In the year 2018 we are still lacking representation of Asian American women. Welp... it’s time for these women to step out into the light and join the diversity-meets-inclusion conversation.
Let’s be honest, East Asians and Southeast Asians are very different. East Asians are Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Mongolian, and Taiwanese. Southeast Asians are those on the Indochina and the area of the East Indies. Although these two areas are both Asian countries, media does a great job at stereotyping them and creating a divide. Most of the time, people know of the main Asian races, like China, Japan, Philippines, and Korea. The issue with this is the portrayal of Asian American women. The divide is in the representation and diversity of Asian American women. There are Asian American women who are treated like second class citizens and not included in what is called the ‘Model Minority’. The model minority is the belief that there is a minority race that is perceived to be superior to other minorities. Media’s portrayal of East Asians is the essence of the model minority. They are intellectually superior, but still a minority. Whereas, the Southeast Asians are often an example of lower class Asians.
Here is the biggest irony, media continues to portray Asian Americans women as highly intellectually everywhere except the bedroom. The Asian woman fetish is a long standing issue among the Asian American women conversation. These women are expected to be successful in the boardroom, but submissive in the bedroom. The stereotype of Asian American women is the quiet “nerd” who is secretly a submissive sex freak.
I can attest to both of these issues. I have had people ask me if people were only interested in me because I was Asian and, therefore, “submissive”. Other times, I have received DM’s that explicitly stated that white men were interested in me, solely because I was Asian and I “seemed submissive”. In my academic career, I felt pressure to do well because of my race. Self fulfilling prophecy is the only thing that could explain the pressure I felt. The Asian stereotype of intelligence made me feel like it was true and I had to be intelligent. I felt a constant pressure to do well in academics without acknowledgement for my success because it was expected. Somehow, I was supposed to be smart and submissive. It felt like all I was supposed to do was study up and shut up.
Like the rest of American women, Asian American women are still battling the issues of sexism like wage gap, sexual assault, and the glass ceiling. Statistically, Asian American women have a lower poverty rate and a higher weekly income than any other minorities in the United States. In the US, Asian Americans account for a large number of the undergraduate population. The issue is that Asian Americans are continually being portrayed as illiterate, savage people who live off eating dogs. Though Asian Americans are statistically intelligent and capable, media continues to feed off of aged stereotypes and allow people to believe things that are statically untrue. It is important to start the conversation about the positive factors of Asian American women causing negative impacts on the way they are perceived and accepted in society.
Growing up a Chinese American, I found myself different from my culture and the community I lived in. I think many Asian American women find this to true. We are connected to our culture, but not fully because we have American values and virtues. This leads to a struggle in choosing between culture and community. The lives of Asian American women are very complicated, but they should be heard.
There is so much more to speak about Asian American women, but this is just an introduction.