As my coffee brewed this morning, I scrolled through my Facebook feed. I’m very lucky to have a circle like I do on social media, full of organizers and critical people who post articles, thought pieces, and artistic projects they’re working on. I ran across a post in particular that erked me: a short video of an Asian man singing a country song, titled, “When an Asian man is trying to get a white girl”. My skin crawled reading this, so many assumptions on that video piled into one basket.
There’s so many narratives about the love lives of Asian men, so many that there’s a Facebook page called “Love Life of an Asian Guy”, that I can’t help but ask- why? Some of the narratives are similar in tone as the video mentioned, praising the white woman. I saw the same crap with Eddie Huang, holding a book that detailed how Asian men can get white women. Why is it, in both of these instances, that the white woman is praised? Besides the generalization of white women, why is whiteness constantly a few tiers above women of color?
This comes from a deeper issue of being Asian in a white world: the women are fetishized and the men desexualized. Many Asian men I know are very stern in their struggles of navigating masculinity, feeling as if they can never fall in love with these standards nailed on to their forehead. The problem with the way this struggle is dealt with isn’t in reducing their desexualization, but aligning their struggles with the overall struggle for women’s liberation.
Under patriarchy, things like the desexualization of Asian manifest. Because Asian women are seen as fragile and docile, in turn, the men are reduced. Asian men, in fighting their desexualization, cause even more problems for not only Asian women, but women of color. Why must these men align themselves with masculinity? What does it matter if a man is feminine? When these men align themselves with masculinity, they often turn to misogyny to be accepted, very similar to the issues of the poor, working class white folks who align themselves with whiteness; Asian women and women of color are more in common with Asian men opposed to the typical white male. In failing to align their struggles with women of color, they continue to repeat the cycle of violence to not only women, but themselves.
I’d like to challenge more men, not just Asian men, to understand their roles under misogyny and the need to align themselves with masculinity. In hearing out and supporting women of color towards our liberation, not only will the constraints men of color face be broken, but women and non-men folks alike will.