p.p1 the Middle East area, the theory

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Although his research mainly focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East area, the theory can also be used to explain the orientalist and imperialist stereotypes towards Asian culture and Asian people. In the case of this film, a specific group: the Asian female. France and the rest of “the Western world perceive Asian cultures as submissive, wanting — even hoping — to be dominated by a powerful foreign nation”, thus Chinese women are considered to be unquestionably devoted to their men. (Bradford). The gender stereotype of Asian people is just one of the reflections of the orientalist perceptions.
Hwang mentions that one of the inspirations of M. Butterfly is the famous Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly (“Foreword”), which creates a precedent for such archetype of the stereotyped Asian female. The opera tells the story of Cio-Cio-San who is a Japanese geisha  “who has given up everything—her religion, her family, her son, and finally her own life—to be with Pinkerton”, the American officer (Park). Cio-Cio-San is an image of beautiful, gentle, and graceful young little woman in the opera, and it is not the only work describing Asian female in that way. From Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly to the film like Sayonara (1957), we can find a long list stereotyping Asian women as “lotus blossom, geisha girl, china doll, or Suzie Wong” (Wen and Chen 644–645). Asian female is depicted as submissive, willing to be dominated and willing to sacrifice for their husbands. However, it is essential to emphasize that these images are created by the Westerners, they are how the West perceives the Orient.
In the film, the stereotype of Asian women is demonstrated as the fantasy of “Butterfly”. Hwang reveals the true meaning behind the Orientalist fantasy by Song’s mouth and stands on the point of view of the Asian to ridicule this illusion. When Gallimard said to Song that he thinks the opera Madame Butterfly is very beautiful, Song responds to Gallimard in a sarcastic tone, 


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