I’m An Asian Woman And I Think Blog Posts Defining That Identity By Who Someone Like Me Would Or Wouldn’t Date Are Bullshit
Is there a worthwhile discussion to be had about interracial dating and relationships?
The answer seems to be no, if you’ve paid any attention to posts written on the subject that have been blowing up my little patch of the Internet lately. Of course I’m referring to “I’m An Asian Woman And I Refuse To Ever Date An Asian Man” by Jenny An, and the clickbait-y response to An’s clickbait-y call, “I Am An Asian Woman And I Think Asian Boyfriends Are Superior (Well, Mine Is Anyway),” by Clarissa Wei, both published on xojane, a site to which I’ve contributed.
Simply put: I’m An Asian Woman And I Think This Conversation Sucks.
First things first. I don’t give a fuck who these women fuck or, really, what any woman chooses to do with her own vagina. Because it’s her own vagina, get it? And because it’s her own vagina, she doesn’t need to justify what she does with it. It should go without saying that a woman can do whatever she wants with her own body. But when she feels the need to explain why she does what she does with it, which is what these posts boil down to for me, she’s just playing into this very old and very male idea that a woman needs to justify what she does with her own body because, ultimately, she doesn’t have authority over, I repeat, her own body. Sound familiar? It should (see: “the war on women”).
The other problem with these posts is that they put race and gender at odds with one another, like they have this mutually exclusive relationship, and you have to choose one or the other to have some kind of cohesive identity. If you believe An’s argument–which she later backpedaled on, calling it “a character” designed to provoke discussion–as an Asian woman, in order to reject “patriarchy and cultural sexism,” you have to be a racist dick and hate your people. And if you believe Wei’s argument, which asserts that Asian boyfriends are the best because they make “a lot” of money, shower their girlfriends with gifts, and point out when you’ve gained weight…wait, what? Pause for station identification:
“He helps me keep fit. Being fat is not okay in a stereotypically Asian community. My boyfriend works out to stay fit and frequents the gym on a daily basis. And when I’m packing on the pounds, he notices.”
So, like I was saying, if you believe Wei’s argument, as an Asian woman, in order to love your people and not be a racist dick, you have to morph into some kind of pre-feminist, rich husband-chaser who’s totally okay with her man telling her what’s wrong with, I repeat, her own body. (It should be noted that Wei, in the pictures accompanying her post, looks thin and quite improbable as someone who would “pack on the pounds,” which makes her argument even sadder.)
The idea that you have to be racist to throw off sexual oppression or sexist to throw off racial oppression–but that you can’t fight both at the same time–is a very old and very stupid one propagated by–you guessed it!–racists and sexists. As a wise woman of multiple identities once said, “I simply do not believe that one aspect of myself can possibly profit from the oppression of my other part of my identity.”
What concerns me the most at the end of the day is that these discussions about race and gender–happening on a women’s site, no less–are discussions initiated by women that are, nevertheless, discussions being had on other people’s terms. And using the language of men, racists, and sexists is no way for Asian women, women of color, or any women for that matter, to define themselves.
Filed under: Asian American Women and Feminism, Audre Lorde, Clickbait, Dating, Feminism, Interracial Dating, Interracial Relationships, Relationships, Self-Definition, The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House, Vagina, Vaginas, Women of Color, xojane
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