How to NOT Objectify Asian Women

Recently, Kristina Wong was featured in New York Times in a video series called “Off Color”, and I visited her artist website and also discovered her satire dating site about the objectification of Asian women, BigBadChineseMama.com, where she and volunteers basically make fun of the fetishization of Asian women.

Wong cracks me up, and her way of throwing apple pie in your face and then having you realize it’s actually a pie full of turd is definitely attention grabbing. It’s a good approach for the dense folk out there who hopefully are brought to question some of their own assumptions and unquestioned desires.

I also know that there are a lot of people out there, men and women, who are not really sure what “objectification” actually means, what it is like to be an objectified Asian woman specifically, and also how to avoid objectifying Asian women. So, I thought maybe I’d try my hand at presenting a simple-to-understand explanation and guideline on the objectification of Asian women and how to avoid it.

1. What does “objectification” mean?

Simply put, “objectification” means treating a human being or a group of human beings as an object instead of a human being. For example, let’s compare a table with an Asian woman.

A table is clearly an inanimate, non-living, non-sentient object. If you love a table, it will not love you back. If you paint it your favorite color, you don’t have to worry about the table’s feelings, and if you break or hurt the table, it will not feel pain.

An Asian woman, however, is a living, sentient being. If you love an Asian woman, she may love you back. If you paint her your favorite color without her permission, she may get very very angry at you. If you break or hurt her, she will feel great pain and suffering.

Basically, you don’t have to worry about the table’s thoughts, experiences, emotions, and desires because the table has none of the above.

An Asian woman, however, does have all of the above, and if you treat her like an object, objectify her, then you DO NOT CARE about her thoughts, experiences, emotions, or desires.

You are objectifying an Asian woman if you are prioritizing your own thoughts, experiences, emotions, or desires over hers.
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The 3rd NAAT Conference & Festival Kick-off!

Here in Los Angeles, it’s an exciting time to be an Angeleno as as the 3rd National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival is upon us! Beginning on June 20th, the conference will start things off, featuring more than 25 panels and workshops by more than 50 theater professionals, including artistic directors, executive directors, funders, artists, administrators and educators. This will go on until June 22nd.

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The Working APA Actor: Kristina Wong

The Working APA Actor is a bi-monthly interview of Asian Pacific Islander American actors in the entertainment world, whether it be theater, film, television, or commercials. It is an inside look at these actors exploring their passion in their craft and how they balance their personal lives with their work. But more importantly, this column is dedicated to knowing these busy actors a little better as individuals.

For this week’s edition of The Working APA Actor, I am pleased to introduce you all to a wonderful friend of mine who many of you may know very well. She is none other than Kristina Wong.

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Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Depression & Suicide Among Asian American Women

By Kristina Wong

Kristina Wong delves deep into the sky high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American Women to make ‘Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’

“I’m Definitely Not Crazy. But I Probably am Lying.”

My earliest memories of even thinking I might be depressed were met with warnings by my mother that if I ever dare seek professional help for depression, even as a kid, my employers would one day find out and fire me. It did bother me that being depressed-but-employed versus happy-and-unemployed was the better of the two (and only two) options, but I heeded her advice and never sought professional help. God forbid anyone know I was once a crazy 12-year old kid.

So I hid it for years. And not very well. Even into my college years, I managed to turn club meetings, sleepovers, friendships and intimate relationships into my own impromptu therapy sessions. Anything to avoid the stigma of actually seeking professional help! When I introduced myself to a circle of new friends, somehow unsolicited emotional clutter would always spill out with it. Sometimes my friends were halfway decent at playing Freud, but very often, they were so mired in their own messy lives that my problems just exhausted them.
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