The character “Mantis” is an Asian woman who is used as a butt of a lot of jokes for being an asexual unattractive dunce who is completely naive about her… abilities, and doesn’t seem to balk at insults. I’ve never seen abuse of an Asian person in a movie that was this bad since Sixteen Candles.
Ironically she is reminded for a huge chunk of the movie in a recurring joke that she is “ugly.” She actually isn’t, but her character is portrayed as extremely naive in a way that rings Asian-waifu-kawaii.
The problem here is that she is reminded over and over of her ugliness by an actor who is the son of an Asian guy and a white woman – Dave Batista. He literally gags for no reason at the thought of being with her physically, after saying that he “prefers a woman with more meat on her.” It was insane. People in the theater I was in – a 100% Chinese audience in a billion dollar mall decked out in Gucci and Canali – were muttering that it was racist.
The actress herself (I had NO IDEA) is actually a WMAW Eurasian woman (who even I, the world’s premier expert on Eurasian issues, couldn’t tell) whose real life brother killed himself.
So not only do WMAW Eurasians look more Asian, but just like in real life they are humiliated and treated like crap by the sons of Asian men. Even more so the character of Mantis reflects popular opinions that Asian women aren’t seen as beautiful by anyone other than a specific group of non-Asian men…. not the winners. This has long been an underhanded trope in mainstream media, where Asian women are paired up with the dorks. (I’ll source this if I have time later). Even Zoe Saldana, a high-yellow Dominicana, is seen as being more suitable for the white male leads these days. Star Trek, Beauty and the Beast, and the Walking Dead, have all decided to go with the white male / black female – which is ironically *less disturbing* (or less played out) than WMAW.
It’s almost as if Asian women essentially went too far in allowing themselves to be fetishized to the point that people notice that it’s disturbing and worthy of disdain; that the ridiculously unbalanced portrayal of Asian women vs. Asian men meant an inherent stigmatization that any non-Asian man who would be seen with one necessarily had to be… weird, or desperate, or… whatever. It’s crazy. My opinion is that WMAW went way too far, with Amy Chua, Elliot Rodger (whose father worked in Hollywood and ran in those circles). Meanwhile Asian men finally are getting to feel the pendulum swing back to the other side, ironically just because their female counterparts went too far. It’s as if people are trying to actively go in a new direction.
WMAW, unfortunately, is not a new direction. It’s an old one, and an ugly one.
Prey, the Triple A game that came out this week, features a main character with an Asian last name and a clear nod to his mixed heritage where he has – yes, a white mother and Asian father.