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

by Sheridan Prasso
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

by Sheridan Prasso

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Overview

Few Westerners escape the images, expectations and misperceptions that lead us to see Asia as exotic, sensual, decadent, dangerous, and mysterious. Despite - and because of centuries of East-West interaction, the stereotypes of Western literature, stage, and screen remain pervasive icons: the tea-pouring, submissive, sexually available geisha girl; the steely cold dragon lady dominatrix; as well as the portrayal of the Asian male as effeminate and asexual. These "Oriental" illusions color our relations and relationships in ways even well-respected professional "Asia hands" and scholars don't necessarily see.The Asian Mystique lays out a provocative challenge to see Asia and Asians as they really are, with unclouded, deeroticized eyes. It traces the origins of Western stereotypes in history and in Hollywood, examines the phenomenon of 'yellow fever,' then goes on a reality tour of Asia's go-go bars, middle-class homes, college campuses, business districts, and corridors of power, providing intimate profiles of women's lives and vivid portraits of the human side of an Asia we usually mythologize too well to really understand. It strips away our misconceptions and stereotypes, revealing instead the fully dimensional human beings beyond our usual perceptions. The Asian Mystique is required reading for anyone with interest in or interaction with Asia or Asian-origin people, as well as any serious student or practitioner of East-West relations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586483944
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 05/02/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Sheridan Prasso has been writing about Asia for nearly three decades. Her articles have appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fortune, and numerous other publications. A Mandarin speaker with an M.Phil. from Cambridge University, Prasso is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. She currently lives in Hong Kong.

Table of Contents

Introductionxi
Mapxviii
Part 1The Asian Mystique3
Mystery, Sex, Fear, and Desire: A Brief History29
Hollywood, Burbank, and the Resulting Imaginings62
Matters of Men and Country: The Incredible Lightness of Being Portrayed103
"Race-ism," Fetish, and Fever132
Part 2Ten People, Ten Colors167
The Real Memoirs of Geisha200
The Other Side of Miss Saigon223
Glamour of the Skies, Sorority of Service241
Screwing, Getting Screwed, and Getting Ahead262
Who's Playing Whom296
China Doll, Dragon Lady334
Power Women362
Epilogue: Demand Creates Supply389
Acknowledgments397
Notes399
Selected Bibliography411
Index419
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