I was finally able to see one of the partially of feminist episodes of BBT last night. In this one, Bernadette is asked to be in a science magazine in an article highlighting the “Top 50 Sexiest Scientists.” Here’s a play by play of the episode. Penny, Amy and Bernadette, are talking about the article. Bernadette is excited to be in the article, but wants to know what her friends think. Penny believes that she should do it. She thinks that showing a little skin to get ahead is worth it. In her sales person job, flirting to make a deal helps her make more money than the other sales reps. Penny knows the patriarchal system is against her, so she uses it to her advantage. As a stereotypically beautiful blonde white woman, the system is more open to women like her. Rather than her sexuality being exotified or threatening masculinity, it’s welcomed. Amy, on the other hand, can't do that. She turns to feminism, rather than trying to navigate sexist society. She says that there wouldn’t be a Top 50 Sexiest Scientist article for men. Amy then asks, why do women have to objectify themselves to be seen in science magazines? Women should be appreciated for their intellect, not their bodies. Bernadette is right when she responds, why can't women be smart and beautiful? But unfortunately, no answer is given to her question. I would respond - women can't be smart and beautiful because we still live in a world which diminishes women's accomplishments and would rather look at their bodies. If we did have gender equality, and saw everyone as people, an article like this probably wouldn’t exist (and if it did exist, it would probably include all genders).
In an episode from Season 9 of The Big Bang Theory an Asian “joke” about Asian women was made that needs to be unpackaged. This joke can join the long list of jokes that I’ve already compiled this year. Kripke, a co-worker of the gang, was calling out to women online through Sheldon’s online live show, Fun with Flags. He said, “[looking for] Asians 18-24 no fatties.”
The newest episode of CBS’ sitcom, Superior Donuts, recently aired an episode ridden with jokes about Asian women's' butts and Asian men being “tiny.” All of these jokes were said by the black main character Franco, who of course can’t be racist because he’s black, EH WRONG. Like I keep saying, just because you’re discriminated against doesn’t mean you can’t discriminate yourself. In fact, a lot of people who are underprivileged also have privilege, which blinds them to the fact they too have unconscious bias. Also, like I keep saying, CBS and other major cable networks, as well as Netflix (I’m looking at you Kimmy Schmidt), please STOP THINKING IT’S OKAY TO MAKE ASIAN JOKES. Not to mention Franco wore a Chicago Blackhawks jersey in one episode without making any mention that the Blackhawks logo is racist. Native American people are not your mascots.
“I love interacting with Asian people. They’re so wise, knowledgeable, polite.”
CBS doesn’t know how to write east Asian characters, and I’m not even talking about 2 Broke Girls, I’m talking about Superior Donuts. Though I can stand the show, there are some extremely cringe worthy parts. The basic blonde woman, Maya, they use in order to show how our generation is making everything so PC and “difficult.” She’s even used to show how ridiculous fighting for feminism and racial equality is. “Donut holes really symbolize vaginas.” She’s well intentioned and I agree with a lot of what she says (not that quote, but other ones about how it’s sexist to call women “baby” or “honey”). But she’s made to sound so ridiculous and the other characters don’t like her that we in turn are told not to like her. Next, there’s Fawz, who’s an immigrant from Iraq. He’s a pretty solid character, but he too falls into being racist and sexist. But at the same time, he acknowledges that he’s racist, which is good, but he just doesn’t care. There’s also a female chauvinist pig white female cop, a Jewish white donut store owner, and a black male cop, but I wont get into right now. Lastly, there’s Franco, an African American guy who actually gives some really poignant points when it comes to racism and police brutality. And that’s the episode I’m going to talk about today. For all the shows flaws, it does talk about racism when it comes to Arab people and African American people. However, when it comes to Asian American characters the show falls extremely flat.
Many people, not just Ryan, justify stereotypes by falling into the trap that “they are based in some truth.” Therefore, why be offended by them? Ryan, a Japanese/Hawaiian American, was aware that this opinion would gain some backlash, especially from fellow Asian Americans, me included. He knows that people use stereotypes as a form of racism, but instead of getting angry, like he used to get, he finds it better to laugh at them because, “they are true, right?”
The intent doesn’t matter, what matters is how people feel. I think this is really important to remember whenever someone calls out someone else’s racism (because usually people don’t admit that they’re racist themselves). In addition, most people who are racist, when they get called out on it, say that that’s racism. People think acknowledging race, is racism. People are more conscious about being called racist than actual institutionalized racism.
21 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.