Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Gaze and the Other

In Sturken and Cartwright’s Chapter 3, “Spectatorship, power, and knowledge,” they define that the gaze “helps to establish relationships of power” (111). When I read about Orientalism, which is “the tendencies of westerners who have fetishized, mythologized, and feared the cultures, lands, and peoples of Asia and the Middle East,” I think of the Hollywood movies that Jackie Chan ahs been in (113). Particularly, Shanghai Knights comes to mind.

The Orient, as depicted in the movie, is definitely “a European cultural construction” (113). It is depicted as how the west sees China, especially when depicted alongside the British culture, which partook in Imperialism. China, and its women, are portrayed as exotic in this movie. Roy, played by Owen Wilson, is attracted to Chon Lin, who is Chon’s (Jackie Chan) younger sister. The movie has fetishized the appeal of Asian women. Further, Chinese were also depicted as barbaric and evil in the movie. The whole plot of the movie is centered around the Imperial Seal of China that was stolen from Chon’s father, the seal’s keeper. Wu Chow, the illegitimate brother of the emperor, is plotting against his own country. This whole movie embodies Orientalism, as a cultural construct of European and Western views.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yeah, this movie is a really good example of Orientalism!I watched this a really long time ago, but I don't think Chon Lin actually even says much in the whole movie! i think Owen Wilson basically falls in love with her just because she is Asian and "exotic".