Influencers Presentation: Maddie Kwun and Katie Eu

December 7, 2019 at 9:41 pm Leave a comment

Asian American influencers is a fairly new topic and encompasses individuals on social media platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, and fashion bloggers. The existence of current influencers/superbloggers break the Asian American stereotype set by Hollywood of Oriental and asexual individuals; rather, they reclaim their Asian American identity by breaking the mold. 

One way that influencers are known to have an impact on their broad audience is through their dual identity that appeals to both the Western and the Asian markets. Minh-Ha T Pham explores this idea in her book “Asian Personal Style Superbloggers and the Material Conditions and Contexts of Asian Fashion Work” through case studies of Michelle Phan, Susanna Lau, and Aimee Song. Pham describes these fashion bloggers as the new Asian creative class and concludes that Asian super bloggers contribute to Western fashion by influencing both Western and Asian Markets. Because of their dual identity, Phan, Lau, and Song can present themselves as either Western or ‘Asian.’ This calls into question the conversation of Asian representation, as the Western ‘side’ of these influencers attract more attention than their ‘Asian’ side. A question we posed to the class during our presentation was, “is the idea of dual identity subtly hinting that popularity is tied to Western appearances, or are these influencers disrupting and/or rebelling against the current societal view of Asians as ABGs, dragon ladies, and oriental?”

The second way influencers are known to have an impact on their broad audience also relates to the use of stereotypes in their content. Lori Kido Lopez examines this idea in her book “Asian America Gone Viral: A Geneology of Asian American Youtubers and Memes,” specifically focusing on the Hmong Youtubers SuperBadFilms. Lopez points out that the use of ‘Hmong’ in the title of their Youtube videos expands Asian American representation because it includes lesser known Asian groups. However, SuperBadFilms also creates memetic content that continuously pokes fun at their cultural stereotypes, which could potentially change the representation of the Hmong people. A question we posed to the class during our presentation discussion asked how the use of stereotypes of comedic effect changes the representation of certain groups. Specifically, is it beneficial to have representation even if it isn’t positive? 

Overall, the two avenues we explored during the discussion touched mainly on stereotypes and identity of the Asian American people and how this changes the conversation of representation. 

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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