Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Bruce Lee Porn Parody Star Keni Styles Breaks Asian Male Stereotypes

Bruce Lee might well be turning over in his grave to the news that they’ve finally gotten around to doing a porn parody of him.

That’s right, Bruce Lee XXX: A Porn Parody is set to be released on July 20, the anniversary of the martial arts star’s death in 1973. The adult video will star Keni Styles, a Thai import via Great Britain who’s the only Asian male starring in straight porn movies produced by a major studio in the United States

At least a white actor hasn’t been cast to play Lee, which wouldn’t have been a surprise because in porn size does matter, and the overarching stereotype is that Asian guys don’t measure up. There are very few Asian American men starring on mainstream TV and movies, but in straight porn, they were totally missing in action until Styles came along.

Having a heterosexual Asian-male porn star could be construed as a sign that some of those stereotypes are falling by the wayside. In some ways it’s also an affirmation or a reclamation of the masculinity of Asian American men.

This is Asian American studies professor Darrell Hamamoto’s theory, and he produced a short porn film with an Asian American male and female couple to try and prove his point. (See my story on Salon.com. No photos but content might be NSFW.) A few other Asian American men have made some inroads (Asian men are common in gay porn, more fodder for stereotyping), but Styles is the first to make it big, so to speak, in straight porn.

The image of Asian males in American society has been discussed and dissected for years, and I’ve done my fair share. But no porn movie is going to make the myriad of racial and sexual stereotypes about Asian American men and women go away. Styles probably is on track with what he said in Jeff Yang’s Asian Pop story:

"I often interact a lot with Asian American guys in online forums, talking about the issues they face. And many of them really feel hard done by American culture -- they feel unattractive, they feel defeated. While I have a lot of empathy, there's a sense in which this is self-inflicted. I didn't grow up in the States; I don't know first-hand what they've been through. But I can say, I didn't have an easy street of it myself, and you know, I've overcome."

Styles seems to be exuding confidence and living life to the fullest. There’s no reason why all Asian American men can’t do the same ... even if they don't want to be porn stars.

 

6 comments

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Anonymous wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

White female here. No

White female here. No disrespect to Bruce Lee but anything that shows more Asian males in the adult movie industry...and not doing gay male sex..is fine with me. I love Asian men, This has always been my sexual preference and it's about f*ing time these men were acknowledged as sexual beings

Anonymous wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Jeff Yang is a tool/troll

Jeff Yang is a tool/troll because he attacks Jon Gosselin's "half-Korean" side, but, conveniently, does not blame Gosselin's half-white side (French, Irish, and Welsh) for Gosselin's shortcomings. For example, Jeff Yang could have easily written that Jon Gosselin's small penis was a result of The Irish Curse.

Seng wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

demasculation not emasculation

No knock on Keni or other sex workers for choosing their jobs and living their lives they way they want, or on the porn industry for fulfilling market demands, but I just don't see becoming the gender ideal that mainstream porn promotes as much of a victory for minorities everywhere (really just minority diaspora, probably just in the USA). Personally, I'm more alienated by the gender polarity than the lack of people vaguely like me in porn, but then, when I've been with someone who "fucks like a pornstar", I've considered it an experience that I'd rather not repeat so take my opinion on sexy with a grain of salt. Is it that there's interracial action and Asian American guys feel empowered when they see one of the "brothers" get with a non-Asian girl? Cuz otherwise there is plenty of straight Asian/Asian porn, though I understand how distracting it can be sometimes to read the subtitles or how embarassing it must be when the border patrol officer pulls the digital files out of your virtual bag after a trip around the www. "Seng" is my actual name, btw.

SHUT UP "SENG" wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

"Seng" is obviously a troll,

"Seng" is obviously a troll, IGNORE HIM AND HIS COMMENTS. Keni is paving the way to change the MOST INSULTING, EMASCULATING STEREOTYPE/STIGMA ever devised against East Asian Men, and you know what? BRUCE LEE WOULD BE PROUD, as he was always about uplifting the ASIAN PRIDE AND HONOR OF HIS PEOPLE! ROCK THIS OUT THE PARK, KENI STYLES!

Anonymous wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Women watch porn too!! I love

Women watch porn too!! I love Keni!!!

Seng wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

no facials, please

If Asian guys see this as a step forward, I think it reinforces Styles' assertion that the body-image is self-inflicted since it's typically young men who watch porn, not their potential sexual partners. Somehow, a buffed out, ex-military boxer still looks pretty much like any other porn body, especially with the ubiquity of sunlight and tanning booths in the San Fernando Valley. I mean, who really wants to see more shots of the guy, especially his face, in straight porn?

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About The Author

Harry Mok

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.

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