Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Asian Men Are Sexist - Fancy A Shag?"

Asian Sexism And The White Men Who Love It...

I came across this interesting blogpost recently, it was written by a white (American, I think) woman living and working in South Korea, and gives a brief commentary on sexism in Korea as compared to that in the U.SA. Two points stand out for me; the first is that the writer is challenging accusations of sexism brought by white male ex-pats in Korea, the second is that hardly anyone ever acknowledges challenges the idea that Asia is irredeemably sexist.

According to the blog post.....

.....sexism is an issue that comes up a lot when foreigners complain about Korea and so blogging about it is always relevant, I think........Let me be clear: I think a lot of aspects of Korean culture are sexist. What gets left out of the discussion (usually populated by white American males) is that America is sexist, too........That's how you use feminism to justify racism........So, if you are a Western guy blogging about how Korea is soooo sexist and how they could really learn a lesson from Western culture, kindly shut the fuck up.
My guess is that this faux rage about sexist Korea helps some of these white dudes to get some easy play - that's irony! And, evidently, an effective ploy. Also, it is nice to finally see someone who isn't an Asian man acknowledging that the sexism in Asia is often used to justify racist attitudes.

As an Asian man who has been raised in the West, I am accustomed to seeing, reading, and hearing, countless testimonies of how Asian men have and do make the lives of Asian women unbearably miserable. Such is the power of this narrative that it has become the story that underlies just about any account of Asian history, or the Asian-American experience. Naturally, according to this narrative, the remedy for this state of affairs comes in the form of an enlightened white man serving as the metaphor for the benevolent goodness of, well, white men. For instance, in American culture, it is almost impossible to find an Asian story without it somehow, some way,  involving a white man - often the white man provides the comfort from the misery inflicted by the Asian man, as well as offering the path to liberation for Asian women.

So strong (and obscenely commercially successful) is this narrative that even Asian-Americans themselves - of both sexes - eagerly contribute their own tweaked versions for mass-absorption. Consequently, this ontology describing the Asian-American inter-gender narrative as the Asian man's repressive bestiality is so well accepted as truth that it has become an integral part of mainstream America's cultural conception of Asian men.  Hence, western culture (and, therefore, the western man) is the best source of emancipation for the foot-and-mouth-bound Asian woman. Asians themselves share great responsibility for promoting this false notion of the sexist-free West.

It is sad that commercial gain drives so many Asian-Americans in creative fields to choose to pursue this avenue of expression that enables racist and sexist attitudes to proliferate. The biggest loser must be the cause of Asian feminism itself since this type of conditioning can only empower young Asian girls to replace one form of sexism for another, yet doesn't provide them with the skills or insight to counter, or even recognize, the racially inflected sexism that they must surely experience in western societies.