Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kelly Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yao Sun, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Roxanne Watson, Ed.D.


agenda setting, American, framing, representation, traits


This is a triangulated two-part study with a quasi-experiment design. Study Part 1 performed a textual analysis supported by the theory of framing on the films Crazy Rich Asians, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Always Be My Maybe, and To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You to find commonalities among portrayals of prominent East Asian male characters. Using Wong et. al’s findings of common perceived stereotypes by Asian American males, the author used the six traits defined by Wong et. al as a base to see if the films corresponded to or deviated from the stereotypes defined in the 2012 study. The researcher found six new traits that were commonalities portrayed among prominent East Asian male characters. These were Materialstic qualities, Subordinate Traits, Hyper-sexualized Tendencies, Flattering physical attributes, Social adequacies, and Sexual/Romantic adequacies. In addition, the author found that all seven of the traits defined in Wong et. al’s study, Interpersonal deficits, Unflattering physical attributes, Sexual/Romantic inadequacies, Intense diligence, Physical ability distortions, Intelligence, and Perpetual foreigner, were also portrayed as commonalities among characters (2012).

Study part two uses the foundation of second-level agenda setting driven by framing and Edward Said’s concept of orientalism (1979) to perform an exploratory study of traits about Asian men believed by participants and perpetuated by modern cinema. Firstly, the study revealed listed characteristics which statistically combined into seven traits regarding beliefs about Asian males. The study also revealed that exposure to media portrayals of Asian males in modern cinema led to stronger perceptions of Asian men having Materialistic qualities, Physical adequacies, Intense diligence, and Social adequacies, as well as a decrease in beliefs of Asian men having General unattractive attributes. Additionally, the study revealed that among all participants, interactions with Asian males (AMIS) had a palpable effect on believed traits about Asian males, however, AMIS did not mediate traits perceived after media exposure. When participants had been exposed to more modern cinema, where AMIS increased, the belief of Asian males having more Physical adequacies decreased, revealing that the mainstream cinema mediated how viewers perceived Asian males more than their AMIS.