(Rachel Kuo, Everyday Feminism) Recently, a friend and I were talking about growing up Asian American in predominantly white neighborhoods and schools, and she told me that when she was in fifth grade, boys teased her on the playground by saying that she had a “sideways vagina.”
[Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Headline Health but we believe will be of interest to our readers. – Editor]
This has happened to me, too – and I’m sure to so many other Asian girls.
From racist humor in mid-1800s brothels to today’s playground jokes, the race and gender identity of Asian women is seen as so foreign, so “alien,” that our vaginas magically defy biology.
Throughout my life, I’ve received unwanted comments and questions about my body, specifically my anatomy, including being harassed on the street with calls like, “Ni hao,” “Konichiwa,” “Are you Chinese, Japanese, or Korean,” and recently, “Hi Ling Ling.”
On top of that, in my dating history, I was expected to be more quiet and less assertive.
The hyper-sexualization and fetishization of East Asian women is problematic – I am not “lucky” that my race and gender is imagined as sexy and exotic, that Asian women “all so beautiful.”
Or that, an image search of “Asian women” pulls up excessive pictures of women posing in lingerie.
Racial fetishes are about objectification, fetishizing an entire group of people – in this case Asian women, means reducing them down to stereotypes instead of recognizing their full personhood.
Beyond just personal preferences or “having a type,” racial fetishes project desired personality and behavior onto an entire racial or ethnic group.
The fetishization of Asian women even has a name, “yellow fever” – as if the obsession with Asian women were also a disease.
When my identity as an “Asian woman” becomes the only thing that’s important to someone in an interaction, that’s a problem. Read the full story here.
Also of interest: Sex Mistake Triggers Painful Reaction In Women
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