It was about topics that related to Asian Americans”
A Narrative Analysis of the Asian American Experience in
the AsianBossGirl Podcast
Media and Communication Studies: Culture, Collaborative Media, and Creative Industries Malmö University
Two-year Master Thesis (15 Credits) Spring 2020
Course codes KK649A & KK644B Supervisor: Temi Odumosu
Following the development of Asian American representation in the United States media in the 21st century, this thesis aims to explore the alternative narratives provided by the AsianBossGirl podcast which started in 2017 to fill the gap in the mainstream media. Intersectional framework has been operationalized to conduct an in-depth reading of their narratives, and complemented by the theory of uses and gratification to investigate the impacts that they have on their audiences.
The results demonstrate that their narratives of Asian American experience deviate from both cultural and stereotypical traditions. They contest the norms through relatable, subversive and authentic content that resonate with their listeners. However, through the intersectional lens, this thesis is able to identify the danger of neglecting multidimensionality in the Asian American communities which encompass a diverse immigration history in the United States.
Keyword: narrative analysis, Asian American, podcast, representation, diasporic identity, intersectionality, theory of uses and gratification
Without all the encouragement and guidance during the past couple of months, this thesis would not have been possible. Hence, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude towards various individuals who have been part of this long, yet rewarding journey.
To my thesis supervisor, Temi Odumosu, thank you so much for supporting, guiding and challenging me to develop in my writing, from start to finish. It has not been easy, but you have shown me that persistence and dedication will help me get through this marathon. I am fortunate to have you as my thesis supervisor.
To my examiner, Erin Cory, thank you so much for your valuable feedback.
To Gabriella, thank you for always being the friend that listens and comes with wise words. And thank you for being there for me through the tough time during my self-quarantine.
To Young, I sincerely appreciate your comforting words and unconditional understanding. It has meant a lot.
To my mom, thank you for providing me with the endless mental support during the conduction of this thesis. Mom, I love you!
To everyone who has helped me in sharing and/or participating in my questionnaire. You all are awesome.
Lastly, to the ABG podcast, thank you for the opportunity to conduct a research that has been more than a research. It is a vital part of the reconciliation with my own identity as a third culture kid.
List of figures
Figure 1. Dr. Fu Manchu performed by Christopher Lee Figure 2. Labov’s structural model
Figure 3. Questionnaire
Table of content
1. Introduction 5
1.1 Research questions and thesis outline 6
2. Contextualization 8
3. Literature review 10
3.1 Asian American identity and its challenges 10
3.2 Representation of Asian diaspora in the United States 12
4. Theoretical framework 16
4.1 Intersectional framework 16
4.2 The theory of uses and gratifications (U&G) 18
5. Methodology 20 5.1 Research design 20 5.2 Sampling 21 5.3 Narrative analysis 23 5.4 Questionnaire 24 5.4.1 Data collection 25 5.4.2 Results 27
5.5 Ethical considerations and limitations 28
6. Analysis 31
6.1 Analyzing the ABG podcast for key narratives: Ep. 22, 29 and 30 31
6.1.1 Episode 22: On Role models and relatability 31
6.1.2 Episode 29: Assimilation and subversion 34
6.1.3 Episode 30: Something old and something new 37
6.2 The emerging foci 40
6.2.1 Challenging the norms 41
6.2.2 Relatable and active community members 42
6.3 Intersectional reading of the ABG podcast 44
6.4 Relatability, connection and content neglected by mainstream media 45
7. Concluding discussion 51
7.1 Alternative narrative of the Asian American experience 51
7.2 Empowering, yet insufficient 53
8. List of references 56
“I wanted my children to have the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these things do not mix?”
The Joy Luck Club, 1989, p. 254
This quote excerpted from The Joy Luck Club book reminds me of growing up between the European cultures and Southeast Asian values, where I always struggled to reconcile the depictions of Western society in mainstream with media and the work of establishing of Asian roots that were narrated by my family. Organically, I internalized normative Western images into my own identity, which influenced to how I looked at myself as well as at other people of Asian descent living in the West. To conform with the norms, I never questioned what I was not exposed to and instead I tried to relate my personal experiences to what I could access in media. However, the older I get, the more the representational dissonance during my upbringing prompts further questions regarding what influences self-perception and I decided to start exploring the experiences of people living between worlds, outside of my own context. This attempt of mine has been facilitated by the rising trends of diversity in media production, and the amplified selection and dissemination of content produced by other Asians in the West. It is also possible because of the increasing mediatization of our interactions in the digital age where communicative technologies and globalization meet (Kleinke et al., 2018). I first discovered the AsianBossGirl podcast (hereafter ABG) in 2017, and it invoked my curiosity for the representations of ethnic groups in mainstream media in the United States. As close as this podcast brought me to the reflection of people sharing similar experiences in media that do not belong to the existing stereotypical representations, it also brought me to the problematization of this topic, and consequently, the present thesis. In recent years, studies on Asian Americans in media appear to be extensive and varied, including: the shifting the images of people of Asian descent in the United States mainstream media (Kim, 2013), the representation of Asian American masculinity in the sports media coverage (Park, 2015), the impacts of the stereotypical portrayal, Model Minority, on Asian Americans (Shih et al., 2019), and the celebratory discourse around the movie Crazy Rich Asians and its impact on the narrative of Asian American representation (Sugino, 2019). Yet,
studying the history of representations of Asians and Asian American experiences in the United States has revealed the gap, that this thesis paper seeks to fill. These previous research studies mostly focus on the stereotypical depictions in mainstream media e.g. movies, music, and magazines. The visibility of people of Asian descent is seemingly expanding in media, both conventional and alternative, hence, the ABG was selected as my case study to explore the unexplored area in the field of media and communication studies. Despite it being a podcast, its content is nonetheless appropriate to be subject for studying the narrative of Asian American experience and representation amidst the growing diversity in media scene. In addition to fill the gap in the research field, this thesis aims to uncover and examine the narrative of Asian American experience rendered by the ABG podcast and understand its impacts on the podcast listeners through the usage of qualitative analysis and questionnaire. To fulfill these aims, the analytical frameworks of intersectionality and uses and gratification will be further applied.
1.1 Research questions and thesis outline
There are three research questions that have been formulated in accordance with the objectives of this thesis in exploring the narrative of Asian American experience provided by the ABG podcast.
- How does the ABG podcast produce alternative narrative of the Asian American experience?
- In what ways do issues of racial, gender and class dominance intersect in their content?
- What are the effects of these narratives on their listeners?
The present thesis is divided into six main chapters. To position this thesis in the media and communications research field, the next chapter provides a contextualization of Asian American representation using the existing studies followed by Chapter 3 that gives a literature review. Chapter 4 will discuss the two chosen theoretical frameworks which are intersectionality and the theory of uses and gratification. The outline of the methodological approaches and strategies is subsequently presented in Chapter 5. In addition to the
limitations of this thesis. Chapter 6 presents the analysis applying the analytical approach in practice, and finally, a concluding discussion on the findings with suggestions for future research will be provided in Chapter 7.
For clarity and contextualization of this thesis, the term Asian American needs to be established. Asian Americans are an extremely diverse population in the United States consisting of over 48 ethnic groups, according to the Census 2012 (Chan, 2017, p.13), and therefore, many scholars have faced challenges when attempting to construct an umbrella racial identity for these communities. Asian Americans as a term was first adopted by the immigrants from Asia to the United States in the 1960s and might not be applied to the new immigrants, who do not share the same historical, political and economic experiences (Junn & Masuoka, 2008, p.729). Keeping this in mind, the thesis is not intended to exclude the more recent identities such as Asian Pacific American (Patel, 2010) and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (Chan, 2017). Since this population is multiethnic and multicultural, the focus will thus be on the traditional Asian American term which adheres to the model in relation to the collected data i.e. how the shared experiences affected by the factors such as immigration history, family culture, gender and discrimination that construe a consciousness of collective racial identity (Chan, 2017, p.14). With that said, this term will be used in consideration to the Asian American experience that is narrated specifically by the ABG podcast, which is primarily people of East Asian origin e.g. China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. Going back to my motivation for choosing to work with the topic of Asian Americans, this demographic was the fastest growing group among the minorities in the United States (Sun et al., 2015, p. 295) since the immigration wave in the 1960s (Kibria, 2002, p.1), but their problematic portrayals are based on the imaginaries produced and perpetuated by the media which reflects the structural ideology in the given society. Tom Pollard (2017), who studied the prejudices against Asian Americans that are reflected in the Hollywood’s depictions, points out that “historically, Asian-Americans were portrayed using such derisive stereotypes as “the yellow peril” (dangerous criminals), “the perpetual foreigner” (unassimilated immigrants), and “the exotic geisha” (subservient sexual objects)” (2017, p.133), while “model minority” is a more recent stereotype describing people of Asian descent as nerdy and polite (ibid). Disrupting these stereotypes seems to be possible in the era post Crazy Rich Asians, which was seen as a win for Asian American representation in the United States after The Joy Luck Club featuring an all-Asian cast 25 years earlier (Le & Kang, 2019, p.525). This can also be seen in the ABG podcast’s attempt to rupture the
stereotypical representations of Asian women in media by providing a voice that deviates from the norms.
As of January 2020, there are over 850 000 active podcasts on iTunes (Podcast Insights) since the term podcast was first coined in 2004. Platforms like iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud are hosting and distributing podcasts globally (Drew, 2017, p.202) and the number of people listening to podcasts weekly is steadily increasing since 2004 (Podcast Insights). The format as well as production and consumption practices of podcasts enable both individuals and institutions to engage and interact more “intimately” within cultural contexts (Drew, 2017, p.202). This is because the consumers have the ability to choose when, where and how to listen to the particular podcasts through their devices, and the producers benefit from the Internet that facilitates the distribution and accessibility of their content while combining traditional and new media in creating a new way of communication (Scholz et al., 2008, p.468). This attractive aspect surely has contributed to the growth of the podcast’s popularity. The Asian Boss Girl podcast is a podcast hosted by three Asian American women between the ages of 20-30, called Melody Cheng, Helen Wu and Janet Wang. They launched their first episode in 2017 and since, they have produced 57 episodes with distribution across different platforms including iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. Their initial aim of starting this podcast was to fill a representational gap alongside the ongoing movements Me Too and Nasty Gal, where they felt like the voice of Asian American women was not as strong (Episode 1). They want to elevate the authentic narrative of Asian American experience by offering the content that focuses on relatable stories such as career, health, dating and everyday life from their cultural perspectives and background. The name Asian Boss Girl was inspired by the initials ABG, a pop culture shorthand for “Asian Baby Girl” that in general has somewhat negative connotations. Because of these negative connotations, the podcast founders wanted to turn that into something positive by replacing the word “baby” with the word “boss”. For this thesis, I have chosen to analyze episodes 22, 29, 30 which will be motivated in further detail in the Methodology chapter.
3. Literature review
This chapter aims to present a review of the previous studies on Asian American representations in media in the United States throughout the years. However, a sole review of literature is deemed inadequate without drawing upon the ongoing developments the media landscape. Thus, this chapter will also address the social, cultural and political complexities in the racial identification Asian American, as well as what have been studied by the existing research studies on the representation of Asian American and Asian diaspora in the media and entertainment industry.
3.1 Asian American identity and its challenges
The identification of Asian American has to date never been without its complications, both in theory and in practice. Its roots can be traced all the way back to how alliances between Asian immigrants and labor organizations as well as other racialized communities were built in the United States (Lopez, 2016, p. 20). In the early 1970s, Asian Americans began organizing to protest racist media imagery and it was where the collective and politicized Asian American identity began to form (Lopez, 2016, p. 19). It was a sense of shared history and circumstances within a foreign country that started to come together under the umbrella of the title “Asian American” among the Asian immigrant families who settled in the United States. Politically, the title was linked to the movements against the Vietnam War, where Asian American identity was bound profoundly to antiracism and anti-imperialism, and Asian Americans were mobilized across the United States (2016, p.20). The mobilizations also reflected the struggles of working-class communities who shared similar struggles with communities in what was known as the Third World (ibid.). Scholar Nazli Kibria (2002) also connects the development of an Asian American identity with integration and assimilation into the dominant culture and society (2002, p.198). Not too far from this compilation of definitions, Kent A. Ono and Vincent Pham (2009) suggest that the term represents those individuals in the United States who experience the collective struggles against political, social and economic oppression (2009, p.9). In other words, the Asian American identity has always been politicized. Additionally, I’d also like to include the work by Lisa Lowe (1991) to the discussion of Asian American identity from the perspective of culture, because it sheds
Asians (1991, p.26), which emphasizes the challenges of attempting to essentialize this demographic in the United States. Lowe dives more deeply into these perpetually changing immigrant cultures within the Asian American discourse to understand their circumstances and histories. The mobilization is crucial argued by Lowe, as it “articulates and empowers our multicultural, multilingual Asian origin community vis-a-vis the institutions and apparatuses that exclude and marginalize us… but it also inadvertently supports the racist discourse that constructs Asians as a homogeneous group, that implies we are “all alike” (1991, p.30). This argument by Lowe is valuable from the intersectionality perspective as well as the way in which it emphasizes the major challenge in this thesis. Stirred away from its roots in countering hegemony and resistance to the status quo i.e. structural inequalities and suppressions, the shift in the definition of Asian American identity occurred as a result of the influx of Asian American professionals and business executives (Lopez, 2016, p.21). As Lopez (2016) points out, understanding the shift would benefit my examination of the salience of the term in today’s context without replacing its meaning. This also helps me pay attention to the complications within the diversity of the communities using the term Asian American as well as those who might not be included. Nonetheless, some still oppose the use of the term due to its including ability. As previously argued, the term Asian American is to date still facing the challenges because of its diverse communities. There are scholars like Kent Ono and Gayatri Spivak who criticize the term for “its failure as a collective assignation” because the larger community is dominated by the minority of its members (Lopez, 2016, p.22). Another essential complexity that cannot be overlooked is the ambiguity of the notions that pushes away many of the community members who do not feel related (Kibria, 2002, p.x). This prompts the question regarding whether Asian American identity, as a cultural designation, simply is about “yellowness” and “brownness”, and its inclusivity. There is an underlying problem such colorism in many Asian communities that can take another direction, but worth mentioning due to the ambiguity in the terminology. This compilation of definitions, questions, and complexities surrounding the Asian American identity is presented to demonstrate the challenges for me as a researcher to establish an umbrella racial identity for these diverse communities. However, giving it the historical, political and social contextualization will be useful when theorizing and analyzing the ABG podcast. This also enables me to situate their content within the Asian American community.
3.2 Representation of Asian diaspora in the United States
Like elsewhere, local diaspora communities in the United States find comfort and maintain their connections to the homelands through various media channels (Hossain & Veenstra, 2017, p.1). Yu Shi (2005) argues that media generate collective diasporic imaginations shared by the individuals of common culture, geography and history, and there is clearly a connection between media and identity construction (2005, p.57). For many communities, being left out from mainstream media in the United States has created feelings of alienation because these individuals cannot relate to the cultural representations offered by the industry (2005, p.64). This experience of Asian diaspora was first depicted in the movie based on Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club. It was released in 1993 providing insights into Asian American culture in the United States, and was the first movie to feature a majority of Asian American cast. The Joy Luck Club could be seen as an instance of the many current contributions toward the new discursive obsession called “ethnicity” (Chow, 1998, p.105). Rey Chow (1998) applied a Foucauldian reading to problematize the narrative of experience of ‘a minority group’. It is an interesting and relevant study to this thesis, as it sheds light on how The Joy Luck Club was classified as an “ethnic film” and to Chow, that classification is regarded as “a repressed truth that awaits liberation” (1998, p.101). From the culture aspect, the narrative of this movie also depicts the common theme in diaspora cultures: “the disruption and distortion of traditional cultural practices” - which poses generational conflict (Lowe, 1991, p.37). From another perspective within the same context, Nancy Wang Yuen (2004) emphasizes that Hollywood is the most influential entertainment hub in the world, but consistently produces misrepresentation of minorities through manufacturing characters based on racial and gender stereotypes (2004, p.252). This resulted in the burden on the actors from minoritized groups, including Asian Americans, to have to embody these stereotypes in the film industry (ibid). Digging deeper into this issue, Yen L. Espiritu (1997) clarifies that the structures in the United States maintain what constitutes as race, gender and class privileges (1997, p.13). These privileges neglect the experiences of the marginalized and disadvantaged from this system, resulting in degrading and delimited representation of Asian Americans in the mainstream media (ibid).
Figure 1. Dr. Fu Manchu performed by Christopher Lee
Apart from the stereotypical representation that has been produced and perpetuated by Hollywood, from the earliest days, Asians were also impersonated and depicted by and through non-Asian eyes, i.e. white people. Well-known characters such as Dr. Fu Manchu (Figure 1) and Charlie Chan were performed by white actors (Fuller, 2010, p.2). Studies by Karla Rae Fuller reiterate that this controversy displays the outcomes of the dominating societal power structures by white people in the United States (Fuller, 2010, p.6). Common stereotypical representations of the people of Asian descent in mainstream media in the past included tropes like the exotic geisha, yellow peril, yellowface and model minority, which confirmed by many scholars still exist in the contemporary media production (Kim, 2013, p.22). Hollywood’s depiction of Asian Americans was not only controversial and degrading, but biases also influenced the selection of content. Since the kung fu and Chinese martial arts craze in the 1970s (Szeto, 2011, p.25), the exposure to people of Asian descent in media was generally poor, particularly if we exclude imported foreign language films such as Ang Lee’s successful epic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000). After The Joy Luck Club, the comedy TV series The Mindy Project (2012) was the first to feature an Indian American female lead (Lopez, 2016, p. 2), and television audiences were offered a different portrayal of Asian Americans. During the same period, in 2015, Fresh off the Boat was created and it was the first sitcom with all Asian American cast since All American Girl in 1994. However, the show received an abundance of criticism due to its name, and how the cast used faked accents (ibid.). In the following years, the exposure to casts of Asian descent and the variety of
representations continued expanding to include movies such as Dr. Ken (2015) and Quantico (2015).
Since its release in 2018, the movie Crazy Rich Asians has been celebrated for providing multidimensionality of Asian American representations (Sugino, 2019). It turned the typical stereotype discourse around by bringing the representations of Asians into the mainstream as opposed to earlier martial arts narratives and a marginalized ethnic genre (ibid). Riding a wave of the shifting discourse, movies and series with Asian leads in the United States are becoming more visible, such as the Netflix production To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018), Always Be My Maybe (2019), and the independent film The Farewell (2019). The attempt to subvert the insufficient narratives and representations of Asians in the United States has been made by other people beyond the film industry. Today online digital media are known to provide a significant space for community involvement where social interactions are mediated, and alternative communities with the same values as the physical communities are created (Rice & Haythornthwaite, 2010, p.9). In amplifying the Asian American experience and bringing about change to media practices, the proliferation of social media platforms has been helpful to Asian Americans (Luther et al., 2017). Hence, the mobilization also occurs on platforms like YouTube where Asian Americans are enabled to create and disseminate their own content including the independent content producersWong Fu Productions, Michelle Phan, Ryan Higa and The Fung Bros (Lopez, 2016, p.143), as well as online magazines e.g. Slant’d, Banana, Mochi and Yolk. The technological advancement certainly has opened up the space for marginalized voices to be heard (ibid), and not the least for the media channels like podcasts. Today there are over 300 podcasts hosted by Asian American presenters within different genres, offering a variety of content related to their cultural backgrounds (AApodcasters). From being excluded from the popular culture in the past where Asian American actors were not allowed to audition for the role of their own race (Lopez, 2016, p.45) to the celebration of commercial success for an all Asian cast (Le & Kand, 2019, p.528), media production in a technological and diverse climate has enabled more ways to counteract traditional imagery of Asian Americans. Notwithstanding that the ABG podcast does not fall under the mainstream media and entertainment industry, its role in shaping the narrative of Asian American experience is yet relevant. In exploring their content
in the context of representation and the impacts they have on their listeners, next chapter will present and discuss the theoretical frameworks.
4. Theoretical framework
To better understand the ways in which the alternative narratives of the Asian American experience are produced by the ABG podcast and how the issues of racial, gender and class dominance intersect in these narratives, this thesis proposes an application of intersectional framework. The theory of media effect has been further applied to examine the effects of the ABG podcast’s narratives have on the listeners. Lastly, the theoretical implications will be discussed.
4.1 Intersectional framework
The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw to describe the interacting forms of identity and oppression (race, class, ability, gender, age etc.) that impacted black women’s experiences at work in the 1990s (Gopaldas, 2013, p.90). Over the years, intersectionality has been widely adopted across disciplines and went beyond the academic realm. Even though the term is utilized within various sectors, its implications in the contemporary social science are still vital. Aristea Fotopoulou (2012) suggests that intersectionality is employed as a systematic approach to study “the ways in which differences such as race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and other socio-political and cultural categories interrelate” (2012, p.19). Intersectionality applies the multiple axes of identity in its analysis (Golpaldas, 2013, p.91) and investigates how these social categories construct each other (Bernhardsson & Bogren, 2012, p.3), which makes it pertinent to this thesis in attempting to gain a better insight into the narrative of Asian American experience provided by the ABG podcast. Furthermore, the usage of an intersectional framework will uncover how the experiences of different groups within the minoritized communities, like Asian Americans, are affected by multiple systems of power in different institutional domains (Hankivsky & Cormier, 2011, p.217), including media. As a result of this, individuals are positioned and subject to advantages and disadvantages in society in accordance to the power structures and hierarchy (Golpaldas, 2013, p.91). Challenging researchers of race and gender studies, intersectionality sheds light on the social positioning of the community members and how they help reproduce unequal social relations within the group (Lutz et al., 2011, p.8). Reconnecting this to the contextualization chapter, people of Asian descent have historically
been portrayed in certain ways in the United States, therefore, the intersectional framework can pave the way for a debate to approach the complex interplay between the disadvantaged and privileged that has forged and perpetuated these portrayals. Even though this thesis does not focus on the impacts of these stereotypes, there is still need for the inclusion of this discussion in order to understand the narratives that appear in the ABG podcast, which extend the representation of Asian Americans in media. Studying cultural stereotypes, I found the work by Negin Ghavami and Anne Peplau Letitia (2012) useful. Firstly, it attempts to highlight the shortcomings of stereotype research studies which have been mostly focusing on a single social identity such as ethnicity or gender, while failing to highlight the intersection between these identities (2012, p.113). The second reason is that Ghavami and Letitia clarify that there are more distinct elements in the stereotypes of ethnic people where the combination of gender and ethnicity lead to specific content (2012, p.114), for example the idea that Asian women are bad drivers. Departing from this, the intersectional framework will therefore direct this thesis when theorizing the ABG podcast’s content from the aspect of Asian American stereotypes that have been affected by the cultural and social structures in the United States in a more comprehensive manner (2012, p.114).
The application of intersectionality as an analytical framework has it owns potential challenges that should be acknowledged. Floya Anthias (2008) presents one of these challenges in her work on the contemporary forms of identity construction, which is relevant to this thesis. There is a risk of seeing people as belonging to fixed ethnic, gender and class groups without paying attention to how these groups are impacted by the situational elements (2008, p.14). In avoiding this, the contextualization chapter sought to provide a background for issues of Asian American representation in the United States media, where the complexities of the racial identity were clarified. The emphasis was also on the multidimensional attributes of this community membership, including the traditional definition. As a feminist analytical framework, some scholars have highlighted the exclusions within this framework. They argue that intersectionality simply fails to connect the everyday life with the theoretical input of political activism as a result of complex intersections, where it remains predominantly white, able-bodied, young and middle-class (Fotopoulou, 2012, p.23-4).
To summarize the chosen theoretical framework, I now will discuss its implications for this thesis. Reiterated by Kimberle Crenshaw (1991), by neglecting the differences within groups could cause tension among the groups (1991, p.1242). By attempting to highlight the unequal social and power relation within the Asian American community, the intersectional framework can direct this thesis in uncovering the so-called racial progress that proliferates from the contemporary multicultural and diverse media era. In the context of representation, one ought to not simplify the specificity of Asian American experiences that are shaped by the interaction of social differentiations (Lutz et al., 2011, p.2). Hence, I have appropriated the analytical questions proposed by Mikkel Mouritz Marfelt (2016) who has developed an analytical framework to approach intersectionality:
- Which social categories are represented and absent?
- Are there any explicit or implicit assumptions about the social categories or about relation among social categories?
- How do these categories support or oppose each other? (Marfelt, 2016, p.41)
As pointed out by Marfelt, these questions needed to be adapted for this thesis with the intention to extract the intersection of race, gender and class from the collected data. This analytical framework can potentially reveal how specific categories are prioritized (ibid).
4.2 The theory of uses and gratifications (U&G)
As this study attempts to understand the position of the ABG podcast within the developments of Asian American representation, an analysis of its content alone may not be efficient enough. Thus, the choice to incorporate media effects theory to address why the ABG podcast is embraced by their listeners and what effects the podcast has upon them. The theory of uses and gratification (U&G) will be applied to establish the theoretical discussion drawing on research studies by Thomas E. Ruggiero (2000) and Paul Haridakis (2013). Historically, the theory of U&G was developed as a subtradition of media effects research to study the gratifications that attract audiences to certain types of media and content (Ruggiero, 2000, p.3). Paul Haridakis (2013) explains that the theory of U&G is “an audience-centered media-effects perspective” that explores the consequences of media use (2013, p.2), and
believes that there are motives behind people’s usage of media, however most effects are unintended (ibid). Moreover, this theory recognizes people as goal-oriented giving the reason that their use of media is to satisfy certain needs (2013, p.3). In the research field, different U&G studies have focused on different parts of this theory such as motives for using media, influences of the circumstances on these motives, and variability of audience activity (2013, p.4). It is worth to mention that this theory has not been employed by the researchers to analyze the effects per se, but rather on the causes and reasons of how media are used (2013, p.10).
Like any other theories, the theory of U&G has its own challenges. Firstly, as it mainly focuses on the individual use of media, it has a tendency to be too individualistic. Added by, Thomas E. Ruggiero (2000), this theory seems to struggle to include societal implications of media use (2000, p.12) which could cause difficulty for researchers to conduct an analysis at a macro level perspective. Another methodological critique towards the theory of U&G is the lack of clarity in its meanings of central concepts which obstructs conceptual development (ibid). With the constantly developing communicative technologies, the traditional communication media theorization of media use is being questioned by various scholars regarding whether the needs are the same (2000, p.14). This is because of the expansion of media forms and content options that media consumers are exposed to, and hence, this development of satisfaction and gratification could be challenging to the traditional audience analysis (ibid). The key assumption of the theory of U&G is still that the audience has the ability to make a conscious choice and connect their gratification with certain type of media channel and content (Ruggiero, 2000, p.26). Thus, the emphasis on the individual differences, social contexts in the audience experience, and the importance of motives and needs, the U&G provides a valuable analytical tool (Haridakis, 2013, p.16). While it aims to explain media consumption, use, and effects through viewing the motives (Haridakis, 2013, p.11) in this digital era, the question “why do people become involved in one particular type of media and what gratifications do they receive from it?” remains the same(Ruggiero, 2000, p.29). As an attempt to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of this topic, the theory of U&G has been chosen as a compliment. This approach will help me understand the effects that the ABG podcast has on their listeners. The following chapter will outline the methodology of this thesis paper.
This chapter aims to provide a thorough presentation of the methodological approaches of this thesis. It is divided into five subsections with the first one (5.1) discussing the research design that has been appropriated for the research objectives. In the following subsection (5.2), the procedure of sampling will be discussed, and in 5.3 a brief presentation of narrative analysis will be given before the questionnaire method together with its background, process and results are presented in 5.4. Lastly, this chapter is ended with ethical considerations in 5.5
5.1 Research design
Here I will provide a discussion of the research design in order to answer these following research questions:
- How does the ABG podcast produce alternative narrative of the Asian American experience?
- In what ways do issues of racial, gender and class dominance intersect in their content?
- What are the effects of these narratives on their listeners?
Nicholas Walliman (2017) asserts that the research design is determined by the research interest and problem, and it is the research design that provides a framework for how data can be collected and analyzed (2017, p.14). It is common to combine more than two types of research designs and each of which involves use of specific types of methods (ibid). For this thesis, the evaluation and cultural research designs are considered the most appropriate. Departing from Walliman’s work (2017), the evaluation research design is intended to investigate complex social issues and try to make sense of the involved contextual elements such as political, social and cultural (2017, p.11). This has been applied to the specific aims of this thesis in uncovering and understanding the impacts the ABG podcast has on its listeners. Consequently, the questionnaire method has been chosen to collect the necessary data to answer the research questions. Nevertheless, the two paradigms according to Gerard Guthrie (2010) of positivism and post-positivism have been treated as mutually exclusive, but over time the use of mixed methods has been increasing in social science research (2010, p.45). It does not necessarily mean that I as a researcher should neglect the existing
methodological viewpoints where researchers approach their data and reach the conclusions using different methodologies (ibid). Using both quantitative and qualitative methods to conduct and analyze the data would rather complement one another as both of which have their respective weaknesses and strengths. Moreover, through the mixed method strategies for social research, the researcher is enabled to gain new insights into the social world (Axinn et.al., 2006, p.1). There are a couple of objectives for conducting a mixed methods research as presented by Walliman (2017), and for this thesis in particular, the main aims are to gain an insights into a phenomenon such as developments of Asian American media while addressing a theoretical perspective at different levels (2017, 169), where a single research design might not be efficient enough. Due to the nature of this research, the methodological strategies to approach and examine the empirical data are qualitative.
Sampling is a significant process, not the least to this present research study, as it is “the selection of a subset of a population for inclusion in a study”, and if done properly and accurately, it can provide valid results that are useful (Daniel 1, 2012, p.1). Besides the objectives of the research study, the sampling should be done in conjunction with other significant choices including research design as it involves the data collection and analysis (2012, p.7). As for this research, the mixed-method research design has been chosen which means that this has implications for how the sampling procedures will be carried out. Throughout the years, the sampling strategies have been adjusted in correspondence to the ongoing modifications of technology, cultures, the legal environment among others (Daniel 2, 2012, p.3), and all of which has different impacts on the research conduction. As previously mentioned, if the sampling procedures done properly, it will save the researcher’s time, effort and other resources all the while bringing the insightful results. Departing from Derek Layder (2013), I have adapted and applied the strategies of problem sampling to this research study’s sampling procedures. Meaning that, the sample does not necessarily represent the population from which it has been selected but it rather reflects the research problems and questions that are the objectives of the examination (Layder, 2013, p.3). These samples will serve as the data for this research because of their relevance and richness that are appropriate for in-depth study. It is noteworthy that problem sampling can be applied to both qualitative and
quantitative research designs (ibid.). The size of the sample was also determined in relation to other components of the research study (Daniel 3, 2012, p.2) as well as to the limitations of resources. However, for the problem sampling, the size is less significant than the richness of the selected cases and the analytical capabilities of the researcher (Layder, 2013, p.14). Considering the scale of this research and limitations of resources, three episodes have been selected for a deep reading and theorizing, which include nos. 22, 29 and 30. The criteria for the selection has been based on their relevance to the objectives of this research. In learning more about the ABG’s perspectives on the development of Asian American representation in media, episode 22 with the title A sian American Women in Media was selected. Simply, the topics that are discussed in this episode shed light on the representation of Asian American women in media, the importance of relatability versus influence, and the impacts that the changes in media landscape have on today’s Asian American women (AsianBossGirl, Episode 22). To prompt questions regarding the ABG’s perspectives on themselves as Asian American, episode 29 with the title Asian Women - Do We Fit the Stereotypes? was selected. It discusses the stereotypes applied to the women of Asian descent and how each of the podcast hosts could relate to them (AsianBossGirl, Episode 29). Lastly, episode 30 was selected, with the title Pursuit of Yappiness, since it interviews with one of the co-founders of the independent Asian American media production company Wong Fu Productions, was selected. The selection of this episode was on the basis of the rich content that reflects their understanding of cultural, social, political and economic complexities within the Asian American community in the United States. From this perspective, they discussed the topics around the model minority myth (AsianBossGirl, Episode 30) which has widely been spread out and perpetuated in media. In order to answer the third research questions regarding the listeners’ responses to the content produced by the ABG, I therefore have come up with strategies for how to collect relevant data but it is noteworthy to mention that the direction of the research will become more apparent as asserted by Layder as the conduction unfolds (ibid). How these strategies have been applied in practice will be presented in detail in the following sections.
5.3 Narrative analysis
Departing from Cigdem Esin (2011), narrative analysis provides a variety of methods to approach stories (2011, p.92). Historically, narrative analysis has developed within two traditions and one of which focus on the linguistic structure and content of narratives, while the other focuses on the act of storytelling and narrative construction (2011, p.92). Esin points out that the definition of “narrative” varies depending on the discipline, but its strength is the same in giving meaning to experience (2011, p.93). Thus, narrative analysis is considered appropriate to approach the narrative of Asian American experience provided by the ABG podcast. In order to make the data analyzable, I transcribed the chosen episodes and have chosen to apply Labov’s model to identify narrative clauses in the stories before choosing the ones that will add value to the analysis and the aims of this thesis. Labov’s structural model offers lens for identifying event narratives from a structural linguistic perspective because it believes that stories are temporally ordered with three different sequences: beginning, middle and end (Frost, 2012, p.10). Moreover, Labov’s model provides means to reduce text and make it identifiable as a narrative which is appropriate to be used as a starting point in the analysis (ibid). In addition to helping the researcher reduce the stretches of text, especially when dealing with a text like podcast that contains unstructured stories, this structural model offers means to identify important narratives in the transcripts as well as to evaluate the content (Esin, 2011,p.107). Since this thesis aims to examine the lived experiences and clarify the meanings of those told in the narratives (ibid), it is crucial to conduct the analysis in a systematic approach, rather than a generic coding procedure in order to establish the underlying themes. The below table shows my development of the elements of story text in this model and questions which it believes all narratives address (Esin, 2011, p.106)
Abstract What was this about?
Orientation Who? When? What? Where?
Complicating Action Then what happened?
Result What finally happened?
Figure 2. Labov’s structural model
By answering these questions, the analysis will be able to reveal narrative clauses in the stories and thereafter their specific meanings that help us gain a better insight into the lived experiences told by the ABG podcast hosts. However, the limitation of the structural model is its inability to pay attention to the historical, social, cultural and political contextualization of the narratives (Esin, 2011, p.206). Thus, I am complementing this method with the holistic content approach proposed by Amia Lieblich, Rivka Tuval-Mashiach and Tamar Zilber (2011). This specific approach sheds light on the themes that emerge from the narrative in relation to its entire context (2011, p.11), which is suitable for my analysis in defining what constitutes the alternative narrative of the Asian American experience by taking the ABG podcast’s history and social, political cultural contexts into consideration.
In order to answer the research questions, the questionnaire method has also been applied to collect data and evidence from the ABG podcast listeners. There are three main aspects that distinguish questionnaire from the survey method because often times, they are associated with one another (Guthrie, 2010, p.129). The three aspects to consider in formulating a questionnaire are general form, question sequence, and question formulation and wording (Kothari, 2004, p.102). Questionnaires can be structured or unstructured, and for the present thesis, the questionnaire was structured which means that the same set of questions was sent to the respondents and questions in the questionnaire were constructed (2004, p.101). According to Gerard Guthrie (2010), there are two main types of questions in the questionnaire: open response and closed response (2010, p.130). Researchers use open-response questions to get comprehensive answers without limiting the respondents. However, these types of questions have a lower level of reliability because different interviewers produce different answers (ibid). While closed-response questions have predetermined options and the choices for answers are restrictive, but more reliable because the questions and answers are fixed (Guthrie, 2010, p.131). For my questionnaire specifically,
I have chosen both types of question formulation sto maximize their strengths in gaining as much valuable data as possible.
Questionnaires as a method are low cost and able to be widely disseminated geographically (Kothari, 2004, p.100). As I used Google Forms to create my questionnaire, at no cost, and the link to it could be shared across different platforms conveniently. Secondly, with questionnaires the respondents can take their time to give answers without feeling stressed out (Kothari, 2004, p.101) and are able to review their answers before submitting the form. Using a digital form with a link also made it convenient for me to reach out to the respondents who otherwise wouldn’t be as easily approachable face to face. The shortcomings of this method are the risks of the questionnaire not being filled out properly upon the return, and therefore the possibility of uncertainty. There is also the issue of bias due to omission and ambiguity in replies is fairly high. Furthermore, the researchers do not have any control over the questionnaire once it is sent and it is difficult to determine whether the responses are representative (ibid). Since the respondents are allowed to edit and take their time in giving answers, the results might not be as spontaneous.
5.4.1 Data collection
After reviewing the research questions and aims, the data collection process started with selecting the most relevant and interesting episodes of the ABG podcasts for creating an online questionnaire on Google Forms (Figure 3). The questionnaire was divided into 6 sections with 18 questions in total (Appendix 1). Each section was dedicated to different purposes and consisted of both open-response, closed-response questions and multiple choice. Section 1 and 2 were intended to obtain general information about the respondents and their contact with the podcast, while the questions in section 3 were specified and related to the topics discussed in episodes 22, 29 and 30 of ABG. Section 4 contained questions to find out about the respondents’ general attitude towards the podcast in relation to the developments of Asian American representation in media, as well as the discussed topics. The intention behind section 5 was to explore the possibility of the listeners listening to other podcasts hosted by Asian American presenters, and in section 6, the respondents were allowed to add their own remarks. In the very beginning, the respondents were informed of
the aim of this questionnaire and that they would stay anonymous but have the chance to leave their email in case they were interested in receiving the results.
Figure 3. Questionnaire
The questionnaire was reviewed by my thesis supervisor before being shared in two Facebook groups (Asian Creative Network and Subtle Asian Women) and on my personal Instagram account. The questionnaire was made available for one week before I stopped collecting responses. However, there were some challenges I encountered during the process which will be addressed later on in the section on ethical considerations (4.5). Applying the problem sampling strategies that were presented previously (4.2), it was a conscious choice to look for respondents in the Facebook Group Asian Creative Network (hereafter ACN) where the group members consist of people with an interest or pursue in the creative, media and/or entertainment field. As described by the group founders, ACN “strives to inspire and elevate Asian creatives who want to explore and pursue their creative passions” (The Asian Creative Network, 2020). Since I have access to this group, I created a post recruiting respondents for my questionnaire and submitted it on March 5, 2020. However, the post was not approved by the admins until March 9, 2020 (Figure). In an attempt to reach out to more possible respondents, I created another post for the Facebook Group Subtle Asian Women which is an international group for women of Asian descent to connect, voice their worries, and share their experiences (Subtle Asian Women, 2020). The post was discarded on the basis of one of the rules not allowing self-promotion. Going back to Derek Layder (2013), before carrying out this data collection, I was aware of the impossibility to include everyone in the research
represent the population in the study parameters (2013, p. 13). Considering the scale of the present research study, it was also a strategy to recruit the respondents using these approaches instead of, for instance, sending a direct message to the followers of the ABG podcast on Instagram or contacting the ABG podcast hosts and asking for their assistance to promote. I believed that I’d be able to collect a more nuanced set of data by reaching out on those platforms. Lastly, as further asserted by Layder, the sampling was terminated after a week because there did not yield any new insights in the responses which made it appropriate to stop the data collection process (2013, 14).
After one week of sampling relevant data, the questionnaire was filled out by twelve respondents, ten of which identified themselves as female while the other two as male. Three respondents are over 30 years old; one is between 28-30, one is between 20-23 and the rest is between 24-27 (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Graph excerpted from the questionnaire shows the ages of the respondents
Asking demographic questions such as gender and age provides the basic data for the analysis, and allows the researcher to identify the target audience of the podcast when examining the applied communications strategies. It is noteworthy to mention that the questionnaire did not specifically ask the ethnicity of the respondents as the aim of this research is not to create statistics based on such data nor is the research scale big enough to do so. The number of data collected may seem too insufficient to draw any generalization. However, due to the nature and purposes of this research design, the sampling places a bigger significance on the relevance of data rather than the size. The results of questionnaire has also shown that, the bigger number of respondents does not necessarily mean a wider variety of valuable insights for this thesis. For an example, for the optimal utilization of this data, the analysis intentionally excludes responses by Respondent 2 due to lack of relevance and
values. This leads us back to the discussion on the sampling strategies in 5.2, where I argued that the data is collected in correspondence to the aims of this thesis and not to represent the population from which it has been selected. Furthermore, the questionnaire was designed to ask more open-ended questions for acquiring in-depth knowledge, and therefore, the scope of this thesis is unable to account for management of a bigger number of respondents. The questionnaire has provided some insightful and relevant data for the analysis, but there are methodological concerns that should be addressed. In the following section, I will introduce the ethical considerations in carrying out this research.
5.5 Ethical considerations and limitations
Every research study has its own ethical dilemmas and limitations, and therefore, it is important for me as a researcher to acknowledge and take them into consideration in the process of conducting my research. Regardless of the type of research, there are concerns according to Sharan B. Merriam and Elizabeth J. Tisdell (2016) regarding ensuring validity and reliability, and establishing trustworthiness of the study is crucial (2016, p.237). Ethical practices should be involved in every step from the conceptualization to data collection, analysis, interpretation and the presentation of the findings (2016, p.238). Understanding the nature of the chosen research design is also important. Each research design is based on different assumptions about the investigation and research questions (ibid). Throughout the years, there have been theoretical debates on the consensus among the research scholars to what counts as appropriate criteria for validity and reliability in qualitative research. For instance, research questions and worldview should be congruent with the philosophical in order to secure the trustworthiness (2016, p.239), while some place a great emphasis on transparency and the researcher's stance and contribution (2016, p.240). For this research, I have been proceeding on the basis of transparency and explaining the purpose of objectives and contribution to the field of this research as well as the chosen methodological approaches.
Certain concerns do emerge in the procedures of data collection. Since the internet has many times become the main resource for qualitative research studies, working with online data sources requires special observations. First of all, Internet is a contingent landscape in
constant development which means that data such as responses on social media or user generated content can be short-lived (2016, p.184). Meaning that the available data can be taken down at anytime which definitely will have impacts on the research. As widely as the internet helps the research expand its accessibility to useful information, assessment of the authenticity of the data sources is still important (2016, p.186). In attending this aspect, the data I have collected for the analysis has been retrieved from verified websites. Giving an example to this, the information about ABG podcast is available on their website and social media channels. The podcast episodes are also accessed throughApple Podcast and Spotify. It is worthy to mention that I started gathering data and relevant information for this research in February and in the beginning of March which means that any changes which took place after that will not be included. On April 16, the ABG podcast released its 60th episode announcing that the hosts had quite their full-time positions on the show, and explained how this has affected the podcast format. Unfortunately, this episode cannot be reviewed.
It is one of the basic ethical principles in research that before embarking on data collection, the autonomy of the participants or respondents must be respected and protected (Guest et.al., 2017, p.2). Collecting data through questionnaire prompted concern about informed consent. As a concept, informed consent is based on information, comprehension and voluntariness (2017, p.9). All the respondents were informed of the objectives of the questionnaire and the research, and everything was communicated in writing. They stayed anonymous but had the opportunity to leave their email address if they would be interested in keeping contact for the questionnaire results. Anonymity was addressed right in the introduction of the questionnaire. Lastly, all respondents participated in the questionnaire voluntarily. This was assured through the approach of disseminating the questionnaire in Facebook Groups and on Instagram.
Another important concern is the researcher’s position and reflexivity (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016, p.249).The researchers should be able to position themselves in their studies and clarify among other things their theoretical orientation, worldview and experiences, because all of which will be reflected in how the interpret their data as well as how they arrive to their conclusions (ibid). Not only would this support the authenticity of the research, but also such clarification would secure its validity and reliability. From early on, I clarified my purposes of this research which is based on personal interest. As a person of Southeast Asian descent
growing up with the Western mainstream media, issues of representation, identity and community encouraged me to work with the ABG podcast and development of Asian American representations in media. This research study is my attempt to contribute to the overarching discussion that stemmed from the increasing exposure to diversity in the media entertainment industry. Furthermore, the issue of language and terminology of Asian American was also an important ethical consideration that I had to address. As a result of my position in this thesis, I relied on the existing studies and collected data in contextualizing and theorizing the term Asian American identity.
Following the process of making the collected data analyzable, this chapter is divided into four sections to; firstly examine the narratives of Asian American experience in episode 22, 29 and 30; secondly identify the emerging themes from the previous stage; thereafter conduct an in-depth reading from the intersectional framework; and lastly, present the results from the questionnaire using the theory of U&G. It is worth noting that due to the scale of the research, the procedure of identifying themes across the collected data is limited to the objective of this thesis which is to explore the unexplored area in the research field of media and communications drawing upon the previous studies. On the other hand, it is crucial to be self-reflexive as a researcher. I am aware of my subjectivity as a listener of this podcast and an outsider (a person of Southeast Asian descent being raised in Sweden) that might have influenced the process of data interpretation and analysis. However, based on this acknowledgement and limitations of the thesis, a proposal for further studies will be presented in the conclusion chapter.
6.1 Analyzing the ABG podcast for key narratives: Ep. 22, 29 and 30
This section of the analysis will appropriate Labov’s model (Esin, 2011) to identify the elements of the stories that are related to the Asian American experience in the transcription of episode 22, 29 and 30. Following that order, there are three separate parts for each episode consisting of 10 selected stories with identifiable narratives that are valuable to the thesis. These stories were selected after rounds of thorough reviews of transcriptions and applying Labov’s structural approach to look for stories with the sequence of phrases that indicate ‘beginning, middle and end’ (Frost, 2009, p.10).
6.1.1 Episode 22: On Role models and relatability
In this episode, Helen, Janet and Melody discuss the insufficient representation of Asian American women in media while growing up. Helen started off by sharing her story of encountering one of their listeners at the after party of the Crazy Rich Asian movie release. Reflecting on the situation, she stated that it occurred to her that the ABG podcast influences their listeners “in a way that they are not getting out of their own lives”. She positioned them
as “older sisters” and their listeners as “these young girls”. Connecting this encounter to the theme of their discussion, Helen proceeded the presentation of the main topic of this episode, which is the Asian American women who influenced them (Appendix 2).
Abstract I remember Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan were in Winter Olympics as ice skaters
Orientation And my parents focused on Michelle Kwan a lot because she was not only Chinese but she went to UCLA, so she was a local person
Complicating Action I danced when I was growing up so I felt somewhat of relatability in that sense
Evaluation But even then, Olympic people are not people that you find like, oh i see myself in them
Result So even then she was influential but it wasn't super relatable
Janet began this story by reminiscing the way in which her parents could relate to an Asian American Olympics ice skater at the the time, who became a role model (Appendix 2). This story emphasizes the relatability specifically towards Michelle Kwan who she describes as a local person. It signifies the personal connection because Kwan went to UCLA and is Chinese American and Janet (the host) was borned and raised in California, and she is also Chinese American. In addition to these external connections, Janet added another layer of identification through her interest as a kid in dancing. Even though she did not grow up ice-skating, her interest was close enough to make her feel somewhat connected to Kwan. However, Michelle Kwan was to her an influential figure because she was part of the Olympics but also not relatable enough that Janet could emulate her ambitions and other attributes to her own.
Abstract I feel like when we were younger, we’d just take whatever was given to us
Orientation We’re not looking for these Asian influencers because we didn’t even know that that was a thing
Evaluation If we had like a slew of Asian influencers out there
Evaluation Then we would be like “oh that is so cool, and I want to relate to them or I want to seek them out more”
Complicating Action Because we didn’t even have that
Result We just took like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera
Helen’s story explains the reason to why minoritized groups can sometimes lack the ability or confidence to question the social milieu that they are in; and therefore the power to influence (Appendix 2). It provides another perspective on how the lack of Asian representation in the United States media reinforced their interests and aspirations when they were younger. Not being able to choose what they wanted to or would be able to be exposed to (i.e. more diversity), they resorted to white celebrities. Even though both stories shed light on relatability in media during the hosts’ teenage years, this story differs from Janet’s local hero, in the sense that the limited exposure in media caused these effects on their decisions they made about who they look up to. This story contributes to the overall understanding of the Asian American experience, and significant narratives such as this one emerged from the transcript through this structural model (Esin, 2011, p.106-7).
Abstract I always wished that I had an older sister growing up
Orientation Someone I looked up to growing up was someone in choir
Evaluation because I saw myself in her
Complicating Action I kinda called her the elevated version of myself
Result The way she handles work is something that I want to be able to handle it in the way she does
This story was shared by Melody to express her feeling of wanting to have an older sister to look up to. Leading up to this story, they were discussing the lack of Asians in media, there was no one that they could feel related to growing up, thus, they would latch on the people in their surroundings (Appendix 4). However, since Melody does not have an older sister, she chose to look up to a person in the choir that she was a part of. Not only could she see herself in this person, she even wanted to emulate the qualities of this person. The analysis discovers the evaluation clauses where the narrator presents her perspective on the event (Esin, 2011, p.106). Melody reports the action that reveals her emotions, and seeing herself in this person is therefore the point mediated in this story. To summarize, as they could not find their role models in media, they organically looked for those qualities in the people in their life with whom they felt they could relate to, and also shared some similarities. Throughout their discussion on the lack of Asian American representation, their experiences the thematic of relatability continued to reoccur. Therefore, I have chosen the sections of the podcast transcript that contain such stories from three different perspectives.
6.1.2 Episode 29: Assimilation and subversion
Janet, Helen and Melody were sharing their takes on the stereotypes projected on Asian American women in this episode. The discussion was opened up with a definition of stereotype taken from the Internet, to create a common understanding of what counts as stereotypes and not. Since the episode was divided into three main categories; stereotypes of Asian women, stereotypes of their professions, and stereotypes of the cities they were growing up in, this section will analyze three stories, one from each category.