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Celine Parreñas Shimizu works as a filmmaker and film scholar and is professor in the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her first book, The Hypersexuality of Race: Performing Asian/American on Screen and Scene won the Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies in 2009, and her second book is Straitjacket Sexualities: Unbinding Asian American Manhoods in the Movies. Recently, her first feature film, Birthright: Mothering Across Difference, won the Best Feature Documentary at the Big Mini DV Festival. She teaches popular culture, social theories of power and inequality, race and sexuality, and film and performance theory and production. She is currently at work on her new film, Stoop Labor. For more, see www.celineshimizu .com. I n the now classic 1989 essay “Looking For My Penis,” Richard Fung identifies the predominance of Asian men performing as bottoms in gay porn.1 While critic/filmmaker Hoang Tan Nguyen’s work critiques the rendering of the bottom as undesirable, as if lacking power,2 Richard Fung’s work captures a critique that I call “straitjacket sexuality” which I define in my recent book as constrained definitions of sex that privilege norms and limit our understanding of the diversities of sexuality. That is, when Fung critiques the lack of a wide range of representations for Asian men in western pornography, his point shows us how such a limited scope acts like a chokehold on the sexual possibilities available to Asian men not only in pornographic imagery, but on the horizon of representations we can further imagine. Aggravating the problem of limited Asian male representations in pornography, antipornography scholars like Melissa Farley present the representations of racialized subjects as the ultimate manifestation of pornography’s victimizing power.3 Supposedly , the kind of sex scenes featuring people of color in pornography damages and destroys subjects already assaulted by racial inequality Bound by Expectation: The Racialized Sexuality of Porn Star Keni Styles Celine Parreñas Shimizu in scenes of everyday life. Unlike Farley’s logics that simply declare the racism of pornography as matter-of-fact, Fung’s writing and video work describe how pornography and explicit representations can illuminate ongoing struggles around racialized sexualities. His work Steam Clean (1990) educates and humanizes, especially in times like the 1980s and 90s, the AIDS crisis. And in Orientations (1986) and Chinese Characters (1990) the method of multiple perspectives is crucial in representing a wide range of identities under the categories of queer and Asian. He makes sure to represent a number of characters so that each presents a network of identities who define themselves from multiple angles. His method ensures how specific members of Asian American gay, lesbian, transgender, or queer communities disseminate the diversity of their desires, practices, and identities. Using open-ended questions, Fung’s subjects not only speak for themselves in describing their sexual experiences , but understand and theorize their particular actions and their significance for themselves and in relation to others. Pornography, like other media technologies, can be deployed by people of color to represent themselves as sexual subjects—who can own their desires and learn something about themselves. Rather than defining sexual representations as manifestations of racism, filmmakers of color like Fung do so within a framework of subjects-in-struggle, who engage sexuality as a process while making their own images. That is, they use media in an attempt to understand their sexualities within and against imposed definitions and established ideas about their racial identities. To use Michel Foucault’s words, “how people actually conceive themselves and their sexual behavior” is what we see carefully set up and drawn out in methods that don’t already assume the meanings of racialized sexuality.4 Taking Richard Fung’s approach—the power of talking through one’s representations to make sense of one’s struggles with sexuality and race, I evaluate the impact of Keni Styles, widely regarded as the first Asian heterosexual male performer in the US pornography industry. He has received more than a dozen award nominations (including Male Performer of the Year in 2011 by AVN and the Urban X Awards) and won Best Male Newcomer at the UK Adult Film Awards in 2006 and Male Acting Performance of the Year at the XBIZ Awards in 2011, which illustrates not only Keni Styles’s popularity, but his ability to cross geographic borders. Fascinating about Keni Styles is a Thai and British masculinity or an Asian masculinity that...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781558618190
Related ISBN
9781558618183
MARC Record
OCLC
828140733
Pages
432
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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