DisOreinting Encounters: Where is my Penis?
There is the story of Brandon Lee. No, not the actor Brandon Lee who is also known as Bruce Lee’s son but the gay porn actor and exclusive top Brandon Lee. As the story goes, Brandon was discovered while making a Chinese food delivery run at Catalina studios where Chi Chi LaRue discovered her egg roll was “larger “than expected. After an impromptu tryout, him and his “egg roll”, the rest as you would say is history. Whether this story is true, I am not all too concerned about. But the story itself is very indicative of the power and pleasure of porn and its interaction with race and desirability which usually works to the disadvantage of gay Asian man. It is also pinpoints the image of the gay Asian man has been eroticized and subsequently objectified in the context of power relations with other men. More often than not, representations of the gay Asian man focus on his submission and pleasure of a white top and more recently other racialized tops. It almost a rarity to find an Asian top in mainstream gay porn and when we do, many find the astonishment of an admirable sized Asian and a top as almost weird and almost inappropriate.
Hence, I ask where my penis is as a thoughtful question rather than a vulgarity is because queer Asian pornography portrays the Asian male as predominantly the bottom. Rarely will you find him being the top using his penis to penetrate another male. Relegated to the role of the bottom to receive the ultimate member of manhood in queer pornography provides the message of a passive sexual agent. It reifies the dominant view of Asian men in gay porn as forever bottoms. Take a look at many of the mainstream gay Asian pornography such as Asian Knights, Asian Persuasian, and With Sex You Get Egg Roll. The intended audience for many of these films are primarily gay Anglo males. The content does not bother me too much because I have seen it replayed over and over again. It is rather the message of power that is the most glaring and consistently played narrative in gay Asian porn which bothers me; that a gay Asian male body exists for the pleasure of a white male and other racialized tops rather than other Asian males.
Where is my Penis?
Aside from the anally receptive member of a sexual engagement, there have been some instances where an Asian male has topped another male. Brandon Lee has made substantial commercial success as a well endowed Asian top. Representations of these males, in my opinion, should be taken with a word of caution. Though it may seem that Asian tops are the answer to the bottom-hood of Asian males and a “positive image” of gay Asians in gay porn, they are seen with the lens of not quite measuring up to their white counterpart; painted with the picture of emulating a role rather than acting a role. Though the Asian penis has been found, there are only a few inches to go around, and the gay Asian male body is still the racialized-other unable to compete, unable to match up in size and position. Thus, within this paradigm of being the positional bottom and the not exactly perceived as a top, the gay Asian male body in mainstream gay porn, his body is marked with sexually passiveness, an almost state perpetual bottomhood.
I end this piece with a fantasy of my own from my position as a gay Asian male, traditionally a top and sex positive. In this fantasy sequence, a reincarnation of Bruce Lee as a porn star creates a scene where he performs a solo jerk on screen in the middle of a forest. His hard, rippling body-armor skin is impregnable, strong and invincible. He is watched carefully and for quite some time from a distance by a tiger, the keeper of the forest and disapproves of his acts and attacks him seemingly unprovoked. A few grunts and shrieks during the wrestle leaves his naked torso is scratched on his ribcage and mildly bleeding. He stops his solitary moment of self gratification and he acknowledges his body is clawed, hurt and suffering- the hardness of his body is finally penetrated. He touches and licks his own blood powerfully recirculating the blood to enter his body and reinvigorates his own physical strength. He triumphs over his pain and remasculates himself, recognizes the aggression of the tiger and he has now tasted blood. His body triumphs over the violation, his own sexual gratification unmet. The possibility to create our own desires must be met on our own standards and provides a new liberating point where one does not simply walk into a role that is created for him without his regards but to refashion his own role and recreate the world around him as he imagines for himself.
In the words of Reggie Cabico, a slam poet, “ I am not a bowl of soy sauce for you to dip your meat in”.
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