We Need Better Asian Representation In Media

How has it taken this long for Asians in film and television to be in the spotlight? Seriously, how?

Mikyla Arendain, Guest Contributor

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There is not enough Asian representation in the media industry. 

It has been known for decades in media and film that people of color have never had the luxury of  being handed a position in media, but rather they have carved out a place in the “Hollywood image” for themselves without guidance. 

At the very start, films and TV shows consisted of only white folks being the center of the plot. It was an extremely white dominated industry that not only favored just white actors, but it was an extremely racist industry to work in. 

If there was some sort of Asian representation in films, it only promoted racial stereotypes depicting Asians as “foreigners” or having them being over sexualized which were fueled by hatred and negativity.  

 Only a few Asian actors and actresses  have had the opportunity to make it big in Hollywood, however there should be more representation for minority groups because they deserve as much appreciation as white actors and actresses. 

Additionally, it has been seen in many award shows, especially The Oscars, that Asians don’t get as much accredited awards for their performances than white actors, which has made quite a stir and have had people question the Industry’s lack of inclusivity and the problem of “white privilege’ that is still persists in society til this day.

Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress made history at the 95th Academy awards (The Oscars), by becoming the first asian woman to win the Best Actress in a Leading Role award. After winning, she stated in her speech, “for all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities.” 

Her speech highlighted how the representation of Asian actors has always been lacking and we should work on fixing that. For many people including myself, this is a huge celebration and accomplishment for the community. However, many others say that this is way overdue, especially for an actress like Michelle. 

Throughout her successful acting career, she has been in Crazy Rich Asians, Shang-Chi, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and many more leading many people to believe that Michelle has already won an Oscar at some point in her career. When in fact 2023 was the first time it actually happened. Nonetheless the majority of fans believe that this achievement was a step in the right direction for the media industry.

Since the rise of social media platforms, there has been gradual progression of inclusivity in the media industry, and a good example of this is the Netflix show Squid Game. In late 2021, the Korean-drama show Squid Game became the highlight of social media’s mainstream audience and because of that, it has officially become the most watched series in Netflix history. 

Never before has there been this much attention and captivation towards an Asian TV show which made cultural impact and global headlines all over the world. Squid game became a game changer for  Americans being open to diverse cultures in shows. 

Though there is still progress to be made, the impact of underrepresentation still has lasting effects on society and continues to persist.