Home Hollywood Constance Wu’s harassment exposes Hollywood’s glaring double standards

Constance Wu’s harassment exposes Hollywood’s glaring double standards


“Fresh Off the Boat” actress Constance Wu recently revealed she attempted suicide after a storm of hate on social media in 2019, leading some to scrutinize undue pressure on women of color in the spotlight, experts say .

At the time, Wu, who played matriarch Jessica Wong on the groundbreaking Asian-American drama, expressed disappointment after the sitcom’s renewal, tweeting that she was “very depressed right now, I’m really crying” etc. speech.

The comments sparked a lot of online hate, and the actress was labelled “ungrateful”. Wu deleted the tweet, apologized and left social media for three years, staying out of the spotlight.On Thursday, however, she disclose After “some DMs from an Asian actress told me I was going to be a scourge to the Asian American community, I started to feel like I didn’t even deserve to live.”

Sociologists say Daniel Wu’s subsequent aggressive criticism has highlighted some apparent double standards in Hollywood.

Many on social media pointed out that when other high-profile actors such as Robert Pattinson dig up the projects that made them stars, they are portrayed as more relatable than targets of criticism. Sociologists say that when they take action to achieve their career ambitions, as Wu said she hopes to do, they are respected.

Constance Wu on set "Just got off the boat."
Constance Wu on the set of “Fresh Off the Boat”.ABC via YouTube

Experts say the contrast shows that people of color, especially women, are under unwarranted pressure to be pleasant, unwavering representatives of their communities. They point to racism, the scarcity of Asian-American roles in the industry at the time, and misplaced anger as part of the problem.

Kathryn Seniza Tsai, author of “Asian American History in America,” noted that countless actors, many of them white, expressed disappointment or regret over the roles and projects they were involved in. Reactions to Wu’s comments were likely due in part to stereotypes of Asian women being submissive and modest, in addition to the patriarchal values ​​ingrained in many Asian cultures, she added.

The collision of these factors has created an environment in which Asian women are expected to conform to multiple circles of society, Cai said. They may avoid being who they are, she said, and those who aren’t seen as “submissive” quickly fall out of favor.

“There is this intersection between racism and gender, and the burdens and expectations of Asian and Asian American women are flattering,” Choy said. “If you present yourself in a way that might be construed as selfish or just distracted, that goes against the expectations of the wider racial, societal, and Asian and Asian American communities. It’s a very tough line.”

Nadia Kim, a professor of Asian and Asian American studies at Loyola Marymount University, likewise said that much of the hatred among Asian Americans shows that Wu “violates” that she should be “submissive to the Asian American community.” ” idea.

“We have to take internalized sexism and misogyny seriously in our own communities,” King said.

The backlash also shows how women of color, especially those with power and influence, are “not allowed” to be complex, imperfect people, experts say. Mistakes or emotional expressions are often interpreted as character flaws, not just mistakes or natural human responses.

“In America, white people have become totally human, and ‘totally human’ means they can show all aspects of who they are as human beings – good, bad, ugly, complex, complicated, heroic, timid ,” said Jennifer Ho, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and president of the Asian American Studies Association.

The reality is, Choy said, that Wu should be seen as a boon to the artist.

“Here, people like Robert Pattinson and Chris Evans are considered popular individual actors, but they’re also part of the craft,” she said. “For an actress like Constance Wu, that’s probably not the first thing you think of. For the wider community, it’s a burden of representation,”

Scholars admit that the outrage at the time was somewhat understandable. “Fresh Off the Boat,” which premiered in 2015, was an era when Asian-Americans played few roles on television, with hardly any leading roles. Research shows that most shows that aired in 2015-16 did not feature an Asian American or Pacific Islander as a lead actor at all.

In that environment, sitcoms proved groundbreaking and offered rare opportunities for Asian Americans on and off the camera. As a result, the show carries more weight to many.

“She has every right to have these feelings,” Ho said. “But to the rest of us, it seemed like someone who didn’t fully appreciate the opportunity. … I think there are a lot of Asian-American actors who might be happy to play the role.”

“Blame, anger and unwillingness to forgive is wrong.”

Nadia King

The fact that Wu vented her disappointment on social media naturally left her open in the court of public opinion, academics said. Many viewers felt Wu was disrespectful not only to the community, but also to Asian Americans whose lives and careers depend on the show. But King pointed out that while Wu’s behavior was not the most sensitive way of expressing her views, much of the vitriol was misguided: Wu was not the main reason why Asian-Americans were rarely given the opportunity or representation.

“Who do we blame for the gross underrepresentation of certain groups and certain institutions? Do we blame her, or should we blame those in power who have left us with little or no family sitcoms in East Asia or Southeast Asia,” King said. “Blame, anger and unwillingness to forgive are wrong.”

In order to be fair in the industry, Ho said, actors like Wu need to have the chance to make mistakes and even act like a “jerk or heroine” like a white actor. While criticism is valid, she added that there is a constructive approach.

“We can disagree with that statement,” Ho said, “but we don’t have to attack her.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeechOfSuicide.com/resources Get more resources.

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