Minorities from all over the globe wishes to immigrate to North America hoping to find a better living situation, enhance education and ironically to live in a country where individual's mind and self are valued with no oppression and power struggles. Despite these wishes, the movie The Joy Luck Club, originally a novel written by Amy Tan raises the questions of oppression and power in the lives of four mothers and their daughters. The director, Wayne Wang is a Hong Kong-born American filmmaker, he was sent to America to study medicine, however, his eyes widened to new experiences and developed interest in film. Due to his background, he well portrayed the Chinese stereotypical characteristics (e.g., tiger mom, strict on their child and plays mahjong while gossiping) which well illustrates each character's hardship, oppression, power dynamics that they faced. The aim of the essay is to identify the oppression and power struggles depicted in both the first-generation mothers and the second-generation American born daughters, who were raised in traditional Chinese ways at home while being exposed to American cultures outside of homes. At the same time, the movie depicts the social issue of the oppression of women and power of men, a long history in China and as racial minorities in America.
In China, the relationship between men and women are defined as Yang and Yin, where the male is the dominant and the female is subordinate. Hence, in the patriarchal society of China, men are heaven and the wife is the ground, she therefore must be obedient to her father, husband, and son. In the movie, four mothers: Suyuan, An-mei, Lindo, and Ying-ying all grew up in the era of sexism, where women were oppressed in multiple ways from the society and from their loved ones. Their daughters: June, Rose, Waverly and Lena are born in America and the mothers raised the daughters with hopes of future, no accents, no discrimination and independent.