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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Miss Saigon: The Asian Experience in the Perspective of the White Man


Stuart Hall defines stereotyping as a way in which mediamakers separate and excludegroups of people, a hegemonic practice that works to maintain a social order (Hall, 1997). Theproducers and writers of the musical film Miss Saigon aim to show a tragic love story between aVietnamese woman and a white GI soldier during the Vietnam War; however, the mediamaker’snarrow perspective on the war causes the musical to feel limited in showing and understandingvarious experiences of Asian immigration. While mediamakers believe that Miss Saigonencourages Asian representation, by framing the immigrant experience through the perspectiveof white male producers, the musical film depicts Asians as exotic and inferior and createslasting stereotypes. This form of “othering” creates and maintains fixed differences between the“insiders” and “outsiders” as the experiences of minorities are told by people in positions ofpower.

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