5 Women Who Are Proving South Asians Aren’t Invisible
Fun fact: Did you know that over 50% of the Super Bowl audience tuned in to watch the ads, are people tuning in just for the ads? The Super Bowl is one time where people actually anticipate the commercial break. I always found it odd that no matter how hard we avoid commercials in our day to day t.v watching life, we anxiously wait to see what’s virtually the Oscars of advertisements. We analyze and discuss while recollecting our composure after a rough first half what company emotionally compelled us enough to purchase their product…or at the very least leave us thinking.
Maybe the obsession is knowing the fact that a Super Bowl ad is insanely expensive at 4 million dollars, the same amount it took Jennifer Lopez to produce her latest film, The Boy Next Door. Whatever the case, its become an American staple that we rally our folks around, baking up a feast like it’s Thanksgiving, and tune into. And for those of us that don’t (like me,) the internet is like our chatty friend that keeps us up to date with all the juiciness we missed out on. Tell it, girl!
One of the big talks of the evening was Mindy Kaling’s Nationwide Super Bowl commercial, where Kaling believes she must be invisible after being ignored for most of her life, doing a bunch of random things like snatching people’s food, eating out a tub of ice cream in a grocery store, and sunbathing in Central Park (which personally sounds like an amazing solo date.) After being denied a kiss from Matt Damon, Kaling realizes she’s not really invisible, people just choose not to see her.
The Nationwide ad serves as an example of great advertising. On the height of the Oscars snub, making this year’s show the least diverse in almost two decades, and Twitter feuds about Iggy Azaela and her cultural appropriation of the Black community, Hollywood’s diversity problem is a hot topic these days.
For reference, take Mindy Kaling herself. Not only is she one of the few big name female comedians out there, as an Asian American, Kaling represents the fastest growing minority in the country in an industry that gave Asian actors a mere 4.4 percent of speaking characters in 2013’s top 100 grossing films. The majority of roles given to Asians usually play on stereotypes of the class geek, void of sexuality and non aggressive.
While I won’t go as far as to say that South Asians are becoming Hollywood’s mainstream and studios are booming with roles for Asian actors, I can at least say (and be hopeful) that La La Land is making strides to compliment their growing diverse audiences. Here’s a look of 5 examples of South Asian representation in the media.
When Marvel unveiled their latest superhero, conservatives asses clenched tighter than at a gay bar. Why? If you can’t tell by the name, Khan is the first Muslim superhero. A Pakistani American teen from New Jersey, Khan headlined Ms. Marvel comic series February last year.
While Lakshmi is more known for being one of the hosts of Top Chef, she actually started her career as one of the first Indian models to be grace the covers of Vogue India, Cosmopolitan, and Allure, and has walked the runway for big name designers like Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, and Alberta Ferretti. I still don’t know how she can build a career from the kitchen and stay so damn slim. I gain weight just looking at the fridge (no shade though, because thick chicks have always been a thang.)
Wait-wha? How did Norah Jones make the list you ask? While Norah Jones may be her stage name, her birth name is actually Geetali Norah Jones Shankar. The daughter of expert sitar player and composer of Hindustani classical music Ravi Shankar, Jones caught the music bug from her pops, going on to win nine Grammy awards and was featured as one of the artists of the decade in for 2000-09 in Billboard.
Although my personal opinion of beauty pageants is that they’re an outdated, misogynistic waste of time, perpetuating the idea that no matter how accomplished a woman is, she’ll still be dwindled down to her appearance, Miss America is just as American as apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. So it says a lot that last year’s Miss America just so happens to be an Indian American. Aside from touting a tiara on her head, Davuluri is a graduate of the University of Michigan, earning a B.S. in Brain, Behavior & Cognitive Science.
I mean, hello! How could we not include our beloved Kaling!? Before landing her big break on The Office, Kaling, along with a friend from Dartmouth where she earned a bachelors in playwright, portrayed best buds Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in their 2002 production of Matt & Ben; Time magazine listed the play as one of the top ten theatrical events of the year. Maybe that’s why Matt Damon denied her a kiss?
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