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Chinese American Men: Racialized Masculinities - Essay Example

2 pages
473 words
George Washington University
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The masculinity of Asian American has for the past few decades been castrated along racial basis. In particular, the Asian man has been stereotyped as undesirable, foreign, devoid of sensuality. Consequently, there has been an increase of cases of depression and suicide among the Asian American population as a result of this discrimination. The theme of orientalism plays out throughout the play which is entangled in a mangle of racial bias. Thus, racial typecasts influences sexual fantasies of individuals in a big way.

The Asians especially the Chinese are perceived to be inferior and powerless. These stereotypes are imperialistic and parallel to a weakness attributed to women. The script represents a juxtaposition of racial and gender elements in subverting typecasts to Western countries. Inherently, the goal of the play is the need to abolish the discriminatory psychological boundaries of gender and race (Gale, 2016, 48).

The first moment of castration occurs when Gallimard allows his sexist perception of women to distort his views. By testing and humiliating Song, she ultimately admits that she is his butterfly, a character trait she denounces publicly. The white diplomat in Gallimard refuses to acknowledge that he could be gay despite the fact that he is sexually attracted to a man unknowingly. He supports that by stating that his lover was female.

Due to their body physique, Asian immigrants faced challenges both occupational and legal. The legislative ban on the entry of Asian men into the USA and the anti-miscegenation laws contributed to the female gendering and improper racialization of the Asian American male. These men found it had to settle in America and also get legal representation in any disputes. The concept of orientation played a significant role in the feminization of Asian immigrants. Asian men were gendered as female thus classified as weak. Asian male masculinity and identity were obscured in the eyes of American. Immigration legislation served to emasculate Asians men through treating them as temporary and individual units of labor (Piper & Yamanaka, 2005, 13).

The manipulation of racial stereotypes and the obscuring of individual abilities is highly evident in Kingston's piece. In the context of racial manipulation, the Chinese wild man is perceived to be feminine thus weak while the black-wild man is seen to be masculine therefore strong. In reconstructing Donald Duck, Frank Chin uses affirming images and meanings. The narrator describes Donald as a self-hating anti-Chinese young man (Eng, 2001, 37). Through the use of the concept of unconscious Eng develops a sense of self-love in his text. The unconscious is described as containing forbidden and socially unacceptable thoughts.


Eng, D. L. (2001). Racial castration: managing masculinity in Asian America. Duke University Press.

Gale, C. L. (2016). A Study Guide for David Henry Hwang's" M. Butterfly". Gale, Cengage Learning.

Piper, N., & Yamanaka, K. (2005). Feminized migration in East and Southeast Asia: Policies, actions and empowerment (No. 11). UNRISD Occasional Paper.

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