Although ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat extensively explores racial relations through the eyes of a young Chinese boy growing up in America, its gender diversity is limited. Perhaps this is because the show is primarily centered around Eddie Huang’s life. He is close to his father, he has two brothers, and his best friends are boys. So far, the only times we really see women as major characters in this show are Eddie’s mother, his grandmother, and his MUCH older “love interests” (with whom he has no chance… sorry, Eddie).
There is no doubt that Fresh Off the Boat most prominently features men. This does not seem to be an anti-women stance; the show is based on Eddie Huang’s childhood, and I think he realistically spent more time with other boys. At school, Eddie primarily hangs out with other boys. At home, he sees and spends time with his younger brothers. When he talks to someone about any struggles or hardships, it is typically his father.
Despite males being far more represented than females, Fresh Off the Boat still features plenty of women. Perhaps the strongest female characters in the show are Jessica (Eddie’s mother) and Grandma Jenny (Eddie’s grandmother, who lives with the Huangs). Jessica is afraid of no man, and she certainly isn’t afraid to insert her opinion over her husband’s. Eddie thinks of his mother as the epitome of a Chinese-American woman: she is bold in the family’s entrepreneurial business, she considers herself equal to her husband, and she considers her children’s education of the utmost importance (to the point that she supplements their schooling with home classes). Although at first, Jessica struggles to assimilate with the other women in the neighborhood, she realizes her family means more to her than her social life, and that others’ opinions are not as important as they seem.
Overall, Fresh Off the Boat is not an exceptionally diverse show in terms of gender, but what it lacks in that area, it makes up for in terms of racial and cultural diversity. It provides thought-provoking insight into the life of a young child of immigrants, and it is absolutely a show worth watching (even if almost everyone IS a man).
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