Asians are done with this colorful hair streak stereotype in films

May 29th, 2018

For many years, Asians have often been misrepresented in Western media. Asian actors are robbed of roles and characters suited for them. White people getting Asian roles in Hollywood films instead of equally competent Asian actors constantly spark debates and outrage among Asian communities. Case in point: the reaction to the 2017 live-action adaptation of Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlet Johansson.

A previous movement on Twitter called #ExpressiveAsians also had Asians retaliating after a casting director said that Asians are a challenge to cast because they’re not expressive enough. Aside from frequent whitewashing in films, Asian representation also somehow became limited to stereotypes that Western media created.

Twitter user @nerdyasians pointed out that Asian women in particular are portrayed as someone that needs to have colorful hair streaks to look “badass” or “edgy.”

it’s time for western media to drop the idea that asian girls need neon streaks of color in their hair to stand out.

— nerdy (@nerdyasians) May 22, 2018

This longstanding stereotypical film and TV trope is seen in some of the Asian characters we’ve loved and people are saying they’ve had enough of it.


The latest addition to these characters is Yukio from Deadpool 2, who according to one user, was even “worse than usual” because her main purpose is to just wave “Hi” to Deadpool in a ditzy way.

Yukio was even worse than usual because her main purpose was to wave “Hi!” in a ditzy way to Deadpool, and that she’s someone’s girlfriend. Also they just HAD to have her do the move with her leg that’s a callback to GoGo from Kill Bill, cuz *Asian*s.

— 조닉 Nick Cho (@NickCho) May 22, 2018

This also made some people point out that while other productions manage to stay away from the colored hair trend, some Asian characters are still often reduced to “background roles” with “zero character development.”

Sense 8 didn’t need to add streaks to sun’s hair FYI

— Trying2becrueltyfree (@ttbcrueltyfree) May 22, 2018

and Yunjin Jim who played Sun-Hwa Kwon on LOST

— its me jessie and ari (@jhubeJELLO) May 22, 2018

At least Cho Chang didn't have highlights

— Saimon (@sai_hahaha) May 22, 2018

Cho chang’s character had zero depth though

— eskmo (@Eskmo12) May 24, 2018

DC cannot relate 🙂

— Gio (@arianabionic) May 22, 2018

Wasn’t she relegated to a background role and given zero character development?

— hi (@ethanxhope) May 22, 2018

Some have long noticed the “annoying” trend while others have mixed feelings regarding the issue.

I’ve always found this annoying. It’s usually purple, red, or blue as well.

— Form of Therapy (@formoftherapy) May 22, 2018

i have mixed feelings about this in all honesty but i also concur for the most part

— mutuals please read pinned💖🔥🌊TEAR|| FAKE LOVE (@wonderindreams) May 24, 2018

this is so weird like why is this even a thing lol who decided that the streak of colored hair makes asian girls cool lmao

— glolita (@LilGlolita) May 23, 2018

Others argue that people are just making a big deal out of nothing.

Why is it? How is that even remotely offensive?

— The Tall Gaming Man (@tallgamingman) May 24, 2018

Getting upset over nothing again I see.

— BEEF (@hankshmoody) May 22, 2018

Oh look, another petty thing to get offended by. Jesus christ

— Anna Rains (@AnnaRains8) May 22, 2018

idk man it looks really kickass i dont want it to stop

— Adamusa (@Hadadejuguete) May 22, 2018

But people are clarifying that the issue is about how the media “…refuses to create Asian female characters and would rather just slap on a purple streak.” Despite having so many talented Asian actors who deserve much more complex characters, they are often sidetracked as that “nerdy Asian friend” in the story or portrayed as someone who’s “quiet but deadly” character who rarely get to speak. It’s still rare to see Asian culture or characters well-represented in films and TV shows. Perhaps producers can take notes from shows like Fresh Off The Boat and Crazy Rich Asians?

Before you say "but I'm Asian and I love my colored hair!", that's great!
But we're here talking about how American media refuses to create complex Asian female characters and would rather just slap on a purple streak

— Alise Quynh (@zeezackczs) May 23, 2018

I also get tired of seeing Asian women portrayed as the quiet but deadly type. Which translates into them rarely getting to speak in their roles. Seen but not heard.

— ⚡Mr. Brightside (@Will3K85) May 24, 2018

Agreed! The development of a deep character is often missed- or hinted at and not explored. Sadly, this is true of many female characters. But the hair coloring thing is unique to Asian women and I have to wonder why.

— A is for Arbitrary (@aphotomama) May 24, 2018

Read more from InqPOP!:

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