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So, where did the fetishization and objectification come from?How did Asian women get the hypersexualized stereotypes of being docile and submissive or being dangerous and seductive?As our race, gender, and sexuality become ruled by Western and male fantasy, in order to serve men sexually, Asian women must both be “feminine” and “heterosexual” and also either submissive and/or hypersexual. “Oriental” was used as an adjective by “the West” to describe “the East.” And now, it’s often represented as anything with dragons, lotus blossoms, red lanterns, and other “mystical” symbols from the “Far East.” The historical and media image and idea of “Oriental” also ends up lumping together all “Asian women” as East Asian and also conflates Chinese, Japanese, and Korean identities.These double stereotypes of “Lotus Blossom” and “Dragon Lady” reflect the ways that Asian women become transformed into either a sexual servant or embodied as a sexual adventure. Labeling Products ‘Oriental’ Leads to the Objectification of East Asian Women as Exotic Commodities Have you heard of Oriental rugs or Oriental lamps? The “Orientalizing” of Asian women is a historical process where race, gender, class, immigration status, and also empire all play a role.While today, some people might think of fetishes and sexual stereotypes as “not a big deal,” the history behind these tropes is rooted in violence and war, which get oppressively reimagined by mainstream media and entertainment.Below are five ways East Asian women became fetishized and how that fetishization horribly impacts our lives. Mainstream Media Creates the Submissive ‘Lotus Blossom’ and Evil ‘Dragon Lady’ Stereotypes “[S]mall, weak, submissive and erotically alluring…She’s fun, you see, and so uncomplicated.Since trade routes that opened up in the 1200s, notably the Silk Road, White adventurers sought to find exotic goods in the “Far East” – not only spices and fabrics, but women as well.
However, many of her roles throughout the 90s and early 2000s, such as Ling Woo on Ally Mc Beal or as O-Ren Ishii in , were also ones that showed Asian women as beautifullyevil, aggressive, and also mysterious.This is different from an interracial partnership where all partners are equally respected.Fetishizing someone’s race and gender means not caring about someone as an individual.She doesn’t go to assertiveness-training classes, insist on being treated like a person, fret about career moves…” —Tony Rivers, “Oriental Girls”, Gentleman’s Quarterly, 1990 Growing up, Lucy Liu was one of the only East Asian women I saw on TV and in movies.It was her, the Yellow Power Ranger (Thuy Trang), and Mulan.
However, it allowed women and children to join husbands, leading to over 10,000 Japanese and Korean women came to the US as arranged “picture brides.” This practice was looked down upon by White Americans, adding to anti-Japanese sentiment at that time.