Everything Everywhere All at Once: Asian-Women Representation

Image Source: @michelleyeoh_official on Instagram

On March 12, 2023, Michelle Yeoh broke down barriers by being the first Asian woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her outstanding performance in Everywhere Everything All at Once. In Everything Everywhere All at Once, Michelle Yeoh plays Evelyn Quan Wang, a middle-aged Chinese American immigrant who warps into inter-dimensional turmoil and goes on an epic adventure to keep the balance of the universe in place through the use of her newfound powers. Cinema is a patriarchal line of work, and the result is portraying women in the eyes of men, creating sexist and completely false representations of what being a woman truly means in this world. 

Sexism is an obstacle that women in cinema have combated for centuries by enforcing gender equality regulations, and yet, it is evident that sexism is present. One example is older women being rejected in roles due to the demand for younger-looking women on screen due to movies being catered to the pleasure of men. This establishes the idea that the older a woman becomes, the less they are sexually attractive, and this develops disadvantages for older actresses to be cast in romantic lead roles. 

Furthermore, women in the media are portrayed as victims who are incapable of being as powerful and heroic as men. Women of all ages are shown to be physically vulnerable, powerful, and submissive compared to their male counterparts. These feminine gender roles are traditional stereotypes that hinder the true prowess of the capabilities of a woman’s intelligence and physical strength. 

Furthermore, for Asians, there is a group struggle with generational trauma. One generation transfers insecurities to the next because of cultural expectations, creating a continuous cycle of stressors and anxiety. Michelle Yeoh is an individual who is the embodiment of these minority groups and is being recognized as an inspiration for starring in a film that focuses on healing generational trauma and empowering women, especially those who are older, in an action superhero role. Today, female empowerment continues to progress along with diverse representation. As March comes to an end, this was a monumental day for National Women’s History Month!