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    Why It Was Important For Asian-American Fans To Meet Marvel's Shang-Chi On The Big Screen First

    “Sure, I'm never going to be a magical kung fu master, but if I grew up with a character like Shang-Chi, I could imagine…’Oh, I could do whatever it is I want to set my mind to.’ And that's a very powerful message.”

    On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

    Listen on the iHeartRadio appApple PodcastsSpotify, or Google Podcasts. You can also find BuzzFeed Daily wherever else you might listen to your favorite podcasts!

    So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to Inverse's Eric Francisco about Asian-American representation in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the origins of the character. Here's some of what we learned:

    BuzzFeed Daily: First off, I just want your immediate reaction to the film. What did you think of it?

    Simu Liu and Awkwafina in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
    Marvel

    Eric Francisco: Oh, it was fantastic. To my eyes, it was the kind of knock-them-down Hollywood martial arts movies we haven't seen in a very long time. You know, back in the 2000s, there was a string of Hollywood-made Jet Li movies, Jackie Chan movies. They kind of vanished as Marvel and John Wick kind of took over. Shang-Chi felt like a real throwback to that era, independent of the representation that's on the screen.

    I just thought the movie was a good time. It was reminiscent of all the best superhero movies. I'm a huge superhero nerd. I still hold like Richard Donner's Superman to like high regard. I thought Shang-Chi is like on par with SupermanDark Knight, Black Panther. Yeah, it's just a great time, man.

    BuzzFeed Daily: You mentioned yourself that you are a superhero comic book nerd. So was this something that you would actually been waiting for, a film starring an Asian lead?

    Simu Liu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
    Marvel

    EF: Absolutely. For a very, very long time. You know, you hear this a lot from POC pop culture-lovers. You know, we love all the heroes — Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker. But like, it was hard to relate to those characters because they often don't look like us. And there is something to be said about seeing a version of yourself that you can kind of idealize for yourself. Sure, I'm never going to be a magical kung fu master, but if I grew up with a character like Shang-Chi, I could imagine for myself, Oh, I could do whatever it is I want to set my mind to. And that's a very powerful message. And it's important that people of all stripes grow up seeing those images.

    So, yes, you know, growing up when I was a kid, I had very few comic book heroes I could look up to. I mean, obviously, every kid loves Spider-Man, and the reason is: Because of that mask, you could imagine yourself a little more easily than anyone else. Before that, though, I think the one superhero I imbued so much passion into was Adam from Power Rangers. He was the Asian Black Ranger, one of the few examples of like a heroic Asian lead and an a superhero thing. But other than that, I grew up with very little. I didn't discover martial arts movies until much later when I was a teenager, but even then, they're not superheroes — they're just awesome dudes. But as far as like crime fighters and saving the world, you know, that was very hard to get for a long, long time. And then but now now we have an embarrassment of riches. We have Shang-Chi, we had Snake Eyes earlier, and there's going to be more in the way.

    BuzzFeed Daily: Something that's super huge is that this film is not out on Disney+ right now — it's only been released exclusively in theaters. Why was it so important for the film's supporters that this happened?

    Simu Liu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
    Marvel

    EF: Yeah, it mattered that we met Shang-Chi on the big screen. You can make arguments here or there, but the implicit message was that Shang-Chi is important — this is an important character for a lot of people. And the fact that if he doesn't come out exclusively on the big screen, there is an implicit — whether deserved or not — there's an implicit message that this character matters less than the other Avengers that you came to know and love. You can dispute that. That's totally within your right, especially right now. The pandemic continues to be a very problematic thing, obviously, but I can't help but kind of nod my head at what [Shang-Chi screenwriter David Callaham] said to me, which is, yes, it matters that there's a generation of diverse audiences, Asian-Americans included, that see this hero on the big screen where they also fell in love with all of their other favorite heroes, too.

    And again, Callaham made sure not to disparage anyone doing anything for streaming because...we're in a transition period in Hollywood where it matters less how audiences access things, but in some ways that still does matter how how you meet characters and how you meet narratives for the first time and again, there's a lot of exciting characters coming down the pipeline. I'm so excited for Moon Night, I'm so excited for Hawkeye, I'm so excited for Miss Marvel, especially. But it really did matter that we meet Shang-Chi on the big screen now.

    Zendaya recently shared that she has so much anxiety about her finances it’s become a frequent topic of discussion with her therapist.

    TikTok user @phaithmontoya used a new trend to point out how people have been conditioned to think plus-size women shouldn’t wear tight-fitting clothing.

    Still from a @phaithmontoya TikTok of her holding up a dress with the caption: "I can't wear tight/short dresses like this because my boobs and body being bigger makes everything look inappropriate."
    @phaithmontoya / TikTok / Via tiktok.com

    In the video, she first says: "I can't wear tight/short dresses like this because my boobs and body being bigger makes everything look inappropriate." She then plays another person asking, "Who told you that?" at which point the realization about how bogus the discrimination is sets in.

    Comments started rolling in from other plus-sized women who felt they had to be careful about what they wear too because of comments made by family and friends.

    Phaith spoke with BuzzFeed about the video, saying: “[I'm] disgusted by the lens that people have been conditioned to see bigger bodies [through]. Especially because that sexualization starts at such a young age. ... I don’t think women should have to worry about offending anyone with what we wear. Our clothes are not the problem, our 'bodies' are and we can’t change that. We can’t just leave the thighs and hips at home."

    As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at daily@buzzfeed.com or on Twitter @BuzzFeedDaily.