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.
2. What is it like being an objectified Asian woman?
People generally like to be attractive. So when Asian women are found to be “so attractive”, the initial reaction is to think that it must be a great situation for them–they are “beautiful” by default having certain racial characteristics that are desirable. Dating websites have provided some concrete numerical data that men of different races do prefer Asian women above other ethnic groups of females.
This does not however mean that all Asian women are in celebration of their “attractiveness” (Kristina Wong is kidding, if you missed that).
I was once walking with an Asian female friend in the parking lot of Target, and a white guy drove by in a car and said out of his window, loud and clear, right at her, “I’ve never seen an Asian girl with such big tits before.”
Now, some may wonder why my friend wasn’t thrilled to hear this “compliment” on her physical body. Shouldn’t she be happy that some guy found her attractive?
If you didn’t reel in disgust reading about those words spoken to my friend, let me explain. Basically, this creep in the car decided it was okay to just say this out loud to her, even though he most likely knew it made her feel like a piece of crap on the road that he could roll over with his car at will. Going back to our earlier analogy, he basically treated her as the table he could paint any color he wanted without any regard for her feelings.
This is what it feels like to be objectified, to basically be treated as if your thoughts and feelings are of no concern to the person objectifying you as they are too busy satisfying their own desires and compulsions at your expense.
3. How can I avoid objectifying Asian women?
The simple answer is this: Care about how the Asian woman FEELS about the way you’re treating her.
This simple answer must be considered with this caveat: The reality is every Asian woman is different.
Some would like to be complimented on the size of their breasts.
Some never want to hear a single word uttered about their bust.
Some like that Asian women are the most desired women.
Some cannot stand that men of other ethnic backgrounds find Asian women so attractive.
Some would like you to hold the door open for them.
Some would like you to let them hold the door open for you.
Some like vanilla ice cream.
Some like chocolate ice cream.
How will you know what sort of Asian woman is the one standing in front of you?
Here’s another simple answer: Get to know her. As an individual. As a person. As a human being.