Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash
Sociology should be an introductory class everyone should take
because it would allow our society to be more open-minded and help us understand why our world is structured a certain way and the reasons for our societal problems.
As a student in sociology, I have the opportunity to view the world from a sociological perspective, and I’ve noticed that it can be applied daily. I can use it on the streets, in class, and even in a movie. A movie I have watched called Crazy Rich Asians exemplifies aspects of sociology. The film is about two couples named Nick Young and Rachel Chu. They fell in love in New York, but Nick kept a big secret from Rachel. The mystery was that he was a wealthy, well-known son of The Young family in Singapore. The young family is a billionaire that owns many real estates and businesses. Nick brings Rachel to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding, and Rachel is being judged and attacked for her social class. Eleanor young, nick’s mother, strongly cares about social class and disapproves of their relationship. Meanwhile, Astrid, nick’s sister, is allowed to marry anyone she wants, but she also has her issues with her husband, Micahel. Throughout the story, Rachel struggles to fit in with Nick’s family and friends because she grew up differently from them.
After Using my sociological perspective on the movie Crazy Rich Asians, I can conclude that this movie plays a significant part in depicting the aspect of different social classes and how each class views one other. It intertwines gender differences, culture, and family, allowing viewers to see how each concept flows and connects. From my perspective, not many can relate and put themselves in Rachel’s perspective because the movie is based on Chinese culture and the conflict between only middle-class Asian compared to wealthy Asians. Still, I can see and understand her issues in the film using my socialization skills and observation. Each character in the movie had personal troubles, but only a few stood out. Rachel Young is an Asian American who grew up in New York and struggled with culture and identity. Going to Singapore, she realized that she did not grow up in a traditional family or know much about her culture. When visiting nick’s family and friends, they began to discriminate against her and started showing inequality because of her status and for being Americanized. It’s a public issue because there is a significant difference between the statuses and how each status treats and views the other. Nick’s trouble is his family and friends because they don’t accept his relationship with Rachel. His mom thrives on an endogamy relationship and cares greatly about the family image. Eleanor doesn’t like his relationship with Rachel, so she hires someone to find Rachel’s background and tries to get them to break up. This is a public issue because high-status people can use their money and power to get what they want. Astrid is nick’s sister who is married to Michael, and she has trouble during their marriage because she tries to hide the fact that she is wealthier than him. This is a public issue because it’s not normalized that women can be more successful and dominant in a marriage, so it is embarrassing for a husband to make less than a woman because it is not the norm in our society.
Crazy Rich Asians is a great movie that shows most of the issues sociologists view. The film displays problems like family, culture, femininity, and social classes. Throughout the movie, it was family orientated because the movie’s theme is about Chinese culture. The Chinese culture values family and has a distinct type of family style. They usually follow the traditional nuclear family, but the film displayed an extended family, where other relatives besides the children live with their parents (Britannica). In the movie, the aunts, cousins, and grandma live in one big mansion with nick’s parents. There were clips of them making dumplings together, and they had a huge family party before the wedding, which exemplifies how family-orientated their culture is.
On top of that, clips of different types of relationships were shown through nick’s friends. Everyone tied to Nick has a high status, and when Rachel came, it was a big shock to people because she was dating a high-status man, but she was only an American professor. The movie showed that the wealthy only date and network within their status. A part of the film that was a big shocker was Astrid and Michael’s relationship. Their relationship is not the typical marriage where the husband makes the most money and is dominant. Astrid’s role in the movie is not played as an ordinary wife and woman. She is displayed as an intelligent, beautiful, and successful woman, and their marriage suffers due to Michael being insecure about her being the breadwinner. In the movie, she hides her luxurious stuff from him and denies charities to make him feel like he wears pants in the house. They end up getting a divorce because Michael feels insecure that he is a nobody compared to her. After watching this movie, I can put myself in each character’s shoes and understand the issues that are revealed in this movie. Everyone grew up in different cultures and can’t see what other cultures are like especially family styles. The producer did a great job revealing a non-traditional family style while incorporating Chinese culture by displaying how their culture values their elders and families and how they practice their culture together. Besides extended family, he also included relationships, like companionate love, pure love, institutionalized love, etc. The movie allowed me to understand and get a view of a varied range of families and relationships. The social class is revealed significantly throughout the story between Rachel and nick’s family. I understood the perspective of both sides of the social classes and how they view each other. The producer adding Astrid as a successful woman shows the progress of equality and non-traditional femininity.
Relationships within the movie dealt with exchange theories, defined as a relationship between two people based on a reward ( Griffith, David). Throughout the film, I noticed the exchange theory within the upper social class. Most relationships in the movie, especially the upper social class couples, are together because of some benefit. Nick’s cousin Eddie mentions how their friend collin is marrying Aramina not only because he loves her but because her family also owns a hotel, and proceeds to question what Rachel has to offer. Also, the movie shows Eddie’s marriage is an exchange marriage because his wife is wealthy and has a title. The film doesn’t show that he’s with his wife for a companionate marriage, which is a relationship that is based on sexual love and affection (Simons, Christina). From observing the movie, the relationships in the show are endogamous; it seems like the rich network around their social classes and marries within their background. When the marriage is not an exchange marriage, for example, Rachel and nick, Rachel is labeled as a gold digger or the person that doesn’t have anything to offer, marked as someone trying to take advantage of the other partner. Most of the nick’s family and friends throughout the movie deny their relationship because of her social class.
Growing up as an Asian American, I can relate to Rachel and understand the situation she is going through, and I have a similar culture that appears in the movie. I can’t relate to the social class problem because the film made it stereotypical and complicated for most people to relate to. As an Asian American, I can relate to her having difficulty knowing her culture. I grew up in America, just like Rachel, and my parents didn’t get the chance to teach me my own culture. It also made me realize that comparing America to Singapore, when talking about culture America is so diverse that it’s hard to focus on one specific culture and parents are busy working to incorporate a particular culture into our lives. Also, seeing the culture in that movie reminded me of my own culture and how similar and accurate it is in real life. Nick’s family style in this film is close to how I grew up and my family. I am shocked at how similar it is to mine. It is identical to how close their family is with each other and the extended family lifestyle.
After watching the movie through a sociological lens, it didn’t change my perspective because the film laid out the social classes; it was how I initially thought they would appear. The film showed how similar most Asian cultures are and gave me a different perspective on relationship styles. I loved how the producer incorporated Astrid as a breadwinner and how successful she is because it showed how the role and status of females are changing. It is an excellent motivator for women. This movie wasn’t good at differentiating between different social classes because it only highlighted the view of the upper social class and barely any perspectives on the middle class. The producer only incorporated the upper and middle classes, so it would make it hard for everyone to relate to the film. The movie was unrealistic and so dramatized and stereotypical that it didn’t show the natural perspective of the rich vs. middle classes. The film showed how most of the world stereotypically views these classes.