Hi, I’m Joz Wang. I’m Co-Editor of 8Asians.com, along with Moye Ishimoto and Ernie Hsiung.
It has come to our attention via Twitter that 8Asians.com is the target of a petition to “Stop Posting Sexist Articles,” a statement that is both sad and factually incorrect. In this petition, Shiuan Butler states the following:
8asians.com has posted several sexist articles, most recently: “Do Asian Women Have the Smallest Breasts?,” and “Do Asian Women Have the Smallest Vaginas?” by Koji Sakai … a relatively prominent Asian American male feels he has the right to talk about women’s body parts and, specifically, Asian women’s body parts carelessly and with no regard for oppressions at large. He is dehumanizing and objectifying women by doing so.
Koji Sakai shouldn’t be publicizing sexist statements and 8asians certainly shouldnt be publishing them. Sign this petition to tell 8asians to take down the articles immediately and post an apology and vow to set up guidelines to prevent sexist posts from going up in the future.
Because we’re in a position to defend ourselves, let’s talk about Koji’s posts for a bit — and forgive us for being defensive, but Ms. Butler has clearly gone on the offensive.
If Ms. Butler were to get past the fact that “Asian women” and “vaginas” were used in the same blog post, she might actually recognize that the post isn’t about “dehumanizing and objectifying women,” or certainly not (as she infers in her petition) “rape.” The post is about stereotypes, and the discussion of stereotypes of both women and men. In fact, the main point of the vagina, breast, and penis articles was to dispel some prevalent stereotypes– and to point out that race has nothing to do with them. As a matter of fact, these posts by Koji were a direct response to popular search engine keywords that would direct to 8Asians.com: “asian penis” and “asian vagina,” and are meant to be light-hearted in nature while still examining stereotypes about Asian women and men.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but Koji’s response is to use humor to acknowledge that — like most heterosexual males — he likes breasts. Although the majority of 8Asians’ readers read Koji’s article and found it funny– almost 60% of our readers clicked “laughing” on Moodthingy for that post– it is evident that Ms. Butler did not find this amusing. We understand that not everyone finds the same things funny. However, the editors of 8Asians stand by Koji’s article because we do not believe the content of his article to be sexist either in intent or in actuality. We will not apologize for his post and most certainly will not take down the articles; we will not start a precedent to allow online petitioners to bully us into censoring the content on our site in accordance of what they think is or is not appropriate. We stand by our contributors’ First Amendment rights to free speech, especially in relation to topics which are relevant to our community. 8Asians has always been about diversity, especially diversity of viewpoints and opinions– some of which may be controversial.
It’s too bad that things had to turn out this way. Ms. Butler had a number of ways to engage us in a dialogue before starting an online campaign against us. She could have left a comment on our blog, on Facebook, or via Twitter stating her opinions. She could have e-mailed the editors of 8Asians, where any of us would have been happy to explain our stance. She could have written a guest blog entry on 8Asians about her own experiences about “the double oppression of racism and sexism” as an Asian American woman. But instead of contacting us or opening up a direct line of communication, she wasted both her time and the time of 8Asians staff by creating and tweeting a petition about sexism on blog posts that have nothing to do with the oppression of women. This lack of communication shows that she has no interest in actual dialogue.
So why do we feel the need to publicly bring up an internet petition? Because of a comment written up on Ms. Butlers’ blog:
I recently heard about 8asians and was considering their ‘range’ of articles. I wasn’t sure I felt the quality ones balanced out the sexist ones … I should stick with my gut instincts.
And to be honest, this comment bothers me more than the petition itself, which is ironic, really. 8Asians is a site that revolves around community participation. If you have a problem with with the blog or any of the specific posts within it, whether you think our site panders to “the white man,” is “too gay,” or is overtly sexist — all recent comments about 8Asians we’ve heard in the past three days — that’s your opinion, and we respect it. But don’t just leave comments or start campaigns on third party sites trashing 8Asians and expect the website to improve; write us directly and let us know how you feel. Offer to write a guest blog post. Comment and engage in conversation.
Otherwise, you are part of the problem.