Self-Aggrandizement

Quantico exploits Bollywood Star; depicts her as ‘Easy’

Quantico is a TV show on ABC. Protagonist Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) is suspected of committing a terrorist attack. Flashbacks tell her story and the ones of her fellow recruits at the FBI Academy in Quantico. (source: Wikipedia)

Let’s begin by describing the characters so you can easily follow our article:

  • Priyanka Chopra as Alex Parrish (Indian female), an FBI agent who becomes a prime suspect in the terrorist attack. Framed, she goes into hiding to track down those responsible and clear her name.
  • Jake McLaughlin as Ryan Booth (white male), an undercover FBI agent who was tasked to survey Alex, and whom she is suspected of shooting.

As background, Priyanka Chopra is a famous actor in India’s version of Hollywood, Bollywood. She was also crowned Miss World in 2000. In Bollywood, she generally takes classy roles and is a leading lady in films.

So let’s get to Quantico. In the first few minutes, Alex (Asian female) meets Ryan (white male) on the plane.

They converse, light flirting. Alex says suggestively “Last night of freedom to us both”. Lingering glance.

Within the first 4 minutes of the show, Alex and Ryan are having sex in a parking lot.


Reverse cowgirl in the car.

When they’re done, both are panting and the camera pans toshowing Alex pulling up her panties.


 

Ryan asks Alex if he can get her number or her name. Alex responds, he’s not her type although she does point out that his untrustworthiness is a turn-on. Great values there. Certainly not the values of India or Indian culture here in America. When Priyanka Chopra accepted the role, it was a question whether Chopra would bring some of the tasteful romance from Bollywood that reflect Indian values to Hollywood. Or whether Hollywood would impose it’s skewed perspective on Asian women on her, perhaps reinforcing them to their minority viewing audience by using her as the vehicle to do so. It appears that question is settled.

To have this kind of parking lot sex scene on a TV show on a major network in a matter of minutes from the opening is unprecedented. Oo it is not clear that Priyanka is just doing what is expected in Hollywood; she has agreed to do something even more extreme. What she does sends out a message about all Indians – whether she feels it should nor not. If you disagree, please reference another TV show where the female lead has parking lost sex within 5 minutes in the premiere.

I want to point out that there is nothing wrong with the Asian female, White male coupling. However, there is a common media trope of fetishizing and objectifying Asian women. This theme suggests that Asian women are easy and open to advances – whether wanted or unwanted. All too often, Hollywood depicts Asian women as willing sex partners and then disposable after the fact. This has negative real world consequences for Asian women, including sexual harassment in real life by white men who absorb this message. It also renders them an “other”, a foreign exotic sex object. You often see Asian women get catcalled with demeaning comments like spoken to in Chinese by an approaching male, even if they are a different culture like Vietnamese. All this is enabled by Hollywood showing white men having sexual access to Asian women so easily.

Quantico specializes in pairing white men with minority women (there are no minority men in the lead cast). Here is the cast:

  • Priyanka Chopra as Alex Parrish (Asian Female)
  • Jake McLaughlin as Ryan Booth (White Male)
  • Aunjanue Ellis as Miranda Shaw (Black Female)
  • Yasmine Al Masri as Nimah Anwar (Asian Female)
  • Johanna Braddy as Shelby Wyatt (White Female)
  • Tate Ellington as Simon Asher (White Male)
  • Graham Rogers as Caleb Haas (White Male)
  • Anabelle Acosta as Nathalie Vazquez (Hispanic/Latino Female)
  • Josh Hopkins as FBI Special Agent Liam O’Connor (White Male)

Female people of color (Asian, Black, and Latino/Hispanic Females) make up 3.5% of FBI special agents but get 4 of 9 roles on Quantico (45%). Male people of color make up 12% of FBI special agents and get 0 of 9 roles (0%). As you can imagine, this skewed representation makes up for almost exclusively white male-minority female hookups. This might be an accident if it werent so common in Hollywood.

In their interrogation scene Ryan asks Alex “So you and me in the car”. You do that often

Alex responds, “Not as often as I’d like”.

Any show that has to resort to parking lot sex within minutes and dwells on it, may not have much else going for it. At some point, these scenes and depictions stop being empowering and start simply being disturbing. Especially, because its the minority cast member who’s doing it and not the white women.ABCs Kelli Lee flew out to Mumbai to recruit Chopra for the show. (Lee is ABCs casting director; Lee in her 40s is married to Brian Grazer (age 64).

As we’ve shown ABC is a repeat offender. See Mistresses, Dr. Ken. ABCs idea of inclusion is not helping. Exclusion is preferable to demeaning inclusion.


UPDATE: In Episode 5, Alex is depicted as breaking NAT rules that she cannot have romantic relations with another team member.  So strong is her lust that she must have sex with Ryan again.  This is a vital theme of Hollywood social conditioning; that women’s “empowerment” finds its expression in uncontrollable lust for white men; this is particularly true in their depictions of minority women (and almost always of Asian women).  

Some may say this is her choice, but let’s be honest, in Hollywood the script is not the actor’s choice- it is the purview of the (white) director as to what “choices” the women on screen make; and the results unfold with remarkable consistency.  Alex does this AFTER Ryan’s brutal interrogation of her where he degrades her by publicizing his parking lot sex with her to others.  Clearly, love cannot be denied; or rather the director’s somewhat disturbing plotlines cannot be rejected.  

Bear in mind, Chopra is one of Bollywood’s classiest leading ladies; the thought of someone like Scarlett Johanson or Jennifer Lawrence in an Asian movie and having parking lot sex within 5 minutes with the Asian lead, and later breaking rules to have sex with him again is unthinkable.  But that is what actresses with status and class in their Asian home country must do to get a role in Hollywood.  (Another example of this is Mistress of Spices featuring Aishwarya Rai -another one of India’s top actresses – which shows Rai breaking a sacred mystic vow she adhered to all her life to have one night of sex with the white male lead.  She is shown to be rewarded spiritually for this act.)  

Back to Quantico.  The sex scene at times resembles soft porn more than primetime programming.  In the scene, Ryan pulls the dress off of Alex and they have steamy sex.

As mentioned earlier, all the leading men in the show are white males, and roughly half of the women are minority women.  

ABC touts Chopra’s sexuality as a selling point for Quantico–  Josh Safran, executive producer of the show teased that episode 5 of the thriller will be one of their “sexiest episodes yet.”  

OFFENDER: ABC
CATEGORY OF OFFENSE: Self-Aggrandizement ( Asian Woman is disposable, sexual plaything)
MEDIA TYPE: TV Show
OFFENSE DATE: September 27, 2015

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