New Website Aims to Create Comprehensive Database of anti-Asian Media Stereotypes, But…

Actress Reshma Shetty plays Divya Katare in USA's "Royal Pains". (Photo credit: Williams & Hirakawa/USA Network)
Actress Reshma Shetty plays Divya Katare in USA’s “Royal Pains”. (Photo credit: Williams & Hirakawa/USA Network)

Negative, oftentimes racist, portrayals of Asian Americans have persisted in Western media for over a century. When we are not entirely absent from media representation, we appear mostly in exaggerated and stereotyped form: rodent-like subhumans; alien threats; hypersexualized objects of desire; buffoonish clowns; socially maladjusted nerds; martial artists; criminal gangsters. Too often, these performances are coupled with the absence of even an Asian American face: instead, non-Asian actors adopt these and other stereotypes to enact Asian-ess through yellowface.

A new website — Kulture — now seeks to act as a watchdog for Asian American representation in popular media by inviting crowd-sourced submission of stereotypical depictions for inclusion in their database.

From their press release:

Asian-Americans have been unfairly maligned by Hollywood over the years and the trend shows no sign of abating. Kulture monitors the entertainment media for offensive representations of Asian-Americans and documents stereotypes and denigration of Asians in movies and television. The site is easy to navigate, categorizing offenses by media outlet, by type of offense, such as “Reinforces Stereotypes”, and by media type, such as TV commercials.  Visitors to the site can also submit their own witnessed offenses through the “Report an Offense” feature.

…“Many Asians know TV shows represent them in a bad light. But they may think they’re alone in that view,” says Kulture’s Founder Tim Gupta.  “Kulture spotlights how Hollywood mocks and excludes Asian men while fetishizing Asian women.  Kulture helps Asians and those concerned about media racism stay abreast of how Asians are depicted, and we will eventually serve as a platform for them to take action against Hollywood offenders.” To view the list of media offenses, visit www.kulturemedia.org.

In general, I support projects that — like Kulture — might ultimately help engage Asian Americans (particularly those who feel they currently lack outlets for political expression) in deeper consideration of race and identity, particularly with regard to pop culture. In an age when the number of political AAPI blogs is on the decline, any new venture can make a pretty big splash in our otherwise shrinking pond.

I would be remiss, however,  if I didn’t mention that in the details, Kulture triggers some alarm bells for me.

In its current form, the site appears to be biased in its writing to favour those who believe that interracial dating and marriage (specifically, as occurring between Asian American women and White male partners) is a primary source of oppression for Asian American men. While such specifically racialized romantic tropes when they appear over-and-over-again in media can be endemic of Hollywood stereotypes, the political rhetoric that argues that an interracial relationship between an Asian American woman and her non-Asian American partner is de facto all about the absent Asian American man can also be used to rationalize the political shaming of Asian American women. When men are cast as victims of female sexual agency, the conversation becomes less about stereotypes and more about limiting women.

Too often, this perspective appears hand-in-hand with heteronormative language, while failing to more fundamentally criticize the basic tenets of mainstream toxic masculinity. To wit, the site places particular focus on heterosexual interactions while frequently describing them as the male partner “tagging” the woman. (If you need me to explain how this sort of language — which treats sex as a form of female possession while using imagery reminscent of dogs and fire hydrants — is sexist then you need to read this post.)

In one entry (that I clicked totally at random) from Kulture relating to two South Asian characters I know nothing about (Raj and Divya) appearing in a show I don’t watch (Royal Pains, although Snoopy does watch it so I’ll be asking him about this later), the author discusses Divya’s budding romance with a non-Asian romantic love interest (Rafa) before launching into this tangential tirade about how Asian American women perpetuate their own “abuse” by choosing non-Asian sexual partners:

Rafa scores with Divya repeatedly, then decides he doesn’t want to hang around. He leaves her pregnant & splits. Is it any wonder Asian women often find themselves in one-sided relationships with white men in real life and both parties view it as normal. They are too often viewed as a convenient, short-term sexual options for white men and Hollywood inculcates this idea. It sometimes even becomes a subconscious goal of Asian women to play this role, even if it doesn’t ultimately benefit them in the long-term.

Uhmmm, okay then.

In another entry, “The Interview” — that seethingly anti-Asian Seth Rogen / James Franco travesty that included pretty much every anti-Asian stereotype in the book including several misogynistic depictions of Asian women — is rather puzzlingly categorized as having committed the primary offense of casting Asian men as “unmasculine and effeminate”. An orgy scene from The Strain that includes an East Asian actress uses the basic logic of misogylinity to render an Asian American woman voiceless while her sexuality is appropriated to enhance the virility of the male protagonist; but, to Kulture, the scene is problematic because “Asian men are omitted”.

Uhmmm, okay then.

It would be safe to say that Kulture — in its current form —  appears to lack much of an Asian American female (or feminist) perspective. Instead, it appears to be written from an implicitly male and heteronormative point of view — one that is also deeply rooted within fundamental notions of toxic masculinity. This leaves me — as an Asian American woman and feminist — once again feeling both generally unsettled, and politically marginalized by a site that otherwise seeks to engage me as an ally. I think we can do better.

However, if Kulture’s mission and approach speaks to you, I invite you to learn more by visiting KultureMedia.org.

Update (October 1, 2015): Earlier today, Tim Gupta (founder of Kulture) reached out to me to address some of my concerns in this post. I very much appreciate the email I received from him, and his interest in participating in what I hope can be an ongoing debate not only about challenging anti-Asian stereotypes in pop culture, but also how our community can bridge the rhetorical divide between Asian American feminists and others in our community.

Here is what Tim had to say in an email to me (reproduced with his permission):

Jenn,

First, I appreciate the coverage of Kulture.  I know you have mixed feelings about the site and I don’t disagree with some of your observations.  The reality is our staff is mostly men and they bring their worldview and perspective to how they interpret the TV shows and movies they watch.  People all see through the prism of their life experiences.  So I’ll be self-critical and admit that it’s true we may suffer a bit from the same dynamic we observe in white Hollywood directors and writers.

I do disagree with your characterization of the site as “toxic masculinity” and I think that description is too harsh for our content. Both Asian men and women are given false roles by our media, and suffering from internalized racism is not the fault of either.  But we all owe it ourselves to be aware of how that subtle influence affects our decisions.

We’ve begun to correct our leaning towards the male perspective by adding our first woman writer- you can see her post here .  It’s our hope that this issue – of negative portrayals in our culture – is something we can unite on and combat together.  To that end, I invite anyone from Reappropriate and its readers to participate in Kulture.  Anyone can submit an offense report  with their perspective on what they watch.  We invite people to volunteer by emailing us at kulture@kulturemedia.org.

Best,

Tim

(For clarification, “toxic masculinity” is an existing term in feminist circles to describe how (White) patriarchy asserts a brand of masculinity that is harmful to men; I argue it to be particularly harmful to men of colour, and therefore particularly baffling for communities of colour to embrace. If you are unfamiliar with the term, I invite you to click through to the wiki to learn more.)

As I prefaced in this post and as I reinforced to Tim in my return email to him, I am generally in support of the premise of Kulture (as a crowd-sourced site to track media stereotypes) even while I have criticisms about Kulture’s current manifestation. I think that if Kulture can find a way to present a more inclusive (and therefore hopefully more feminist, more ethnically diverse, and less heteronormative) perspective, it might evolve into an important forum for expression for AAPI youth. In particular, I think it might be able to speak to some AAPIs who are currently disengaged from the political conversation and maybe also be a tool for a blogger like myself.

As I concluded above, I currently find Kulture disappointing and exclusionary, with little that speaks to me as a woman or a feminist. As it stands, it is not for me. However, if it is a venture you are interested in participating in, I continue to invite you to check the site out at KultureMedia.org.

Update (October 2, 2015): First of all, let me say I had no idea this post was going to garner as much attention as it has. But, now that it has, I think it’s important that everyone with clearly impassioned opinions on the subject of Kulture be able to use this space for expression. That includes elevating all important perspectives I’m receiving with regard to the site.

I received an email from a reader this morning that I think adds necessary context to this conversation. This reader — who wishes to remain anonymous to avoid misogynist harassment — directed me to the circumstances of Kulture’s founding, and which I think is crucial for understanding why women and feminists might feel excluded by Kulture’s end-product. Kulture was founded by members of the sub-reddit r/AsianMasculinity, and in this post, Kulture is explicitly described as an “Asian Masculinity inspired initiative” — the capitalization here leads one to presume the writer is referring to the subreddit, not the generic concept of Asian masculinity or male gender identity (which is, itself, a totally fine notion to build a site around). In a follow-up post, Kulture’s founders solicit volunteers to launch Kulture; in it, they establish a requirement that all volunteers “have at least one month’s posting experience on [r/AsianMasculinity]”. How can Kulture incorporate female and feminist perspectives if it requires that site volunteers participate in a forum that discourages female and feminist posters?

I also struggle to understand what all this means with regard to the site’s politics. It is unclear to me whether or not this posting requirement remains in effect for volunteers — my emails with Tim have not disclosed such a requirement, and indeed many of the site’s volunteers have appeared in the comments section soliciting volunteer participation without mentioning this prerequisite. However, the blurred line between Kulture and the r/AsianMasculinity subreddit is troublesome because according to my reader this subreddit has been notoriously hostile to Asian American feminism and women — the subreddit’s official rules treats feminism as a form of trolling, and its FAQs discourages (and would appear to even disallow) female posters from participating in the discussion. Another reader who commented in the thread below, and who appears to be supportive of Kulture, characterizes r/AsianMasculinity as “woman hating” (a characterization I can neither condone nor refute since I don’t spend any time there).

On the other hand, in a thread on r/AsianMasculinity discussing the post I am currently editing (oh my god, so meta!), some r/AsianMasculinity posters appear to be generally sympathetic to my criticisms, and supportive of infusing feminism into Kulture. Kulture’s site organizers are also on the thread clarifying their position on interracial marriage and issues of patriarchy — and frankly, there is a part of me that believes that sparking a serious consideration of patriarchy in a forum like r/AsianMasculinity is, itself, a positive step. This comment (the most upvoted in the thread) from r/AsianMasculinity summarizes my position on Kulture perfectly:

Kulture could deliver almost the exact same content without some of the editorialization. I.e. let the media offense speak for itself.

Agreed. Upvoted, if I weren’t too lazy to dig up my Reddit password so I could sign into my Reddit account.

Of course, scroll a little further down, and it becomes an anti-feminist insult-fest with regard to Asian American feminism in general, and me in particular. That sort of behaviour provides ample evidence to support my anonymous reader’s feminist concerns with the subreddit. But also to be fair, a lot (but not all) of the worst stuff is also being down-voted.

I’m not a Redditor. I personally know nothing about the inter-subreddit politics of Reddit’s Asian American community (which I know exist and are pretty influential). I personally have no meaningful opinion on r/AsianMasculinity, and will defer to my feminist allies on Reddit for a more informed opinion of the space. But, I find it disappointing that Kulture proudly emerged out of a subreddit which at the very least includes elements in its rules and regulations that are structurally hostile to feminism and female posters. This information helps to contextualize why Kulture might struggle to address stereotypes from a female and/or feminist perspective: apparently, it originated out of a space that itself struggles to address and include a progressive female and/or feminist perspective. For the sake of Kulture’s future prospects, I would sincerely urge Kulture’s staff to (or continue to?) take steps to distinguish itself from anti-feminist rhetoric, and to invite more feminist writers to participate. That alone will go a long way towards being more inclusive to all members of our community.

I reached out to Tim for further comment, and have invited him to add an addendum addressing these points if he so desires and that I will happily republish.

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  • Myra Esoteric

    Btw. I am not saying that Asian men do not face barriers in the media as well as in the SMP, but it’s telling how much of an outsize influence a 1997 article by Steve Sailer (a known white supremacist) has had on an entire generation of guys, Asian and non-Asian alike.

    The article is called “Is Love Colorblind” and it’s a mishmash of Just So stories and Sailer’s jealousy of the alleged athleticism of black guys.

  • Cchomp

    Pretty sure most of tumblrs of those type are run by white men. Many of the individual tweets might be real Asian women, but there does exist a significant race play community where individuals pretend to be Asian women praising white men and putting down Asian men.

  • Weird Al Yankovic

    It isn’t simply about “dating troubles” but rather the reasons behind them. The way Western media portrays Asian men and women is only part of this. The dating disparities within the Asian American community is but a symptom of the problems that need to be addressed.

    That said, why should we continue to tolerate being the butt of Western media’s desire for ethnic humor? Nowadays you wouldn’t see a JJ Evans (Good Times) or Felipe (Three’s Company)-type character as the one single PoC representation in any sitcom. Hollywood knows damn well that the Black and Hispanic community wouldn’t stand for that. Those communities are united and have enough political and financial clout to fight against that type of representation. But Han (2 Broke Girls), any character Ken Jeong plays (even Dr. Ken is shaping up to be yet another humiliating show), and Ricky (Kevin From Work) are flourishing.

  • even Dr. Ken is shaping up to be yet another humiliating show

    The pilot was rough but I think Dr. Ken will otherwise surprise you.

  • let me say that a lot of the Asian men who discuss this issue are not particularly intelligent, and come across very poorly. I’m trying not to be one of them, by using measured language / not engaging in name calling, etc.

    That effort is appreciated.

  • Asian women were viewed as maintaining economic power before it became a ‘thing’ in white culture as well

    Please clarify? Because there is not to my knowledge a moment in Asian American history where Asian American women were viewed as holding economic power. In fact, in most of the Chinatown garment worker strikes of the 1920’s and again in 1970’s-80’s, it was thousands of predominantly Asian American women who were striking against those who owned sweatshops — typically Asian of Asian American men — who were exploiting immigrant garment workers. This served as a major basis for the strikes, since there is understandable ethnic angst about striking against members of one’s own community. But nonetheless, these examples illustrate that for most of our presence in this country, it is Asian American men who held — and who were perceived as holding — economic power.

  • I want to add the addendum: just because I do not agree with your framing does not mean that I devalue the angst that compels you and others to prioritize the issue. My feminism actually prioritizes this issue — I simply ask that as we address the intersection of Asian American race and masculine identity, we search for a solution that doesn’t compromise the politics of Asian American women. As I wrote in another post, we can’t pursue a politic of misogyny. We can do better than that.

    It is quite frustrating to interact with some on this topic under the presumption that because I disagree, I don’t care. I care deeply about this issue. I would very much like to find a feminist solution, and I believe that feminist solution is progressive masculinity, not entitling some among us to sexual relationships with others in order to (re)create masculine self-esteem. That’s regressive methods for an “empowering” result; but the ends do not justify the means.

  • Skeet Duran

    Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook have much more strict rules in their policies regarding fake identities in posters’ profiles than Tumblrs.

  • Myra Esoteric

    I meant that Asian American women, and women in Asia have worked outside the home for quite some time.

  • Skeet Duran

    First and foremost, thank you for writing 2 elaborate eloquent posts, Jenn, with your framing of thoughtful heartfelt and caring of some issues in the AsAm community. I don’t know much about the feminist Grace Lee Boggs, but she has my full respect and condolences, R.I.P.

    which seems to suggest that stereotypes place Asian American men under threat of becoming “incel” — involuntarily celibate. This is language and framing that I think is troubling for its roots in the MRA movement, and stirs among its adherents the belief that men are entitled to female sexuality. The feminist would argue that no one is entitled to another person’s love.

    Stereotypes do have an affect on dating, there’s no doubt. Even in Asia, where there’s no racial bias or no racial aspect come into play, stereotypes generated and raised by the older generations can shape and form views for the younger generations in determining outcomes of dating prospects. Folks of older generations use their wise knowlege and experiences to teach younger boys and girls who they should marry and who they should avoid and not marry. Stereotypes formed to have class differences, educational differences, financial differences, etc., and this goes into play in dating for both genders.

    I don’t quite buy Jeong’s “stereotypes have nothing to do with anything” perspective, but it does illustrate why I think there is greater value in focusing on challenging our stereotypes of masculine identity, and of Asian American men (and women),

    Ken Jeong points out in a recent interview that while stereotypes might modulate one’s dating prospects, it is also possible that among certain extremists the impact of stereotypes on has been somewhat overstated in order to deflect blame externally — on actors, and/or on women. He says:

    We won’t know for sure unless there’s a comprehensive study conducted interviewing hundreds of American women what external forces shaped their views about the stereotypes they believed in about Asian men, that caused them not to date Asian men. Which of the following 3 forces is the most influencial for young girls to decide whether to date or not to date an Asian guy.

    1) from social media, movies, TV, youtube, KPop, etc.

    2) from other women

    3) from self-learned

    Nowadays with so many social media platforms, women are much smarter, they can evaluate Asian men much better directly without relying on movies or television. Self learned stereotypes are often just the physical traits that are obvious to see at the malls or wherever they see Asian guys, for instance an obvious physical trait about Asian men on average are shorter which make women prefer taller men. Other cultural stereotypes are not easily can be learned without inquiring from other experienced women who had already been in or currently in relationships with Asian men, in this regard, it’s usually the younger girls learning from older wiser women who are already in relationships with Asian men and whatever these older women say in terms of positive or negative stereotypes, the younger girls will pick up on those stereotypes and it’s a learning process. So when some women say negative stereotypes about Asian guys, that do have an impact or somewhat of an effect on the other younger girls influencing them to decide to whether they will date Asian men or not.

    None of this is intended to dismiss the potency of stereotypes on Asian American concepts of masculinity. In fact, I think that this racialized masculine angst among some cis-het Asian American men is very real and very potent, as it singularly defines many Asian American men’s relationship with race politics. I don’t think it is trivial stuff.

    In fact, it is in recognition of this angst that I strongly believe in challenging stereotypes, and advancing a more inclusive progressive masculinity that adapts to fit the many ways that men of colour create their masculine identity. I don’t think men of colour should be expected to shape who they are to fit some external idea of masculinity; I think masculinity should change to fit who men of colour are.

    Very much agreed, thank you.

    I’m older than many of these guys, happily married to a beautiful wife and we have 2 kids. I believe in traditional marriage, meet 1 woman, fall in love with her, marry her, and treat her right with respect. I don’t believe in this new wave of PUA strategies of masculinity to score with many different women that some Asian guys wished to become the next Asian Chris Brown, R. Kelly, or Bill Cosby. Sorry guys.

    rather than to focus so heavily on a framework that leaves men feeling entitled to a relationship, women shamed for exercising their sexual agency, and places a perhaps unsupported threat of “incel status” over the whole conversation.

    Exactly, let’s focus on traditional marriage, without the entitlement access to multiple women.

    I deeply appreciate the attempts to engage in respectful debate, as evidenced by yourself, Tim, and some of the others on this thread. However, I think we can also agree that the forums where Kulture has been most popular are characterized by folks who are incredibly hostile to feminism. To express a feminist ideology and to even attempt to reach across the aisle as a feminist on this issue only leaves one vulnerable to name-calling and other forms of mudslinging. Is it no wonder, therefore, that Asian American feminists are disinterested in conversing? Is it no wonder that I’ve basically chosen not to write about this subject, leaving you to erroneously conclude that I don’t take it seriously? All we really ever get when we approach these kinds of topics with respect is more insults hurled our way; that has almost zero impact on me, but it certainly would seem to be a form of self-sabotaging that encourages one’s own marginalization within the community.

    I’m not in the spaces where this stuff happens, but if genuine debate is to happen, might it not start by addressing the deluge of extremist anti-feminism and misogyny that is unfortunately tolerated with silence? Hell, might it not be of use to integrate an interest in a more multi-issue politic that includes issues beyond the dating disparity? Will those who prioritize this issue stand in defense of reproductive rights, which is a major issue for Asian American men and women? Will you be mourning Grace Lee Boggs today?

    I don’t condone and do not tolerate the toxic pua masculinity with silence, I used to engage them to provide with a more moderate view and more effective alternatives, but like you, I got the same bullying method and insults rained on me. Being older than many of these guys, I’m out of the dating world for over 15 years and my hands are full raising my family, so I don’t have time to be involved in the masculinity community. In short, being busy with my family and being silence is for me not accepting, not tolerating, and not condoning the toxic masculinity. Advocating traditional marriage is where it’s at.

    It is quite frustrating to interact with some on this topic under the presumption that because I disagree, I don’t care. I care deeply about this issue. I would very much like to find a feminist solution, and I believe that feminist solution is progressive masculinity, not entitling some among us to sexual relationships with others in order to (re)create masculine self-esteem. That’s regressive methods for an “empowering” result; but the ends do not justify the means.

    I hope you will have time in the future to lead and spearhead a feminist solution that will bridge gap the genders alliance so that Asian Americans can become more politically based driven rather than relationship masculinity based driven as its current state is at.

    My feminism actually prioritizes this issue — I simply ask that as we address the intersection of Asian American race and masculine identity, we search for a solution that doesn’t compromise the politics of Asian American women. As I wrote in another post, we can’t pursue a politic of misogyny. We can do better than that.

    Hell, might it not be of use to integrate an interest in a more multi-issue politic that includes issues beyond the dating disparity?

    Will those who prioritize this issue stand in defense of reproductive rights, which is a major issue for Asian American men and women?

    Totally agree with your first statement in this quote. As for Asian American politics at its current state, we first have to examine what the politicians are viewing us, are we disenfranchised as a group? Right now the AsAm votes have the biggest impact in the Dem party and at the local offices where there are high demographics of AsAm, local offices are where most AsAm politicans are elected, at the state and national levels it’s much more scarce and less of an impact.

    Per my article quote below, for the GOP party to take AsAm voters seriously, the AsAm community needs to raise the key number 5.6% to 10%, that’s the percentage of the AsAm population. AsAm can’t rely on Asian immigrants forever, if the GOP wins the presidency either Jeb Bush or Trump will come up with exotic policies to curb immigrations.

    Which means to get to 10% so that politicians (state to federal) will take AsAm issues into accounts more seriously, AsAm community needs to reproduce more often, thus the traditional marriage of love, caring, happiness, responsibility, family and 2 kids for all AsAm are prefered.

    Otherwise, the quote below “Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in the country and will comprise the largest immigrant population in the nation in several decades” will just be a prediction myth and will not become reality.

    “Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in the country and will comprise the largest immigrant population in the nation in several decades.

    You wouldn’t know these facts if listening to the Republican candidates on the campaign trail. After two GOP debates, the only mention of Asian Americans has been acid reference to “anchor babies,” with Governor Jeb Bush charging Asian Americans of “taking advantage of a noble concept of birthright citizenship” and Senator Lindsay Graham accusing them of “bastardizing citizenship.” Then there’s Donald Trump’s rhetoric on China, culminating in his cri de coeur of “we want deal!” in mock broken English before an audience in Dubuque, Iowa.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/latino-decisions/can-the-gop-win-over-asia_b_8243188.html

  • Weird Al Yankovic

    How many chances should I give Ken Jeong? After years and years of representing us in the worst possible way and making millions from selling out why should we still put any hope in this caricature? Even if after the 3rd season he suddenly does a 180° and becomes the second coming of Yuri Kochiyama by that time the damage is already done and the buffoon is what everyone will remember.

  • 1maybeso

    The fact that you are encouraging lax immigration from Asia and advocating for more marriage simply to create more babies for more political power in the U.S. is deplorable. That is the mentality of someone who does not want to intigrate, but instead wants to recruit foreigners for the sake of his preferred political causes. Absolutely horrible and unpatriotic. You see Asian immigrants as a tool for your own ends. And apparently you see Asian American women as baby making factories. Disgusting. The world has too many people. Advocating for increased Asian American baby making in the U.S. just for your own political agenda is irresponsible and racist. With 7.4 billion people on earth, 60% of which are of Asian decent, you want to weaponize the uteruses of Asian American women so that they will competitively outreproduce other races.

  • Skeet Duran

    I advocate for traditional marriage with love as the forefront, with caring, happiness, and responsibility. 2 kids is normal for a traditional family. Pretty sure the GOP, Trump, and the Bushes advocate for traditional marriage families with 2 kids too, but since they’re traditional white families, you are OK with it right? But for traditional Asian American families with 2 kids, you’re not OK with it, right?

    Baby making factories are like many cases in Asia and Nigeria where they pump out babies for sale on the illegal adoption markets. Or would you prefer the PUA’s way of Baby making factories for men to learn strategies to have sex with multiple women to give births to multiple babies with different women without taking responsibilities or ownerships?

  • 1maybeso

    I am first and foremost a environmentalist. I do not agree with your ideas of reproduction as a competitive political sport, not matter how much you want more Asian American political power. Not only is that a terrible idea in terms of the environment, it is a terrible reason to bring a baby into the world.

  • Skeet Duran

    I wrote:

    the traditional marriage of love, caring, happiness, responsibility, family and 2 kids for all AsAm are preferred

    I did not demand it as a requirement for marriage, I specifically said “preferred” which means it’s up to the women’s choices.

    You are an environmentalist, which means you don’t want women to have choices to have children at all, children would overpopulate this country according to pseudo-environmentalists like you, right?

    According to this study, highly educated women want more than 2 children.

    http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/05/07/childlessness-falls-family-size-grows-among-highly-educated-women/

    The average Americans, which is at least 50% of Americans want at least 2 children.

    http://www.statista.com/statistics/274025/number-of-children-americans-would-like-to-have/

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/27973/americans-25-children-ideal-family-size.aspx

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/08/ideal-size-of-the-american-family/

  • my account

    Hi Jenn,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I began writing and asking questions here (and on reddit’s askfeminists threads and some other places) because I plan on starting a book of advice for angry disillusioned AA men. I wanted to ask some questions, throw some stuff out there to figure out something: does feminism have anything to offer AA men, particularly disillusioned young AA men? After posting and reading here, I’ve come to one simple conclusion: feminism is ORTHOGONAL to the concerns of young AA men.

    That is to say, feminism in no way supports or addresses the concerns of young AA men in any realistic manner (yes, progressive masculinity is a fine goal, and eventually maybe we’ll all have our consciousness raised to that advanced level, but I don’t see it happening within the next 10 years, and I don’t think you should reasonably expect a young AA man to put up with a shit dating life for 10 years waiting for everyone’s collective consciousness to be raised to a level of “progressive masculinity.” That’s unfair to them.)

    At the same time, I believe disillusioned young AA men can achieve their goals in a way that is non-patriarchal and not actively anti-feminist. In fact, given the current sociopolitical climate, in which feminists like Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham are dictating the cultural direction, it’s virtual social suicide for a young AA man to seem patriarchal or anti-feminist. For that reason alone, I will encourage AA men to adopt a (at least outwardly) pro-feminist, or at least not anti-feminist, stance.

    I feel I am uniquely qualified to address the issues faced by disillusioned young AA men. Why? Because I once was one of them… and yet in spite of that, in the 10 years since I’ve left college, I’ve managed to build quite a lifestyle: a life filled with exciting experiences and travel, high six figure salary while doing less than 20 hours a week of real work, and a large variety of sexual partners and experiences that have been exciting and satisfying (personally I’m a very sex positive person, also I don’t see the last statement as being objectifying; I’m simply a very sex-driven person, which is my right, and I don’t deserve to be slut-shamed for feeling this way). I was mainly asking questions to figure out whether feminism is of practical help to these young men, whether I should incorporate it into what I’m planning on teaching them, and… yep, turns out feminism isn’t opposed to their interests, but it is orthogonal / irrelevant.

    So, what do I plan on teaching these young AA men? (Please let me know if any of these statements are inherently patriarchal or anti-feminist; I’d like to cleanse my teachings / philosophy of patriarchy since given racist stereotypes lobbed at us AA men cannot risk appearing patriarchal in ANY way).

    1) If you want sex, enjoy sex, find sex exciting, then pursue it in a SEX-POSITIVE way. Don’t make sex about dominating or controlling another person (unless in the context of people who wish to be dominated or controlled). Definitely don’t make sex about getting back at anyone or lashing out at racist society. But DO explore sex to the fullest. Explore kink. Join a sex club. DON’T let anyone, other Asian women, other Asian men, white people, your family, etc etc tell you that sex is wrong, or that your (consensually explored) fetishes are wrong. Those people are slut shamers.

    2) YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING. With the way society has treated you as an Asian man, you don’t owe society much. If you work and make money, do it for what YOU WANT. If you want to travel, do it. If you want to explore sexual fantasies, join a sex club, build yourself a dungeon at home, and invite your kink friends there to party. Make money to support your desires, your interests, your heart’s content. With the way society has shat on you your entire life, YOU DESERVE TO ENJOY YOURSELF.

    3) If you’ve become as disillusioned as I am with American society and our place in it, do what I do: live life as an interesting hedonist. Pursue activities that stimulate you. Go to sporting events and concerts. Travel the world. Eat great food. Develop a taste for fine wine or scotch. Experiment with recreational drugs, particularly the ones that expand your mind, like hallucinogens. Note that many of the Asian men I know who have a lot of sexual intercourse are tangentially involved in the drug scene; perhaps this is coincidence, but personally I don’t think this is true. Note also that when I say recreational drugs, I am EXPLICITLY not including heroin and other opiates, which cause truly debilitating physical addictions. Note also that recreational drugs while fine in small doses, should be used in moderation and in a highly controlled manner. Being an interesting hedonist makes for a more fun, exciting life, and almost by default has provided me opportunities for exciting sexual experiences, particularly while traveling. I’ve been so busy being an interesting hedonist that I often FORGET about all the crap in American society that’s made me upset in the first place!

    4) Enjoying yourself to the fullest and being an interesting hedonist requires money. Luckily, this is a place where being an AA man is actually often beneficial. Yeah like most Asian dudes, you’ll get a bullshit corporate drone job, realizing that most of these jobs (especially in the tech sector) require <20hrs a week of work. Even better, the work can be done remotely, say, from a beach in Portugal… or a beach in Costa Rica… or a beach in Thailand. In fact, after a few years of work, if you're even decently good at marketing yourself, you can branch out into being an independent consultant, and work remotely completely. In keeping with the money theme, learn how to invest. Learn how to spot opportunities to make money, too. People have gotten rich off bullshit ebooks, bullshit kickstarters, the Internet provides infinite ways to get money into your pocket. Since I'm fluent in Chinese, I've started a Chinese language blog that describes how racist Americans are towards Asians, and in turn mocks American arrogance, calling them dumb and fat. The ad clicks on this blog allow me to double my salary every month. Find your own niche, and get as much out of it as possible.

    5) Don't pursue careers in science. It's been sold to many Asian Americans as a prestigious profession, but the amount of work put into it, compared to the salary, is just not worth it. Maybe if you're the kind of person who really does give a shit about this society we live in, science can be nice, it's nice to feel like you're helping people. But if you actively feel rejected by this society that marginalizes you at every turn, why the fuck should you care? If you're smart enough to do science, you're sure as fuck smart enough to do something more profitable, like tech work. Even within tech work, keep abreast of trends, see what will be most profitable down the road.

    6) Don't worry too much about breaking the bamboo ceiling. DO learn how to negotiate salary, and how to interview well, give a good impression, things that will actually get you a higher salary. It's the 21st century. The old corporate model of work is going the way of the dinosaurs. I know people who make more than corporate executives while working from home (or from remote locations) in their PJ's. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median CEO pay is $170,000. At my last corporate job, I was making $170,000 as a top engineer. My manager? He only made $150,000, while having to show up to early morning meetings all the time (meanwhile I rolled into work at 11 am). Think I gave 2 shits about "breaking the bamboo ceiling" when my fucking manager made less than I did? The way I see it, I had my dumb fuck manager by the balls — there were parts of the project he couldn't figure out to save his life, so he HAD to tolerate me showing up late, making more than him, hell I even openly disrespected him and talked over him in meetings. When I quit the job, my manager offered me a 10% raise. I politely declined, because I could make twice as much by doing some consulting work / AirBNB-ing my apartment / writing Chinese blogs for ad revenue. I went to two AA "leadership organization" meetings before; basically a bunch of middle aged Asians talking about how hard they have it sucking up to the white man in the corporate world, how they can teach us about leadership (aka proper sucking up to the white man techniques). Then I realized I was 15 years younger than them, and already making twice their salary; what did I have to learn from them? You wanna grab the corporate world by the balls? Data science, data mining, AI, semiconductor design, mobile operating systems, Android compilers. Pick one of the above, and study the SHIT out of it. Thank me when you're 25 years old and making high six figures while working remotely in some exotic foreign country. The future is talented people working dynamically using technology to collaborate; executives and managers are becoming increasingly useless.

    7) If you're in college right now, and you're a disillusioned Asian dude, it's probably not surprising that you found my blog. I know that things are hard for you right now, and the exciting fun/partying/sex lifestyle that you desire seems to be beyond you; but please understand, everyone peaks at a different time. For Asian men, particularly smart ambitious Asian men who live like I do and find ways to make good money without being a corporate slave, the peak tends to be the right after college years, 23-29 or so. (I've seen this time and time again). Everyone peaks at different times. The guys who peaked in high school, by now you've probably already seen that their lives have gone downhill, they aren't as cool in college. The frat boy types who peak in college, either end up as total failures once they get out into the real world, or end up doing ok but quickly lose interest in the "fun and partying and sex" lifestyle. For lack of a better term, they got it out of their system. If you feel like you need to get it out of YOUR system, then just wait for your peak to come. I feel like I peaked from about 25 to 29. It's not that now that I'm past my peak, I can't live a fun / party / sex lifestyle. It's just that it does grow boring after a while; I've gotten it out of my system. In the meantime, do as much as you can to maximize your future peak. Lift, exercise, learn a new language, pursue new hobbies, hit the books hard, do side projects that may benefit your career in the future. A lot of life comes down to maximizing your peak. And the best part? I've seen EVERY guy who peaked between 23 and 29 come out of it with a great future ahead of them. I've seen half the guys who peaked in college come out of it with a great future ahead of them. And I've seen NONE of the guys who peaked in high school come out of it with a great future ahead of them. There's something to be said for peaking later (but not TOO late; that's how the creepy 30-something dude at the club comes to be. And no, I don't frequent the clubs anymore).

    So the above is copy and pasted from a blog that I'm about to get off the ground. I plan on using the blog to expound on each of my "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" for young Asian American men: advice on living a fun lifestyle, advice on career, investing, dating, etc. I will add the disclaimer that my advice is beneficial to some, but certainly not all, AA men; not everyone has these sorts of desires in their life. Note that nothing I said above is inherently anti-feminist (unless I'm wrong? I'm explicitly trying to NOT make it patriarchal, please feel free to critique). I think this can be beneficial to a lot of young AA men, and will help them live a freeing life that's more true to themselves, away from the model minority expectations of white society, their parents, etc etc.

    Also, @@MelaninManson:disqus, I find it interesting that you mentioned that the reason for affirmative action and criminal justice reform can be framed in economic terms. As an AA man, I've contributed little of real worth to society yet become wealthy in the process, and spent most of that wealth overseas due to my disillusionment with American society (and just because traveling is fun and exciting). When young, intelligent, disillusioned AA men come to me for advice, I encourage them to do the same (as they have every right to). Many of them have taken me up on the advice; one of my best pupils has established a mini-vending machine empire in southern California, sold a number of poker ebooks, and peddles bullshit consulting advice in the IT industry, all while traveling around the world living out of four star hotels and AirBNBs, spending his American dollars out there. I can definitely see more young AA men following my life philosophy. The question is, can that be economically healthy for American society? To have many of its most educated young men disillusioned to the point that they don't believe in contributing to society and instead are more interested in efficiently making money to be spent on James Bond-esque adventures overseas? After my fruitful debate with you, I came to the sudden realization that real change only comes when there are economic consequences; when people "vote with their pocketbooks" so to speak. Thanks to globalization, AA men can now make their money in America (where it is still easier than anywhere else to get rich) while voting with their pocketbooks elsewhere.

    "I saw the best minds of my generation, peddling bullshit poker ebooks, taking their money overseas, losing any interest in the so-called American dream that their parents had moved across the ocean for…"

  • Skeet Duran

    advice on living a fun lifestyle, advice on career, investing, dating, etc.

    What you are preaching is the simple level of life. It’s not hard at all to have hundred-thousands to a million dollars in the bank accounts and spending that to have booze, drugs, and sex with many different girls. You are definitely living the Tiger Woods, Bill Cosby’s styles of life.

    The next level is actually harder and you’re not there yet. Having a long-term relationship with a girl and maintaining that relationship to influence thousands of other disillusioned Asian guys in a positive way is actually much harder to attain. Trust me, I’ve seen many Asian guys in relationships tried to do that, and they failed.

    I agreed with the part where you said your lifestyle only applies to SOME Asian guys, the term I would describe those guys are “players”. Please don’t try to teach all disillusioned Asian guys your lifestyle, that would be counterproductive as it would hurt Asian guys more than help them.

    I want to defend Taylor Swift a little bit, I’m not sure why you think she’s anti-AMs. From little that I know about her, she helped Lorde to overcome the haters she received for dating an Asian guy James Lowe. Taylor became friends with Lorde and the time they spent at the beach showed the media and the haters that Lorde had a powerful friend backing her up. Since that encounter, Lorde became more confident and continued to have a stronger bond with James Lowe. In a way, I gave Taylor credit for her help, she could had told Lorde to dump James, but Taylor didn’t do that, being friends with Taylor helped getting the haters off Lorde’s back.

    BTW, since you’re an expert at IT, do you know the Asian guys who are CEOs and run DISQUS, are you acquaintances with them ?

  • Petsooben

    I’m disappointed in you, Jenn. Tim has responded, and yet you have not published his comments.

    “I reached out to Tim for further comment, and have invited him to add an addendum addressing these points if he so desires and that I will happily republish.”

  • Tim did not indicate an interest to have his very lengthy email republished, and also I’m using my editorial discretion to not wander into the weeds of inter-sub-Reddit politics. In the substance of what was returned to me, there was no novel information provided that was not encompassed in Tim’s original email to me (which was republished in its entirety and without editing). Instead, Tim and I had a very courteous and meaningful email exchange, which resulted in Tim telling me (I hope sincerely) that what I had given him in my return email had caused him to at least rethink to some degree his own assessment of how he had been framing his interaction(s) with other AA feminist subreddits; the suggestion of reconsideration also influenced my decision to leave this post here.

    I’m disappointed by your insinuation that I have been anything but fair to your site, Petsooben. Tim did not give me a comment for publication, so I opted to respect the fact that we had appeared to transition to a private email conversation. Your decision to chastise me here is not appreciated.

  • Also, Petsooben, if you want to respond back with your own thoughts on the second update, you can continue to do so as a comment.

  • Pavel

    Here’s another project of Tim’s. http://nonwhite.com/

    I’ll let you take a look at it and see if this type of person you want to be associated with.

  • Observer157

    Once again Jenn proves to a total joke. What do you expect from someone who self proclaims to represent Asian American women, yet has a history of dating zero Asian people. Not every single blog has to cater to your extreme anti-Asian-male, extreme feminist worldview. Even after you found out the origins of that site came from frustrated Asian American males, you still don’t get it. It’s also clear you censor free speech if you didn’t publish Tim’s responses. Why don’t you next cluelessly go to a Frank Chin discussion group and complain why they don’t love your idol Amy Tan

  • Observer157

    You do not represent ‘the politics of Asian American women’. You may be born Asian but your politics are very much NOT representing Asian American women. You are closer to how blacks see Stacey Dash

  • MelaninManson

    This is, quite frankly, ridiculous. First, Black people are individuals with free will, who view Stacey Dash in all sorts of ways. Second, whatever concerns you may have with the content of this blog, however unrefined, do not require blanket statements that condemn the blog writer here. She is an Asian American woman, so obviously her perspectives reflect those of some Asian American women. If you are interested in those perspectives, read more. If not, read more. It’s the only way you will learn something.

  • MelaninManson

    Observer, you do realize that a person’s dating history is no prerequisite for being an Asian American woman, yes? Your childish response reflects a deep-seated misunderstanding of what this blog is, and who it serves.

    Asian American male frustration is not the focus of this blog. This blog examines Asian American politics and culture from a feminist perspective, to offer clarity and support to Asian American women, and the Asian American community generally. The writer of this blog cares very deeply about all genders and perspectives within the vast Asian American community landscape, but her perspective often reflects economic progressivism, heavily informed by a deep and unwavering commitment to social justice. In short, this is a feminist blog.

    You do not have to agree with or support the blog author’s feminism, Observer157. But you are not allowed in this space to denigrate anyone with whom you disagree. Your comment is factually inaccurate and overtly ignorant. Further, it’s 2016: anti-miscegenation arguments have no currency today. If you have difficulty moving beyond your frustration as an Asian American male, that’s unfortunate. The best solution for you is to read more of this blog, to evaluate its arguments objectively.

    You clearly need help, Observer. Best of luck to you.