Following the murders of eight people in Atlanta in the US, six of whom were Asian women, we need to talk about the harmful and highly sexualised stereotypes of, and sexual violence perpetrated against, Asian women.
This is nothing new. There is a history of Asian women being objectified and racially attacked.
We’re just hoping people are willing to listen to us this time.
Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast, on whether fetishising Asian women led to the mass shooting. Post continues below.
When speaking about the shooting, Capt. Jay Baker, a Cherokee County sheriff, said that the shooter viewed spas as places of temptation that he wanted to eliminate.
This just continues to perpetuate the idea that Asian women only exist to seduce men; it reduces the bodies of the Asian victims to a "temptation", something that needed to be destroyed because a white male felt a sense of entitlement to do so.
The hypersexualisation of Asian women and the preconceived notions that are placed upon us simply because of our race deeply influences not only the internal battles we face but also makes us feel like our identity isn’t something that we get to decide on ourselves – instead, it's one that has already been decided for us.
And it contributes significantly to the racism, abuse, fear and violence we experience. It’s discouraging disheartening and ultimately, dehumanising to not be seen for who we are, but rather for who people expect us to be.
You know what I'm talking about.
Asian women are seen as quiet, submissive and subservient.
We get backhanded 'compliments' like "You’re pretty... for an Asian."
We're referred to as "Oriental" and "exotic" as though we're some type of rare species to captured, caged and made theirs.
We hear how Asian women are all supposedly petite and "tight".
We go on dates with men who openly brag they have 'Yellow Fever', about how they have a 'thing' for Asian women, as if their attraction and obsession with Asian women translates to respecting Asian culture.
We get accosted in the streets with comments like "how much?", "me love you long time", "happy ending", and "I’ve always wanted to try Asian" – getting treated like someone you can talk at and not to.
We hear the jokes about mail-order brides.
We hear the comments of people looking down on hardworking Asian women who you go to in order to look and feel your best (the nail salons, spas and massage parlours).
And we're sick and tired of being treated as a monolith with every Asian woman greeted with "Ni Hao".
It’s dangerous. It’s discriminatory. It’s derogatory. It’s demeaning. It’s degrading.