Stuart Hall defines Binary Structure of a particular stereotype as a “split between two extreme opposites” (263). He uses the example of how the blacks are caught between being “childlike” and “oversexed” (263). This binary structure reminds me of the one that the Asian stereotype is caught between when portrayed in the media. In films and television, when there is a token Asian, he or she is most likely nerdy and a genius at math or science (or perhaps both). For example, Harold in Harold and Kumar is a Stock analyst. However, at the opposite of that spectrum, there is the stereotypical Asian who has really bad English or acts like an airhead. For example, in Disney’s Suite Life of Zach and Cody, London Tipton is portrayed as an airhead heiress. Furthermore, Asians are also often portrayed in “Chinatown” setting, participating in a service industry and speaking poor English.
Because I am convinced that every media element is embodied by Mean Girls, here is a scene where Janis and Damian introduce how different parts of the cafeteria is occupy by different cliques, according to stereotypes. There are both Asian nerds and cool Asians.
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