The trailer for the Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han’s YA novel, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” has fans excited, especially because an Asian woman is in a lead rom-com role. But within Asian American spaces, there has been a lot of discussion over how progressive the movie actually is when it’s yet another story about an Asian girl obsessing over mainly white boys.
Is media rep for POC always to be unquestioningly celebrated? Can we freely talk about the problems of idealizing white love interests?
Joining Jess and Chris, male model Kevin Kreider offers his insider knowledge of the racist hierarchy in the modeling/entertainment world to highlight why this is an important issue that is much more than about movies and TV.
Twitter: Kevin Kreider (@kevkreider),
The following are edited excerpts from “The Problem With ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,’” the 35th episode of Plan A’s podcast, Escape From Plan A.
The Big Sick got a fair amount of criticism, especially from South Asian feminists, who accused it of worshipping white women. There was a more intense attack on Master of None for the same thing. I agreed with those criticisms…. But now what I’m interested in is when the genders are reversed and now it’s the WOC enjoying the attention of white men, are these groups also going to call it out?
[In Singapore], I was like, “Why aren’t there more Asian models on your roster?” It was because they saw white people, especially white men, as top of the hierarchy. they get the most jobs, the most casting, they get booked more. Everything. They’re just more valuable, basically. Then the half-Asians get similar treatment, though not as much as the white people.
I always thought that all the pieces that Asian women write about Yellow Fever are humblebrags. I’m not trying to discredit the dangers and actual risk caused by Orientalization and fetishization of Asian women. That’s very real and has significant effects. But the women writing it? I can’t support that kind of writing.