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The "Asian Character Hair Streak" Is Real And A Huge Problem

People keep giving rebellious Asian characters the same hair and it's really damn frustrating.

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Last week, Anne Shi shared an observation about "rebellious" East Asian characters on her Twitter page.

the fact that asian girls in media can't be rebellious/different without a streak of (purple) color in their hair p… https://t.co/CWHMRqFUUb

Shi broke down the trope, saying it appears that writers use the "Asian hair streak" to differentiate between demure and "edgy" Asian women.

so western producers have this idea that to "subvert" this trope, they have to make us ~different~. like look at this Edgy Asian Girl.

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The "Asian hair streak" isn't a new concept — the wiki TV Tropes has a whole section on it, and there have been quite a few Tumblr posts discussing the topic.

Shi's take on the trope has been retweeted over 5,000 times. Some people noted that the hairstyle might be the result of Asian women characters being written by non-Asian women.

@babyfrills White men have no idea how to write Asian girls or women without imagining us as white pixie women.

I suspect it's even more racist. Producers fear that no one will be able to tell who the character is since "all As… https://t.co/1y8dRc8IjZ

Others felt the thread cut *super* deep.

I'm feeling so called out right now (but also this is very true) https://t.co/3JQQF6p2t0

*sweats nervously* https://t.co/cOexORgHIK

Some people offered examples of TV shows which subvert the trope.

*whispers* check out sense 8 https://t.co/xVtlHKUy1M

Shi told BuzzFeed News she doesn't think, fundamentally, that the "purple hair" itself matters, but that what it represents does.

but the fact that almost all asian women with this kind of "rebellious" attitude are depicted with p much the Same Hair... is disheartening.

"The designers pigeon-hole the Asian or East Asian girl into one extreme or the other," she said. "The demure, gentle, subservient Asian housewife or the rebellious girl."

different from... what? all the "other" asian girls? why? because they make snarky jokes & dress in leather jackets & aren't delicate?

Shi said she hoped the thread would make some people think before they wrote stereotpical Asian characters.

the important think to take from this thread is to use your head a little more when designing."innocuous" things can turn egregious quickly.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

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