Asian Representation In The Media
By Shreya Pandit
This article explores diversity in media and its effect on society and youth.
On a seemingly ordinary day in Pearland, Texas, Jevh Maravilla noticed something peculiar on the walls of McDonald’s. What caught his eye was that there was not a single poster containing Asians. After $100 and some photoshopping, the popular fast-food restaurant now depicts two Asian men casually eating burgers. Maravilla found a McDonald’s crew shirt at a thrift store for less than $10 and pretended to be a regional interior coordinator. The fake poster was hung up on July 13 and, after 51 days of it being there, he decided to share his crime with the world.
Maravilla was met with positive responses, and people loved the meaning behind his poster. When asked where he got his inspiration, Maravilla responded with Crazy Rich Asians. He said: “Crazy Rich Asians influenced me a lot. I loved seeing people like me on the big screen, and I hope I did my part, even if it’s something this small.” And many agree with him. In regular American movies, Asians are often solely represented as quiet nerds. Crazy Rich Asians broke the stereotype, bringing forth characters with dynamic personalities. It is safe to say that this film was much needed in the critical society that we live in. As director Jon M. Chu has said, “This is not a movie; it is a movement.”
Not too long after Crazy Rich Asians, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was released on Netflix. The film stars an Asian lead, Lana Condor. The movie centers around a half-Korean half-Caucasian teenage girl, Lara Jean Song Covey, and how her life transforms when her secret box of love letters written to former crushes gets mailed out. The movie signifies much more than a love story. It is a message to all young people, showing them that difference should be celebrated, not hidden.
Growing up as an Asian American girl myself, there has always been a lack of Asian American representation on the big and small screen for young people like me. It is very refreshing to see the norms being broken. Diversity as such gives us more confidence to be our true selves and be proud of our heritage. The unwritten rule in the media has always been westernizing everyone and making it seem normal. I say that some rules are meant to be broken.
The author, Shreya Pandit, is very interested in diversity and socioeconomic issues. When she had heard Maravilla’s story in the news, she was encouraged to write an article about a topic that has been at the back of her mind. Growing up as an Asian American herself, Shreya craved to see it on television as well, but rarely found it. She hopes that the inclusion of Asian representation in the media is further continued.
Shreya Pandit is a high school senior. She is interested in a variety of writing mediums, specifically journalism and nonfiction. After high school, Shreya is majoring in Policy Analysis at Indiana University Bloomington. In her free time, Shreya likes to read palms and play with her dog, Lemon. She looks forward to publishing more journalism articles, specifically in Opinion and Arts & Entertainment.