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Pornography as Contemporary Social Discourse

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Bryan Rodríguez-Saringo

on 12 May 2014

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Transcript of Pornography as Contemporary Social Discourse

The Roles of the Asian Male in Interracial Gay Pornography
The Framing of Gay Asian Sexual Stereotypes
Bryan Rodriguez-Saringo

Queer Studies 490
Capstone Seminar
"How are stereotypes of gay Asian men enforced and/or subverted in or via their depiction in interracial male pornography? What kind of impact can some of these subversions/enforcements have on the consumer?"
Social Discourse

Mowlabocus, et al. (2013)
A study of gay men's reactions to bareback pornography according to HIV status

Most popular response in 18-25 group:
"instruction on, and experiences of, gay male sexual practices"

Pornography is most frequently reported to be the first exposure to MSM practices amongst gay- and bisexual-identifying men surveyed. (Stoltenberg, 1991 and Ayres, 1999)

(Neal, 2013)
"Well, why pick on interracial porn?"
A visual study of interracial gay pornographic films starring black men.

Black men as "tops": dominant, aggressive, often single-tracked and using racial epithets.

Black men as "bottoms": rarely existent in mainstream interracial porn and almost always bottomed for Europeans, but never AMERICANS

"The fetishization of the black male body, hence the black penis, emblemizes hypersexuality and masculine dominance while reinforcing the racist notion of white supremacy."

"Mandingo" stereotype

"Homo-thug" complex

Mainstream gay porn studios cater to the gay white male fantasy.

"By viewing interracial gay porn, gay white men who purposely distance themselves from genuine relationships with African-American men can indulge their private sexual fantasies while allowing racist and stereotypical beliefs regarding black men to persist."

Roles of Black Men in Interracial Porn (cont'd)
(Neal, 2013)
"Racialized Desire"
(Sueyoshi, 2010)
The notion that attraction comes from features that are unique to a certain ethnic/racial group
Desire is not devoid of race
Politicizes desire as a whole and can become a reflectiong of contemporary issue of race relations in regards to "desired" and "desirer"
A "Colonialist" idea in nature.
Written records of this type of desire: Post-1860s (after Open-Door Policy with Japan)
How is the gay Asian man stereotyped?
(Chan, 2006)
Eager to please
Desperate for upwards mobility
Having "Daddy issues"
> Most were also characteristics used to describe heterosexual Asian women!
Pornography and gay Asian stereotypes
20 videos starring Asian men engaging in sexual acts with non-Asian men (1997- 2014)

Asian men as bottoms fit the stereotypes of Asian men almost to the dot: submissive, feminine, infantilized, eager to please, and most of the time, femininized.
Asian men as tops
Pornography and gay Asian stereotypes
Asian tops have to fit a "masculinity" quota:
penis size
bigger bodies than the men they engage in sex with (muscularity).
higher level of aggresivity, authority
often only "top" in group settings
Interracial gay pornography has shown to use racial epithets and a Westernized concept of beauty to enhance the sexual fantasy delivered by the content!
concept of male beauty?

Widely Attractive Man in East Asia
Widely attractive man in "The West"
(Chan, 2006)
Male Beauty (cont'd)
The more widely beautiful White man is more frequently sought after, causing the Asian man to become a more "niche" type of beauty.

The Asian man must then adopt this ideal of beauty in order to "even begin to compete for the attention of potential partners against the White male and to garner the attention of the latter." (Chan, 2006)
"OTOKO: Photo-Studies of the Young Japanese Male"
Tamotsu Yato, 1972

First widely-circulated physique pictorial in Japan
Negative Effects of Adopting Western Gay Male Beauty Standards
(Chan, 2006)
Creation of rigid lines so as to what is beautiful and what isn't creates an "'us'-and-'them'" mentality within the gay Asian community, causing a mentality of unpleasant "otherness"

Further creation of other stereotypes not only based on race, but also based on dynamics with romantic and sexual partners, body issues, socioeconomic class, creating a bigger schism in the gay male community; and,

"Compartmentalization" and uncalled-for labeling based on all of the above. ("potato queen", "sticky rice", "FOB boi")
Negative Effects (Cont'd)
Because pornography is a "gateway" into the world of gay male sexual practices, a viewer may continue these practices unaware of the misogyny, racism, and even homophobia created by interracial porn.

An Asian viewer may take these as acceptable practices within Western--particularly American--gay male culture.
Subversion of Gay Asian Stereotypes in American Porn
Asian Persuasion
(Catalina Studios): first commercially released gay porn film starring an Asian man and featuring a mostly-Asian cast. Sparked 3 more sequels.
2001: White Rope (Muscle Bound Productions): First BDSM film featuring an Asian man as a master.
2012: "The Asiancy", a gay porn miniseries directed by Asian director and model Peter Le, focuses on gay Asian-empowering storylines focusing mainly on the desires OF the Asian protagonists. 5 seasons and counting.
Gay Asian men in Power: subversion of the stereotypes
Both the increasing visibility of--and ascent to powerful positions by--people of color and gay males have allowed interracial pornography to enter the mainstream market as opposed to being niche. (Neal, 2013)
Interracial pornography where stereotypical roles are either switched or subverted allows for the dissipation of those stereotypes.
Porn studio marketing Asian-made, Asian-consumed pornography (like "The Asiancy") market as such, but without the focus on interracial aspects.
In conclusion
Most for-profit interracial pornographic studios in the United States cater to the gay White male population, casting people of color (and in this case, Asian men) into a false and derogatory sexual stereotype.

However, as race relations advance in the United States, pornography becomes more reflective of the times and helps subvert such stereotypes (based on race, standard of beauty, etc.) in this space by depicting more varied roles for Asian men, mainly because of the new surge of Asian men to produce and market their own pornography.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY that interracial pornography as discourse addresses or problematizes these stereotypes, but is rather more a sign of the times.
Male beauty is ever-evolving

up until 1850s, pederastic mentorship system allowed for warrior class men to take a young page under their wing. A man and "his boy" could have a sexual relationship, but ended after the boy turned of age.

Feminine features were considered beautiful, causing men with feminine features to become objects of desire because there was no infringment on masculinity codes

1960s: Post-war modernization efforts began to glamourize American lifestyle and the advent of gym culture to Japan.

1990s: "Visual rock" movement lauded, celebrated and sexualized androgyny, becoming the most popular genre in music, fashion, and visual media.
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