Though they may seem like a harmless infatuation with Asian women and our bodies, fetishes of Asian women link to experiences of racist, sexual violence and have negative impacts on our physical safety and mental and emotional health. In the show, Joe uses Anita for sex. The legacy of sexual imperialism carries on today. For Asian women, experiences of racism and sexism intersect with rape culture. It creates a false fantasy where exotic aesthetics get projected onto Asian women.
In addition to erasing inequities in material access, the model minority myth is a narrative that prevents racial justice. Imagined as decorative object or a toy, these tropes commodify Asian women into passive objects — made to be seen, played with, or touched, but not heard. These women were killed violently by men who took up logics of toxic masculinity. These men, with such feelings of entitlement towards women and towards sex with women, are not anomalies. Toxic masculinity is a concoction of entitlement that brings together white supremacy and rape culture — it is masculinity steeped in racism, classism, and heterosexism. So below are ways that racist and sexist tropes leveraged against East Asian women intersect with rape culture. How dare we have feelings of pain and grief? The emphasis of these stereotypes on submission and docility imagines them as without agency and without the capacity to give consent. This response picks up a narrow vision of masculinity, where masculinity can only be defined and empowered by explicit heterosexuality. Though they may seem like a harmless infatuation with Asian women and our bodies, fetishes of Asian women link to experiences of racist, sexual violence and have negative impacts on our physical safety and mental and emotional health. Perceiving Asian women as exotic also projects a fantasy around how Asian women behave and act, including imagining us as always wanting sex or available for sex. And they might even be something that you dismiss as harmless — or even as compliments. These are just some of the names of Asian women who have been murdered by men — men who were former partners, men who felt scorned or rejected by women they felt entitled to, men who then thought murder was the appropriate response. Tropes of Hypersexuality and Exotification Assume Rape to Be Impossible As discussed above, fetishization of Asian women perceives our bodies as objects to be conquered and discovered traces back to colonial legacies that justified rape and enslavement. For Asian women, experiences of racism and sexism intersect with rape culture. These fetishes and stereotypes have had further serious and violent implications as they contribute to rape culture. It creates a false fantasy where exotic aesthetics get projected onto Asian women. Rape culture is entrenched in society at ideological, institutional, and individual levels. Toxic Masculinity Has Violent Implications in Our Communities One in ten Asian American women report violence from an intimate partner, and these numbers increase when detailed by ethnicity and nationality. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Their value relies only on their bodies or looks. In the show, Joe uses Anita for sex. Written as his property and perceived as a literal object, she is given no capacity to consent to these acts. The legacy of sexual imperialism carries on today.
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