This week, Yahoo launched a beta service called Y! Live, a site that lets anyone with a webcam create their own live web video channel. On a lark, I decided to try it. I mean, what harm could it be, right? Not ten seconds after I started broadcasting, I had a few guests come into the chatroom. And as one might expect, one of them appeared to be a guy who wanted me to take off my clothes. But that’s not the hilariously offensive part. The part that really got me was when he actually told me to “do something Asian plz.” That’s when I started taking screenshots and then promptly left the channel:
This had me thinking. First of all, what the heck is he asking me to do? Eat rice? Do the peace sign? Giggle incessantly? What exactly is “doing something Asian”? Then I remembered to the first days of the dot-com era when I used to have an actual webcam, to display on my blog. Don’t ask me why; I was an innocent tech-curious girl who wanted to know what the hubbub was about. So I went to this random QuickCam site that was suggested with the software, and started to broadcast. Within minutes, if not seconds, I had people chatting me up with really crude pick-up lines. And almost all of them referred to me being Asian as one of the key points.
Of course, I’m not saying I’m unfamiliar with the idea of the Asian fetish. But it was still a shocking and surprising thing to someone who a) didn’t get a lot of flirtations in real life, and b) wasn’t used to being so readily stereotyped.
All of which led me to these questions: Do Asian women, just by the nature of being Asian, appear more submissive to people in general? Are we more coveted as sex objects compared to white women? The answers are probably “yes” but I would love to hear what people have to say about this, and what Asian women in particular have done to deal with this kind of stereotype.
PS. And yes, I know I was naive in expecting actual civility on the Internet with the webcam. My bad.