Gemma Chan in Philip Lim and at the Crazy Rich Asians premiere

Four Reasons Why Asian Women are Having a Moment

Author: Lisa Soeno

Growing up as a half Japanese, half Scottish girl, it always surprised/saddened me a little that there weren’t many Asian faces in films, books and TV. When I was a teenager I came across just one character in the books I read who was Asian, and that was Claudia from The Baby-Sitters Club (she was arty and fashionable and loved junk food, so naturally she was my favourite of all of the Baby-Sitters).

BUT it seems that the tide is changing and that Asian women are finally having their moment. Here are just four reasons why … feel free to add more.

The Film {Crazy Rich Asians}

I took Jenson to a baby screening of this at the Everyman Cinema last week and it was one of the few times I’ve seen a cinema packed to the rafters (I think the last time was when I watched Jurassic Park).

It was a FAB feel-good romcom (the dresses! the mash ups of Chinese and Western music! THAT wedding scene!), it made me want to eat dumplings and visit Singapore and for Gemma Chan to be my best mate. (Hence the Gemma-obsessed header above). It’s the first film in 25 years with an all Asian cast but I’d put money on the fact that it’s less than 25 years before we see the next.

The Sports {Naomi Osaka}

At the start of the month, 20 year old Naomi Osaka made history by defeating Serena Williams in the US Open final, and becoming the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam. Naomi’s victory was somewhat overshadowed by Serena’s mid-match tantrum, and the inevitable media storm that followed (did anyone see the cartoon that the Herald Sun newspaper published showing Serena jumping up and down on her racquet, and depicting Naomi as a blonde white woman?!), but she handled the whole situation with grace, and I predict big things for this woman.

The Book {Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng}

The opening line to Celeste Ng’s debut novel is ‘Lydia is dead’. Lydia is the adored middle sister in a mixed race family (the dad is Chinese, the mum all-American), and it’s the story of how this 16 year old girl ended up at the bottom of a lake. It touches on racism, secrets and lies, cool kids and ‘outsiders’, and parenting (should you place expectations on your children? should you have a favourite child?). It was so thought provoking and so different to anything I’ve ever read that naturally I downloaded Celeste Ng’s second book, Little Fires Everywhere, straight after I’d put down her first. Also on my to-read list is The Leavers by Lisa Ko.

The TV {The Great British Bake Off}

Now that Bodyguard’s over (what did you think?!), it’s ALL about Bake Off. Whilst I’m rooting for Rahul to win (what a sweet humble guy! And his CAKES!), I’m also tuning in to check out what Ruby is wearing and what crazy colourful animal-themed creations Kim-Joy is going to serve up.

Have you come across any bits of pop culture recently that feature inspirational Asian women? Have you seen Crazy Rich Asians and what did you make of it?


Images from Vogue, Lainey Gossip and Glamour

Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
Follow Lisa on instagram @lisa.soeno
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15 thoughts on “Four Reasons Why Asian Women are Having a Moment

  1. I love Gamma Chan. She is my girl crush.
    I always find it a bit weird how under represented Asian culture is here, but it doesn’t seem like people have really complained about it or even noticed until very recently. My pet hate is how all Asian actors are interchangeable. Like, sure you’re Vietnamese, but you can play Mongolian or Nepali right?
    I’m going to try a Celeste Ng book now – thanks for the recommendation!

  2. I love reading about everyday life in different cultures – Scandi has been super popular over the past few years but it would be great to go a bit further afield. Have you heard of the ‘Motherhood around the World’ series on the American blog ‘A Cup of Jo’? Do check it out, it’s amazing for reading about how different cultures bring up their children. I loved the Scandi ones who left their baby outside in the pram whilst they have coffee etc, as this was more of a thing when I was being brought up in Scotland in the 80s. The recent South African one was really interesting.

    1. A Cup of Jo is brilliant! I haven’t come across this series but will definitely be checking it out.

      One of mine and Charlotte’s NCT friends was from Lithuania and she used to leave her baby napping in the pram in the garden 🙂

  3. Have you read Five Star Billionaire? I read it on holiday and it’s set in Shanghai and all the characters are Malaysian. I’ll warn you it’s got a really annoying ending though,

  4. I saw this at baby cinema last week too! I loved it. And have never before been interested in visiting Singapore. Although that’s obvs changed! How old is Jenson? I thought I’d have to stop going to baby cinema and my son Austin got older but last week there was a 2 year old there!

    Also, LOVED Little Fires Everywhere. Read it whilst on holiday and actually bought the book back in case I wanted to re-read it one day. I’ll look for her other stuff now.

    1. Jennifer were you in the Birmingham Everyman? That’s where we were! I think they’re meant to be under one but Jenson is only a few months too old and just slept through most of it 😂
      Wow you must’ve loved Little Fires Everywhere! There are only a couple of books I’ve liked so much that I’ve re-read them x

  5. Great post, Lise!

    Crazy rich is on my list..can’t wait to see it. Is there a series too?

    You’re right, it’s so important to see ourselves reflected back at us in all fields. We cannot be what we cannot see, and I want our kids to grow up knowing they can be anything they put their minds to. Xx

  6. My husband is Cambodian and so my children are mixed race. I for one would be delighted to see more Asian role models in our society and agree that there has never really been a fair representation.

    My daughter is 5 and although she knows her Daddy is Cambodian, she has never once differentiated herself to any of her friends in school or nursery and thankfully has never been given any reason to feel different…yet! The presence of more Asian role models can only be a good thing for acceptance in childhood.

    Thanks for all the recommendations though Lisa. I’d love to see the film and also read the books mentioned!

    1. Completely agree, would love to see more Asian role models.

      P.S. Cambodia was one of my favourite places I visited whilst travelling – such an amazing country.

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