phone with me (though of course I still carry emergency money with me just in case anything happens). I know to be cautious in the streets and how to be safe. I also have adapted to the food, but nothing is really so different here food wise compared to the U.S. Most importantly, I’m used to the way of life here. I don’t think it’s so different from the U.S. unless you’re extremely impoverished, but most people do what people in the U.S. do. They go work, school, they study, they go to the gym, they watch movies, they go to the beach, they have family problems, they have relationship problems. As much as people like to sensationalize the differences between countries, or the pros and cons of living abroad, it’s pretty much the same as any other place. Sure, the infrastructure is different, the language is different, but people are people. The same personalities I see in the U.S.
24 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.