America has a fetish for Asian women. The conversation starts there. When the word ‘Asian’ gets added to ‘woman’ there’s a little extra stimulation to the wrong kind of men. Trophies to brag about, toys that don’t sass back, dolls that promise a happy time. It takes brass balls to be an Asian woman in America and I would not have the guts to walk in their Jimmy Choos.
The consolation prize for tragedy is its opportunity to spotlight a problem. Six Asian women died during the Atlanta Spa rampage. I would hope their deaths would result in a renewed spotlight of the dangers of being Asian and female in America. And the truth is, the concubine/geisha/wartime bride image has never left us in the 21st century. I’ve had enough unsolicited and uncomfortable conversations with non-Asian men to know a lot of them view Asian women as brittle exotic sex objects. I know a lot of them feel entitled to Asian women as well. When 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long wanted to end his sex addiction, he instantly equated Asian women as the root of his uncontrollable perversions. This failure to separate the two is no coincidence. He didn’t hit up random strip clubs, he didn’t go for call girls. He specifically sought out Asian spas.
It’s a tragedy that America is even debating the racial component of this rampage. In the midst of America’s first-ever wide acknowledgement that Asians do indeed face racism (better late than never, I guess), it’s frustrating that mainstream America is slow to connect the obvious. The story, instead, has veered off into the side issues of gun control, religious extremism and porn addiction. And even from those who acknowledged the racial component to the tragedy, I’m disappointed that they’re connecting it as a COVID-19 hate crime rather than the badly, under-spoken glaring issue of Asian fetishization.
These are tough times to be Asian-American.
Not that bullshit wasn’t happening prior to all this newfound coverage and #stopthehate hashtag fervor, but the media is potentially inviting copycat hate crimes. All across America, Asian spas are widely available, they’re surprisingly lax on security, and way too trusting of white people. If there’s ever ample time to shine our issues to mainstream America, now’s the time. Asian women walk out in America to an assemblage of sexual predatorial dangers every day. The fact that they have a misguided reputation of being “easy”, “willing” and “submissive” only increases their danger to the many fools that believe in it. Robert Aaron Long was one of those fools. He is, sadly, just one of millions of dangerous Asian-lusting men that view Asian women as easy sex. So much so, that instead of blaming himself, Robert blamed Asian women for his addiction. I would not like for those six Asian women, or any other Asian women, to die in vain for the whims of an objectifying sex addict. Our sisters are precious. We should speak out and value their preciousness more often, because it’s sad to say, Asian women go through life in this country every day being seen as “Asian” before “women”. Not “human”. This must change. It absolutely must. But if we can’t even begin the conversation of the Atlanta spa conversations without the acknowledgement of racial motivations, we’ve already lost. This is a good time to bring up Asian-American issues while America listening. Don’t waste it.