Pardes vs. Swades: an Analysis of South Asian American Gendered Ethnicity Formation in Visual Media Portrayals

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The Ohio State University

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As the number of South Asian Americans in the United States grows, so does their presence in mainstream American media, their production of alternative sources of Asian American film, and their cachet to develop Indian film industry (Bollywood) abroad. All three sources of media employ and depict South Asian Americans in various portrayals; some have been noted to perpetuate patterns of representation around ethnic identification, gender roles, citizenship, and socio-cultural ties. The consumption trends and effects these South Asian American portrayals have on South Asian American second-generation youth is largely unknown. The purpose of this study is to collect data concerning the media consumption patterns of our defined population of South Asian American youth, and how they negotiate gendered portrayals of their ethnic compatriots in their formation of ethnic identity. Using socialization theories and other data from previous ethnographies of South Asian Americans, we employ online surveys and personal interviews geared towards monitoring the consumption of South Asian American media portrayals and their effects on how South Asian American youth view themselves and their community. Findings of this study are among the first in the field of South Asian American Studies to indicate how South Asian American media portrayals affect the growing number of South Asian American youth, and how the pervasive growth of South Asian American media portrayals may be affecting the gendered ethnic identity formation of youth who consume these types of media.



South Asian American, film, television, visual media