Archive for December 12, 2019

(Third Blog Post) Film Festival Planning Reflection – Bry Hong

Planning the film festival was an interesting process. Given the pool of films that we had to work with was a pool that had already been through a selective process for the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, our work was made much easier. We didn’t have as many films to watch, and going in, we already knew that the quality of the films we had to choose from were already vouched for.

Thanks to the richness in the content and the variety of topics broached by the films, it was difficult to choose one theme because there were so many that we could choose and still have a powerful program. Because our goal was to program an event that college students would want to attend, we sifted through different potential themes to find one that college students would care about. Even then, because there were so many great films to choose from, it was a difficult task settling on one that would exclude some personal favorites, but compromises had to be made.

Aside from just the films, the process of figuring out logistics and planning non-screening attractions for the festival was a useful lesson in planning events in the future. We had to think on the side of the attendees to understand what we would like to see as attendees as well as on the side of the planner to make the appropriate decisions that must factor in budget, schedules of filmmakers, weather, availability of food trucks, among other factors.

Overall, it was a learning process of creating an original film festival, which was something I had never done before. Thanks to this process, I was able to watch great Asian American films, and that made it worth it.

December 12, 2019 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

Subtle Asian Traits and the Asian Safe Space – Bry Hong

Subtle Asian Traits is a Facebook group with most of its content focused on the Asian identity, both as immigrants and natives, operating as a safe space for Asians. When Subtle Asian Traits entered the scene, it took the global Asian community by storm, gracing the screens of millennials and Gen Z across the world. According to an interview with the creators by Isabella Kwai for the New York Times, “How ‘Subtle Asian Traits’ Became a Global Hit,” the creators didn’t envision this turnout when they first started. They said, “The concept was simple: Share jokes about the traits, subtle or otherwise, that characterized the Asian-Australian experience, from cultural clashes with parents and the sanctity of bubble milk tea, to the groan-worthy pickup lines from white men on dating apps. (Are you from Asia? Because I’m China get your number.)”

At first, the creators created the group for themselves, to joke about their own experiences as immigrants or children of immigrants. Little did they know, their desire to have a separate space for Asians online where they could share niche memes and stories was shared by Asians all over the world. Currently, the group has over 1.6 million members, a testament to how quickly it gained traction among young Asians desiring an online safe space to call their own. “The endless stream of memes in the “Subtle Asian Traits” group provides relief — it’s a chance to belong for once without having to try,” shares the NYTimes article, showing that the demand was always there, it only took a couple of kids from Australia to get the wheel rolling.

Source: How ‘Subtle Asian Traits’ Became a Global Hit (NYTimes, Isabella Kwai)

December 12, 2019 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Third Blog Post: Asian Beauty YouTubers

by Emma Li

In high school, as I was figuring out how to do my makeup, I struggled to find successful Asian YouTubers with makeup looks I wanted to try out. I tried following eyeshadow tutorials from some non-Asian YouTubers and it all backfired pretty quickly, as I have no “crease” to darken. Many of my Asian friends faced similar struggles.

Back then, the only Asian Beauty YouTubers I had heard of was Michelle Phan and Jenn Im. I didn’t always share their makeup styles, and the makeup styles I did like were all done on white eyelids. Also, given the unreliability of VPN in China, I was not able to hunt for Asian beauty bloggers in the YouTube beauty world. 

After coming to college, with better YouTube access and many more prominent Asian beauty bloggers, I began discovering all these Asian beauty channels. I was ecstatic to find Asian bloggers with makeup styles that I really admired, like Hyulari and Sacheu. What was even more of a pleasant surprise was their willingness to engage with their cultural heritage and other social issues. 

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Unlike the “multicultural” programming I grew up with where Asian characters’ ethnicities were hardly ever acknowledged, these YouTubers discussed their parents, their upbringing, and their culture. Sarah Cheung (Sacheu) also discusses her socio-political views, from feminism to LGBTQ+ rights to sex-positivity. She even has videos discussing philosophy, which was her major.

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Now I can actually learn to do my makeup in a way that works with my face and find products that work with my facial features. Yes, a lot of the videos broaden society’s beauty standards to include minorities but they still reinforce certain beauty standards of thinness, high cheekbones, big eyes, and so on. They heavily promote consumerist culture, but in this hardly escapable consumerist world, I would rather have minorities in the media who can represent and guide young minority audiences as they learn to navigate their identities, whether in beauty, politics, or philosophy.

December 12, 2019 at 8:27 am Leave a comment

Social Media: @shanghaiobserved

by Emma Li

For our social media class, the example I brought in was the Instagram meme page @shanghaiobserved. I thought of this because it was a popular account among my friends who have lived in both the US and China or Asia. Thirty of the people I follow also follow this account. All of them have lived in both continents and most are Asian American.

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After the Lopez reading, a few features of this meme page stood out to me. Unlike the social media accounts mentioned in the reading, @shanghaiobserved is not based on celebrity. I also found it interesting that the clips and images are mostly from mainland China but the page is not targeted at Chinese audiences, since Instagram is blocked there. The meme page is instead partially targeting members of the Asian Diaspora and provides a connection to “the homeland.” It bridges hyphenated identities, because the audience needs to be familiar with both the Chinese and English speaking worlds in order to fully understand a lot of the memes.

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The subjects in the memes are sometimes subject to ridicule but they are more often characterized as bold and daring, which can be subversive of the Model Minority myth for its US audience. This reminds me of the Lopez reading, which highlighted the “enthusiastic emphasis [that] is placed on their . . . identities and cultures.” However, this meme page can also expand upon Lopez’ understanding of memes. For one, the page does not create content but rather collects and distributes it. Memes have been understood as the “practice of slightly modifying a very popular framework.” While @shanghaiobserved does include some posts that use popular meme formats in the US, most of its posts are just pictures that do not fit into any specific meme framework, yet they are still widely considered to be memes.

I was surprised to learn that the page’s owner is actually a white guy from New York who only visited China and did not live there for significant amounts of time. Because the page seemed to be so familiar with the nuances of Chinese culture, I assumed that its owner must be Chinese or at least lived in China as an expat. I wonder if internet culture has evolved to such an extent that the page’s owner was able to familiarize himself with these nuances just through Chinese and American social media content.

December 12, 2019 at 7:39 am Leave a comment

Social Media Influencers–Amber Zhou

Based on Minh-Ha T Pham’s article about the new social influencer, I researched social media influencer in China, Han Huohuo. I found Han is famous in the fashion industry in China with his style of dressing. There is an interview with Susie Bubble and Han in; they both agree with the idea that fashion blogs and social media played a significant role in fashion. The fashion blog is the path that Susie Bubble get famous on the internet; some times the fashion bloggers can be the trend rather than other well-known celebrities. Han is different than other stylists, “he steps out in high-heel shoes, carries brand-name women’s bags, and stirs heated debate on the Internet, which led to him being labeled “Witch Man” by Chinese netizens.” However, his specialty is the reason that made him famous in China. In recent years, a spate of media and scholarly attention has focused on the Asian creative class, particularly fashion bloggers, YouTube video makers, maverick chefs, fashion designers, and software start-up founders. Due to the Internet restriction in China, Han does not have access to post his blog on foreign social media, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Weibo is the most popular social media in China and as a way, relates to the social trend.
Another example I have talked about in the class is the “lipstick brother” Li Jiaqi. He holds the Guinness record of applying lipstick to most people in 30 seconds. Li can sell 15,000 lipstick in 5 minutes. If they do have access to foreign countries, will they be the same success as they are in China?

Social Media Influencers

December 12, 2019 at 5:01 am Leave a comment


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