Department or Program

American Studies

Additional Department or Program (if any)


Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Kelly Rutherford


This thesis explores how Asianness is portrayed in contemporary magazine advertising to the American public. Drawing on writings about Orientalist media depictions, my analysis of print advertisements shows that Orientalism is still evolving. While older forms of Orientalism offer Western constructions of the East with exoticized nostalgia or “yellow peril,” new forms use Asian bodies to represent the East within the West with continued and adapted stereotypes. I find that, while Asian bodies have gained proportional and inclusive representation, contemporary print advertising still positions them as marginal. I argue that Asian models are used to signal edginess, affluence, and futurism, but in a way that invokes the model minority stereotype.