hw assigment 65

Open Posted By: highheaven1 Date: 01/05/2021 High School Dissertation & Thesis Writing

The Assignment, Step-by-Step

Assignment template:

    First, introduce the reading and author and the year the text was written, and provide a short summary as to what the reading covers, as well as what the thesis or argument is. This should be in your own words.
    Second, identify 1 major concept or point from the reading. What is this concept? Summarize it briefly as you understand it
    Third, provide evidence (in the form of at least 2 direct quotes) that you think best explains the concept (use sentence starters like “For instance/for example/___ explains this concept as one that…”/”This concept is best understood through ____’s explanation that…” etc; these quotes need to be contexualized and incorporated into your own sentences rather than just dropped in as standalone sentences). Then, explain what the quote means in 1-2 sentences! (“What ___ means by this is that…”/”In other words, ___ means that…”/”Put differently, the concept of ___ explains how…”). Don’t worry if you’re fully correct or if you’re really unsure about your analysis. Just do the very best that you can. 
    Fourth, explain how this reading helps us understand intersectionality. What new information does it provide? What stood out to you and why?
    Fifth, provide a metaphor or accessible example not from the reading or lecture that helps explain the concept from the reading you’re focused on to someone unfamiliar with the concept. This can be 1-3 sentences and should be accessible to someone who hasn’t read the reading. You can be as creative as you like! Draw a picture, make/steal a meme, compare the theory to a B-rated film...whatever you want. 
    Sixth, describe, in 1-2 sentences, what real-world situations, or what book/film/video game/narrative you think this concept is particularly relevant to. In other words, how would you make use of this concept? Where can you see applying it outside this text?
    Briefly identify, based on the evaluation guidelines above, what grade range you were aiming for while completing the assignment. (eg. "I completed ___, ___, and ___, but didn't complete ___ as I was just aiming for a ___ grade.")


Category: Accounting & Finance Subjects: Behavioral Finance Deadline: 12 Hours Budget: $100 - $150 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

Attachment 1

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[email protected] MSc Dissertation Series Compiled by Bart Cammaerts, Nick Anstead and Ruth Garland Unmasking ‘Sidekick’ Masculinity: A Qualitative Investigation of How Asian-American Males View Emasculating Stereotypes in U.S. Media Steffi Lau, MSc in Global Media and Communications Other dissertations of the series are available online here: http://www.lse.ac.uk/[email protected]/research/mediaWorkingPapers/ ElectronicMScDissertationSeries.aspx

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Dissertation submitted to the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, August 2015, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the MSc in Media, Communication and Development. Supervised by Dr. Shakuntala Banaji. The Author can be contacted at: [email protected] Published by [email protected], London School of Economics and Political Science (‘LSE’), Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE. The LSE is a School of the University of London. It is a Charity and is incorporated in England as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act (Reg number 70527). Copyright, Steffi Lau © 2015. The authors have asserted their moral rights. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of the publisher nor be issued to the public or circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published. In the interests of providing a free flow of debate, views expressed in this dissertation are not necessarily those of the compilers or the LSE.

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Unmasking ‘Sidekick’ Masculinity: A Qualitative Investigation of How Asian-American Males View

Emasculating Stereotypes in U.S. Media

Steffi Lau ABSTRACT This paper sought to explore how Asian-American males perceive stereotypical media

portrayals of themselves in relation to their identity and masculinity and conversely, how

they construct identity and masculinity in relation to emasculating media representations.

Through semi-structured interviews, this research explored the inner worlds and life

narratives of 23 Asian-American men. Using thematic analysis, I found that Asian-American

men by and large negatively view and reject media’s emasculating images of themselves and

find resistance in choosing to assert their masculinity and identity in other ways.

Nonetheless, as identity is not produced in a vacuum, but is socially recognized, Asian-

American men suffer from being ascribed unwanted identities out of their control.


I am an Oriental. And being an Oriental, I could never be completely a man. – M. Butterfly

In February 2012, after singlehandedly converting a dismal game into victory for the New

York Knicks, a virtually unknown basketball player, Jeremy Lin, burst into the global

spotlight, as he drove ‘near-superhuman’ point leads that led his team to victory over an

unparalleled winning streak spanning seven games and toppling historical statistics

(Freeman, 2012). Yet what made this underdog’s rise to stardom even more remarkable was

his background: the athletic, charismatic 6’3’ Taiwanese-American was an unprecedented

rarity in the league, defying stereotypes of Asian-American men as bookish, puny and

physically inept.

But even in the whirlwind of popularity dubbed ‘Linsanity,’ disturbing racial undertones

emerged: The New York Post printed a controversial headline that read ‘Chink in the Armor.’

Equally offensively, a Fox Sports columnist tweeted, ‘Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a

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couple inches of pain tonight’ (Freeman, 2012).

Not only did this demeaning statement allude to an oft-repeated stereotype of Asian men

having small penises, it played into a trend cemented in American media over the past

century: the painting of Asian-American men as alternatively lustful outcasts with ‘weak

sexual abilities’ (Wong et al. 2012: 1) or emasculated, diminutive ‘men’ defined by a ‘striking

absence down there’ (Fung, 2008: 237) Altogether, these racially charged media gaffes

highlighted a more unsettling problem: the naturalized acceptability of racism against Asian-

American men in media and society. As one commentator pointed out, it is unthinkable that

even a ‘half-brained TV presenter would use racial slurs against a black player equivalent to

the Asian ones that have been used against Lin’ (Freeman, 2012).

These emasculating media portrayals of Asian-American men can be traced back to the mid-

1800s when Chinese men arrived in the U.S. en masse, fulfilling a need for cheap labour

(Shek, 2006). With laws limiting the immigration of Chinese women, Chinese men largely

lived in bachelor societies. Fearing intermarriage, the U.S. government passed anti-

miscegenation laws threatening to revoke the citizenship of white women who out-married.

Reinforcing these fears was the circulation of Yellow Peril propaganda portraying Asian men

as ‘sexually deviant, asexual, effeminate’ predators (Shek, 2006: 381). Furthermore, job

opportunities were limited to traditionally female work such as laundry and cooking, further

exacerbating their effeminate image (Takaki, 1993). Essentially, early conceptions of Asian-

American masculinity were constructed to be disempowering in relations with employers and

white society (Chua & Fujino, 1999).

As history has progressed, the racial castration of Asian-American men in the media has

continued (Eng, 2001). The 20th century ushered in further pejorative images of Asian-

American men in movies, including supervillain Fu Manchu (1929) who embodied a ‘lack of

heterosexuality’; Sixteen Candles (1984) which featured sex-starved exchange student Long

Duk Dong accompanied by a gong chiming at his every appearance; and The Joy Luck Club

(1993), a movie celebrated for its depiction of Chinese-American mother-daughter

relationships, but with ‘few, if any, redeeming’ (Shek, 2006: 381) portrayals of Asian-

American men, who instead were depicted as chauvinistic and miserly, ultimately driving

female counterparts to white love interests (Chan, 1998).

As evidenced by the Linsanity media coverage, this humiliating narrative around Asian-

American men has continued into the 21st century. Through repeated portrayals on screen of

the socially awkward nerd, passive sidekicks, and the restaurant owner with an unintelligible

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accent, Asian-American males have been Othered and denied their masculinity through

restrictive stereotypes reducing them to comedic tropes. Rarely are Asian-American men

seen as attractive leading men, or depicted as romantic options. In fact, an analysis of the 100

top-grossing films of 2013 found that Asian male characters were least likely to be in

romantic relationships (28%) as compared to black men (68%), white men (58%) and

Hispanic men (57%)—a dramatic gap (Smith, Choueiti, & Pieper, 2013: 7).

Thus far, academics have written about the racial castration, emasculation and ‘queering’ of

the Asian-American male within the national imaginary (Eng, 2001; Parikh, 2002) from a

historical and psychological lens. Yet to date, there remains insufficient literature from a

media perspective on the topic. Therefore, this paper seeks to explore how Asian-American

males interpret these emasculating representations and more importantly, how they

construct and navigate their identities and masculinities in relation to these.

LITERATURE REVIEW Identity and Representation

Media scholars have argued that representations are not only symbolic of deeper societal

sentiments—they are reflective of society’s power relations. Stuart Hall writes, ‘Stereotyping

tends to occur where there are gross inequalities of power’ (1997 a.: 258). Inextricable from

ideology, representations are a form of hegemonic power. Therefore, studying stereotyping is

crucial as symbolic marginalization is likely reflective of a systematic exclusion of Asian-

American men from society. As Hall writes, stereotyping plays a key role in maintaining

symbolic order through binding together ‘all of Us who are “normal” into one “imagined

community”’ (1997 a.: 258). Through positioning Asian-American men as emasculated,

American media place them in binary opposition to the accepted idea of Western masculinity,

as deviants demarcating what is normal and what is not—akin to Edward Said’s (1978) theory

of Orientalism detailing how the West has produced the East as Other and inferior.

Moreover, contextualizing and interrogating these portrayals is imperative, given

representation’s undeniable capacity to ascribe unwanted identities. As Hall writes, identity

emerges ‘in the dialogue between the meanings and definitions which are represented to us

by the discourse of a culture, and our willingness (consciously or unconsciously) to…step into

the subject positions constructed for us’ (1997 b.: 219). Similarly, Woodward asserts that

although we as subjects are able to choose our identifications, this internal agency is limited

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by external social constraints exerted over the subject within society. This tension renders

some identities ‘inaccessible or impossible’ (2000: 18). Thus, the fact that representation is

integral to identity construction—desired or not—is particularly disquieting when we

consider the degrading portrayals of Asian-American men. Unable to access desired identities

within society, Asian-American men may experience damaging impacts on their psyches as

they negotiate their identities as men recognized as less than men.


The theory of hegemonic masculinity has become the backbone of masculinity research,

following its proposal by R.W. Connell, who defined it as the configuration of gender practice

through which patriarchy is legitimized and women are subordinated (1995: 77). Although a

plurality of masculinities exists, hegemonic masculinity is considered the ‘the ideal type that

is glorified and associated with white men at the highest levels of society’ (Phua, 2007: 910).

The definition of hegemonic masculinity is a racialized one that automatically entails the

exclusion of any man who is not white and relegates homosexuality to marginalized

masculinity and racial minorities to subordinated masculinity (Connell & Messerschmidt,

2005). Meanwhile, men of colour ‘jockey’ to ‘enter the inner circle, often as ‘honorary’ elite

White men’ although their colour will never allow them full acceptance (Collins, 2004: 186).

It is worth noting the distinction that, while literature regarding black masculinities within

the West has been generated, little discussion has heeded the experiences of Asian men in the

West. Some point out that while Asian-Americans are ascribed docile, womanly traits,

American narratives have ascribed threatening traits to other men of colour (violent black

‘studs’ with large penises, macho Latinos, and Native-American rapists) which, while still

pejorative, nonetheless accentuate their masculinities as opposed to de-legitimating them

(Kim, 2005: 137).

Given this, some academics contend that Connell’s perspective is organized around a

gendered lens—if the hierarchy is fundamentally structured around race, one could argue

that privilege is determined by race, with gay masculinity marginalized and minority

masculinity subordinated (Phua, 2007). Under this supposition, a gay man within the race of

power may benefit more from existing power dynamics than a straight Asian-American man,

while Asian-American gays may be doubly excluded.

Indeed, research indicates that the emasculating stereotypes can be particularly detrimental

for gay Asian-American men. Phua (2007) notes that the queer community has appropriated

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the Orientalism of Asian women to eroticize and fetishize Asian-American gays. Under this

framework, they are simultaneously seen as hypersexual and effeminate, yet still undesirable

due to the prizing of masculine traits within the queer community, which derides Asians as

‘natural-born gays’ and lesbians—a demonstration of the complex power dynamics in play

within a racialized masculinity framework (Phua, 2007). Another crucial gender theory is

Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity which asserts that gender is not objectively

formed, but is a ‘sequence of acts,’ ‘a ‘strategy’ which has cultural survival at its end, since

those who do not ‘do’ their gender correctly are punished by society’ (Salih, 2002: 58).

In a 1996 study on masculinities in college organizations, researchers found that Asian-

American men are least likely to be chosen for leadership positions by classmates, with white

men and white women who emulated hegemonic masculine behaviours favoured (Cheng,

1996). The students’ preference for white women exhibiting hegemonic masculine behaviours

foregrounds the performative nature of gender and begs the question of whether it is more

constructive to visualize U.S. power structures through a raced lens in which skin colour is

more indicative of power than gender. Moreover, given the performative element of gender,

it is then crucial that we ask how Asian-American men strategically ‘do’ gender in a society in

which they are already symbolically dismissed and castrated.

The Current Landscape for Asian-American Men

Before diving into a qualitative discussion of the experiences of Asian-American men, it is

important that we examine the research to date on the prevailing stereotypes and challenges

Asian-American men face. While the image of the lecherous Chinaman has faded, Asian-

Americans continue to face a host of stereotypes, including that of the model minority.

Perpetuated by media in the 20th century, the model minority stereotype has led to the

portrayal of Asian-Americans as ‘reserved, quiet, diligent and studious’ (Mok, 1998: 195).

Though ‘deceptively positive on the surface’ (Zhang, 2010: 22), the stereotype carries

negative connotations of Asian-Americans as nerdy, passive and socially inept, while also

being used to de-legitimate protests of racial inequality. For men, the stereotype can be

particularly acute as it fails to convey ‘the charismatic, masculine American icon’ (Mok, 1998:


Yet research suggests that those who contradict the stereotype of passivity nonetheless face a

backlash. A Canadian study found that participants held prescriptive stereotypes of East

Asians being ‘non-dominant’, meaning that when East Asians exhibited dominant behaviour

contradicting the stereotype, such as taking charge, they were more likely to be disliked by

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white co-workers in comparison to dominant white co-workers who were more willingly

tolerated (Berdahl and Min, 2012).

Just as pervasive is the stereotype of the perpetual foreigner which depicts Asian-Americans

inassimilable, heavily-accented foreigners who can never truly be American (Suzuki, 2002). A

look at Hollywood’s recent portrayals indicates the extent to which this myth has continued

to pervade the screen: films and shows like The Hangover (2009), 2 Broke Girls and

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015) all feature heavily accented Asian foreigners—played by

native-born Asian-Americans without accents.

While it is difficult to determine the extent to which media stereotypes are accepted as reality,

cultivation theory proposes that prolonged exposure to media stereotypes may result in the

acceptance of stereotypes as social reality (Zhang, 2010). Leveraging this theory, an empirical

study found that people’s perceptions about Asian-Americans are aligned with media

stereotypes: amongst racial-ethnic groups in the U.S., Asian-Americans are most likely to be

perceived as nerds, are most likely to be left out, and disturbingly, people are least likely to

initiate friendship with Asian-Americans (Zhang, 2010).

Though the model minority and perpetual foreigner stereotypes apply to both sexes,

disparities exist in media. Asian-American men are depicted as socially awkward and meek,

traits that are generally unappealing in American romanticism (Sung, 1967), while women

are typically depicted as servile, beautiful and delicate (Sue & Kitano, 1973). Although this

exoticization isn’t necessarily positive, it is notable for its alignment with traditionally

desirable feminine qualities, in contrast to male stereotypes that fall short of assertive

Western masculinity and attractiveness. Saliently, Hamamoto (1994) argues that minority

women do not pose as much of a threat to the status quo and thus have an easier time being

accepted by white society than their male counterparts. Perhaps for these reasons, it has been

found that Asian-American men are significantly more aware of racism than Asian-American

women (Kohatsu, 1992).

As such, huge disparities have persisted in Asian-American dating patterns, with large

numbers of Asian-American women dating white men, a trend since the 1950s (Chua &

Fujino, 1999). A Pew report found that 36% of Asian-American females married outside their

race in 2010, compared with 17% of Asian-American males (Wang, 2012). Data from the

dating site OKCupid found that Asian-American men and black women are the least desirable

groups on the site (Rudder, 2014). Researchers hypothesize that stereotypical perceptions of

Asian-American men as unattractive, asexual, effeminate and having small penises are to

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blame (Lu & Wong, 2013). In fact, Chua and Fujino (1999) found that Asian-American men

may have internalized these stereotypes, finding that out of 232 respondents, only white men

listed themselves as sexually exciting, attractive and outgoing as compared to Asian

immigrants and U.S.-born Asian-Americans.

Perhaps most salient is the stereotypes’ impact on Asian-American men’s self-images and

identities. In a study on stressful experiences of masculinity among Asian-American men

(both US men and those who immigrated as adults), Lu and Wong (2013) found that

regardless of how Asian-American men see themselves, they concurrently experience

appraisals of themselves as physically weak and internalise norms equating masculinity with

strength, contradicting potentially positive self-concepts and prompting ‘persistent fears

about physical inadequacy’ (Lu & Wong, 2013: 351). Their research concluded that

stereotypes led participants to feel they were failing physical and emotional masculine ideals,

leading them to suffer ‘psychologically, socially, and physiologically’ (359).

Strategies of Resistance and Distance

Given these alienating stereotypes and palpable disadvantages within social, professional and

romantic spheres, it is important to understand the strategies that Asian-American men

employ as they grapple to survive in a world that prizes hegemonic masculinity, yet excludes

them from its definition. A study of gender strategies found that Chinese-American men

engaged in ‘hegemonic bargaining’: subjects traded behaviours such as athleticism,

assertiveness, ‘frat-boy-like behaviours’ (Nemeto, 2008: 83), and sentiments of ‘feeling

white’ inside, in exchange for an ‘elevation of their manhood’ and less marginalized

masculinities (Chen, 1999: 600). Yet these bargains are hegemonic, for in adhering to the

prevailing ideals, the men reinforce a worldview by which they ‘regard themselves as

incomplete and inadequate’ (604).

This insight exposes the paradox Asian-American men face as they negotiate their identities

as men: they must either copy the white masculine norm or ‘accept the fact we are not men’

(Chan, 1998: 94) Accordingly, some have envisioned a ‘re-masculinization’ agenda for Asian-

American men, centred on the vision of the ideal Asian-American male as hyper-masculine,

heterosexual, and U.S.-born (Hoang, 2014; Chin, 1974). Yet, the fallacy lies in the fact that

emulating the ideal of white masculinity bolsters the very ideology that devalues their

identities. In his book ‘Racial Castration,’ Eng writes that ‘the untenable predicament of

wanting to join a mainstream society that one knows…systematically excludes oneself and

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delineates the painful problem of becoming the instrument of one’s own self-exclusion’

(2001: 22).

Consequently, feminist scholars have urged Asian-American men to leverage their unique

position to redefine masculinity and embrace a more feminized alternative, arguing that they

are at a critical juncture due to their experience with subjugation and feminism’s challenge to

the patriarchy (Chua & Fujino, 1999; Hoang 2014). Yet, the yearning for inclusion within the

dominant masculinity structure ‘overrides the politics of alliance with other oppressed

groups’ (Chan, 2001: 11). Moreover, academics worldwide have widely documented the

institutionalized de-legitimation of alternative forms of masculinity by those within the

socially dominant masculinity (Connell, 1995). Therefore, to construct an alternative model

of masculinity, Asian-American men risk being further stigmatized in a power structure that

already demeans them.

Conceptual Framework

This study will be framed by concepts of identity construction and hegemonic masculinity in

order to explore the complex relationships between stereotypical media depictions of Asian-

American men and Asian-American male identity and masculinity. As evidenced by the

aforementioned work, individuals do not construct identities in a vacuum. Rather, society

represents meanings to us, which we either willingly or unwillingly step into. Given media’s

instrumental role in cultivating these meanings, it is clear that media’s restrictive portrayals

of Asian-American men present a rich site for exploration of identity. Thus, this paper will

examine the ways in which media create tension between human agency and cultural


Accordingly, I will use identity theory to investigate whether media render certain identities

inaccessible for Asian-American men, and whether they impose other unwanted identities

through its symbolic emasculation. Taking an intersectional approach, it is apparent that due

to both their race and perceived lack of manhood, Asian-American men are painfully

marginalized at the utmost fringes of a racialized, heteronormative power structure revering

hegemonic masculinity. Juxtaposing the opposing strategies of re-masculinization and

redefinition of masculinity proposed by advocates for Asian-American men, I will examine

the strategies that subjects employ and view as most effective.

I will also reference prominent black feminist scholar bell hooks’ theory of the oppositional

gaze. Hooks asserted that ‘the ability to manipulate one’s gaze in the face of structures of

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domination that would contain it, opens up the possibility of agency’ (1992: 116). Rather than

passively interpreting media as it is represented to us, she suggests that by critically looking

(or choosing to stop looking) at filmic representations produced by white supremacy, our

gazes become self-aware ones that resist and interrogate.

In summary, merging identity, hegemonic masculinity and gender performativity theories, I

will examine how Asian-American men perceive the restrictive portrayals represented to

them through media, and more importantly, how they negotiate and strategically perform the

masculinities and identities available to them as they attempt to assert their manhood.


As revealed by the wealth of aforementioned research, Asian-American men keenly feel the

sting of their marginalization, whether professionally, romantically, socially or mentally. Yet,

much of this research stems from a psychological approach. Furthermore, several studies

have lumped together the experiences of men born and raised in the U.S. and those who have

immigrated as adults—two vastly different experiences. Conspicuously little research has

taken a media perspective, a dire deficiency considering the colossal influence the media has

in activating and influencing stereotypes and judgments. As Morley writes, despite growing

scholarship on today’s mediated world, there has been a dearth of scholarship shedding light

on the linkages ‘between the physical and virtual forms of social and cultural exclusion’

(2001: 440).

As such, this research will aim to fill a critical gap in existing research on Asian-American

men by paying particular attention to the complex relationships between media, identity and

perceived treatments within society. I will aim to address the following questions:

Research question:

• How do Asian-American males perceive stereotypical media representations of

themselves in relation to their identity and masculinity? Conversely, how are identity

and masculinity constructed in relation to media?


• To what extent do Asian-American males attribute treatment in society to restrictive


• Do Asian-American males have an oppositional gaze that distances them from

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stereotypes in American media?

Through delving into the role of media in Asian-American males’ inner worlds, I endeavour

to shed light on the potentially damaging effects of stereotypical representations and pose a

challenge to the naturalized acceptability of degrading Asian-American men within media.


Given the complex nature of identity, a qualitative approach is best-suited for an exploration

of the topic. Much of the research to date on the experiences of Asian-American men has

taken a quantitative approach, which cannot fully capture the depth and subtleties of the

Asian-American male experience. In fact, in Shek and McEwen’s quantitative findings on

Asian-American men’s gender role conflict, they wrote that participants ‘had stories to share

and did not necessarily feel like their experiences’ could be captured through the survey

employed (2012: 706). They proposed that interviews could ‘elicit a more revealing and

insightful picture’ of the deeper issues faced by Asian-American men (706).

Accordingly, semi-structured interviews are best-suited for an exploration of the topic, given

their ability to glean intimate details on individuals’ inner worlds (Silverman, 2001). A pilot

study undertaken in April 2015 confirmed this as an ideal method. Given my desire to

understand individual thoughts, focus groups did not seem like a fitting methodology, as the

group environment does not lend itself to discussing individual identities and histories.

Therefore, through the drawing out of rich personal narratives, I hoped to gain a more three-

dimensional understanding of the ways in which Asian-American men interpret media and

construct their identities. Indeed, feminist scholars argue that semi-structured interviewing

is ideally suited for the unearthing of minority voices which ‘have been ignored,

misrepresented and suppressed in the past’ (Byrne, 2004: 182).

I chose to employ the active interviewing approach advanced by Holstein and Gubrium who

contend that the interview is a ‘dynamic, meaning-making occasion’ (1997: 117) and not a

‘passive [filter] towards some truths about people’s identities’ (Silverman, 2001: 118). Indeed,

identity and gender themselves are processes of representation and performativity, as is

interviewing. Accordingly, in order to ‘activate applicable ways of knowing,’ I utilized the

active interviewing approach of suggesting ‘possible horizons of meaning and narrative

linkages’ (Holstein & Gubrium, 1997: 125). It also enabled me share my own experiences as

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an Asian-American, fostering an environment of mutual disclosure that strengthened


However, as a female, I had to remain …