My entire life, I have been a fan of romantic comedies.
From the modern classic, “10 Things I Hate About You,” to my personal favorite, “500 Days of Summer,” the “rom-com” has always been my go-to, staple watch.
Growing up, the characters in these movies served as role models.
The conflicts they dealt with were always hilarious, yet painfully relatable and filled with scenes intended to make you fall in love and reflect on your own life.
However, no matter how much I saw myself in the storylines of these movies, I accepted that society’s ideal lead character is not physically like me: an Asian American female.
But with the rising success of films such as “Crazy Rich Asians” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” Asian American women starring in romantic comedies are becoming a reality.
“Crazy Rich Asians” stars Constance Wu, who plays an excited girlfriend traveling to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s wealthy family.
The entire cast is made up of Asian actors and actresses, but does not only appeal to an Asian audience.
Viewers can appreciate its storyline and the characters’ struggles regardless of race or background.
The importance of this film’s success is clear.
It shows that it is possible for a major film to showcase an Asian American narrative with an all-Asian cast and be deemed entertaining, interesting and worth watching across diverse audiences.
Lana Condor, the Asian American lead actress of Netflix’s most recent book-to-film adaptation rom-com “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” has also generated buzz on social media, especially from teenage girls.
The adaptation is being acknowledged for its main character, Lara Jean, who was written as a Korean American girl in the book.
For many young viewers, this is the first time they are seeing an Asian American female as the lead in a romantic comedy.
However, her cultural identity isn’t the entire story.
Jean is the typical rom-com persona, making young girls feel represented, as if they, too, can be a leading star.
Asian-led rom-coms being celebrated and praised by audiences everywhere introduces the possibility that opportunities are no longer as limited for Asian American women.
It proves that Asian American women can play more than just the lead’s smart best friend or a witty, quirky side character.
They can captivate an audience and deserve to be given more than just a few speaking lines.
This positive representation inspires young Asian girls to believe that they can star in a major film — one that doesn’t just highlight them for what race they are, but instead normalizes their ethnicity and lets their true talent be the focus, just like society typically does with every other lead rom-com actress.
It is too early to say that Asian American women are being fully represented in the media.
However, the film industry is on the right track with expanding possibilities for women of diverse backgrounds to be seen, heard and appreciated.
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