What are the chances?
Two Filipina sisters grow up in Boston, head off to UC Berkeley for college, end up staying in academia, and now write about sex. They’re also both Stanford Univ. Press authors: Rhacel Salazar Parreñas’ most recent book investigates trafficked Filipina hostesses (Illicit Flirtations, 2011), and Celine Parreñas Shimizu has just authored the first full-length study of the racialization of Asian American men in movies (Straitjacket Sexualities, 2012).
And we're not the only ones who thought this was neat: this fall, the two professors are going to be featured in a segment on LA18, a SoCal TV station. (Edited to add: check out the television interview on Youtube here and here.)
In the meantime, here are two thoughts to mull over from Professor Shimizu about filmmaking and being Asian American, taken from a Hyphen Magazine interview about her new book Straitjacket Sexualities:
- It’s not breaking news that Asian American men in movies have often been marginalized as practically asexual. But after taking a closer look at Hollywood films, Shimizu has another way of looking at it: rather than being macho-bravo, Asian American men are shown as being ethical, caring, and selfless. It’s a different kind of manhood--one that goes against all the stereotypes.
- Minority art has a reputation for portraying warm and glossy versions of minority life--stories that usually don’t get told anywhere else. But according to Shimizu, the urge to only tell the positive “story of your people” doesn't always do justice to the people it's supposed to represent, for it's still just another fabric of incomplete truths.
If you’re in Los Angeles later this summer, check out this upcoming book talk with Shimizu and Parreñas entitled “Filipinas, Feminism and Sex.” Details: Echo Park Branch Library; Saturday, August 4, 2012; more information here.
Check out Celine Parreñas Shimizu’s Straitjacket Sexualities: Unbinding Asian American Manhoods in the Movies here.
Check out Rhacel Salazar Parreñas’ Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo here.