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Translate My Heart

I am a twenty-something year old with a fondness for books, snail mail and summer dresses. I work in a bookshop and live in the pages of books.

The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient

The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient - Sheridan Prasso "You’ll never plumb the Oriental mind, and if you did, it isn’t worth the toil” were the words of Rudyard Kipling. The idea of the exotic, dangerous and seductive are still how the West sees the East. These misconceptions paint a picture of Asia and Asian people that is far from the truth - labeling women as submissive China doll/geisha girl types or domineering Dragon Lady/Martial Arts Mistress types and men as emasculated, feminine, and weak. Prasso gives an history of how might these stereotypes developed - usually it seemed as fiction passed off as nonfiction in the past of travelers who have claimed to have been East. Also, she provides examples from the past to recent times like, Charlie’s Angels or the American movies featuring Jackie Chan.The first half of her book is devoted to the more academic, scholarly aspect on the topic. She summarizes the East West relationship thus far and dedicated two chapters to the portrayal of Asian and Asian people in the media. She also covers “Yellow Fever” and the fetish that people seem to have for Asian culture, women, men, etc. Prasso mentions mail-order brides, the idea of Asians being a model minority, and the racism of Asians whether not it is positive or not.Her second half consists of narratives of women from different parts of the Asia continent. She talks with real geisha, women politicians, Cathay girls, a prostitute, business women, house wives, and etc. A lot of the book deals with the sexual component of the Asian stereotypes and most of the book seem to delve more into the feminine (meaning women) side of stereotypes. I really want to here more about the male side of things and I would also like to see a book about the East’s perceptions on the West, kinda like this one. But overall, a great book for an introduction into Western perceptions on the East.