Earlier this week, I was watching the new tv-series The Gifted. I might write a review on the first season once it’s finished so I won’t go into it too much here. The Gifted in a nutshell: it’s set in the X-Men universe, but without any actual X-Men. The mutants in The Gifted are on the run from the government. One of those mutants is Blink (Jamie Chung). Blink can open portals at will and she’s a very interesting character. And I noticed a recurring television trope happening here: giving the cool/kickass/tough Asian girl coloured hair. Hollywood, please stop.
Here’s the definition of a trope from Mirriam-Webster, for those of you not into the lingo:
A common or overused theme or device
Tropes aren’t necessarily bad. There’s the ‘will they/won’t they’ which happens in almost every romantic story. Or the ‘asshole/bad guy with a heart of gold’ which wins over audiences almost every time. And horrorfilms are always filled to the brim with tropes. Jump scares; abandoned/creepy places; death by sex; the final girl. And that’s fine, they make horrormovies fun (most of the time). On a totally unrelated sidenote: the book Final Girls is on my tbr-list and you can guess where author Riley Sagar got his title from.
Purple, blue and green locks
But back to Blink and the coloured hair. This is a trope that’s stupid and might even be a bit racist. Why do Asian girls/women need coloured streaks in their hair? And it’s always the cool chicks, the tough cookies and the fighthers who get streaks of purple, blue or green in their hair. Is it to proof these women are indeed badass? But why don’t white women get as many coloured streaks then? I’ve never seen ScarJo with purple locks. (And yes, I am aware Blink has purple hair in the comics, but the entire woman is purple in the comics. Not just her hair. So there.)
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me help you out. You must have seen one of these ladies on the big or small screen:
From left to right: Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) from Pacific Rim; Psylocke (Olivia Munn) from X-Men: Apocalypse; Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; GoGo Tomago (voiced by, there she is again, Jamie Chung).
But these are just four women, I hear you say. Well… I could go on for a while…
From left to right: Blink (yes, the same character, this time played by Fan Bingbing) from X-Men: Days of Future Past; Yukio (Rila Fukushima) from The Wolverine; Sonmi-451 (Bae Doona) from Cloud Atlas; Akima Kunimoto (voiced by Drew Barrymore) from Titan A.E.
Stop with the coloured streaks trope
And while there’s nothing at all wrong with coloured streaks in your hair (I had purple and blue ones myself), or brightly coloured hair in general, this trope makes no sense and has to stop. Asian girls and women can be as badass without any colour in their hair. They don’t have to stand out in a crowd, we can see them just fine, with them being totally cool and all. Make the roles speak for themselves, and don’t use this stupid trope ever again. I hope Blink at least gets a decent storyline on The Gifted, as actress Jamie Chung portrays her in a very cool way.
I’m still not sure if I like the show itself or not though, but we’ll just have to wait and see. If you want to read more on the crazy world of (television) tropes, go to this website. What trope do you think is just too stupid? And what tropes do you actually like?