You gotta love Hollywood. It’s nothing if not predictable. We wrote how Mercy Graves (Asian woman) plays bodyguard to Lex Luthor (white male) in Dawn of Justice. In Wolverine (see our report), Yukio (Asian woman) is the bodyguard and servant to Wolverine (white male). Now again, in “Suicide Squad” (not released at the time of this report) by Warner Brothers based on a DC comic, we see the same theme. Here, Katana, played by actress Karen Fukuhara, serves again as a “bodyguard” for the white male lead of Rick Flag (played by Joel Kinnaman). (note: we have a spoiler alert towards the bottom of the page; don’t scroll down if you don’t want to see it)
Rick Flag (played by Joel Kinnaman)
From our report on Dawn of Justice:
Hollywood rarely depicts Asian women as strong. They make an exception here because even though the women they depict do not appear physically strong enough to defend fairly powerful men, the role is symbolic.
It signifies that white men are so important, that an Asian woman will gladly sacrifice everything she has including her life for him (a bodyguard will risk her own life for the one they protect). Only in this scenario do white Hollywood writers and directors depict the Asian woman as strong because it serves the broader point they wish to make.
What is odd is that the original work – the Suicide Squad comic by DC – it does not appear that Katana served in this role. As we have seen from Marvel as well, often when Hollywood gets its hands on a story, it will alter it to reinforce white fantasies and biases. After all, Hollywood is a dream factory, and so long as those with power behind them are largely white males, the fantasies they peddle will be strongly shaped by their own.
For those who say “this shows Asian women as strong” – see above; this is a rare, rare exception and only permitted when the strength is in service of sacrifice to a white man. Sacrifice is the key word here. We sacrifice or ourselves only for something so meaningful, so valuable, so rare – that it’s something few will do in their lives except for their own family. Yet in Hollywood, Asian women are assigned this role because it builds on the larger theme that Asian women are to prize white men. You don’t see them taking a bullet for a black man for instance.
Hollywood’s conditioning continues. In their world, it is only fitting that an Asian woman risk her own life for that of a white man; clearly indicating his life is more valuable than hers and that it should be her honor to die for him. In Dawn of Justice – Mercy dies in serving Lex. He is responsibile for her death- but the movie moves on as though the death ought to have no emotional significance to the viewer. Suicide Squad is not in theater at the time of this report; but I wouldn’t be surprised if Katana is simply used by Flag as he chooses; a disposable object who should be happy she can serve him.
Asian women deserve more than to only be depicted as strong when it aligns with white male fantasy. White males in Hollywood often give free rein to their fantasies and unfiltered sense of self importance without regard to how doing so slots people, in this case Asian women, into subservient roles – roles that have real-world implications on how people subconciously see and value each other.
It appears Katana failed at her job and then took the title of the movie literally…..
(not a true spoiler since it’s in the trailer, briefly)
OFFENDER: Warner Bros.
CATEGORY OF OFFENSE: Self-Aggrandizement ( Whites are Central)
MEDIA TYPE: Movie
OFFENSE DATE: August 5, 2016