By Guest Contributor: Evelyn Kim (@wordsfromevelyn)
Dear Asian American Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs):
I’ve come across your Reddit threads, your Twitter profiles, and your takes on pop culture. I’m writing to call you out on your take on masculinity, Asian American women, and feminism. Whether you choose to read on or not will reveal your willingness to hear out a fellow Asian American woman’s take on your opinions: it’s your call.
Though you might not have labelled yourself as an MRA, if you agree that the feminist movement takes power away from men, this letter is for you. From what I’ve read, the MRA community began in the early 1970s as an assertion that gender equality had gone too far, and that women had actually started to, in Beyoncé’s words, run the world. The MRA movement has resurfaced online in Asian American digital circles. But the MRA perspective overlooks that men already possess rights and privileges that women do not. So here’s the first thing for you to consider: the point of feminism is not to take your power away.
The term “Men’s Rights Activists” demands that we prioritize the alleged victimization of men. It poses the question, “What about the oppression that we, Asian-American men face? What about our rights?” When this question is posed in opposition to feminism, it suggests that you see empowerment as a limited resource— what some would label as a scarcity mindset— wherein the more empowered that women (particularly Asian American women) are, the more “emasculated” you see yourselves as becoming. But feminism isn’t about taking anything away from people. Neither is it primarily about you (men) in the first place, but as men, your supporting role in feminism is an essential one. In a society that dismisses women’s opinions and complaints as insubstantial or overly emotional, you, as men, can leverage your gender privilege to help others listen to what women have to say.
Just over a month after her feticide conviction was overturned by an Indiana Appeals Court, Purvi Patel has been freed.
Patel had been charged and convicted of the conflicting charges of feticide (actions leading to the death of a fetus) and child neglect (neglect of a living infant) after suffering what she describes was a miscarriage that resulted in the loss of her 25-week-old fetus. Patel was the first woman in Indiana to be successfully tried under the state’s new feticide laws after the law was also used to pursue charges against another pregnant Asian American woman who had lost her fetus, even though Indiana’s feticide law had originally been passed to protect pregnant women from domestic abuse resulting in loss of their pregnancy. After a much publicized trial, Patel’s guilty verdict resulted in a 20 year jail sentence that outraged feminists and reproductive rights activists (myself included).
Earlier this summer, an Indiana Appeals Court reexamined the case against Patel, and ruled that the feticide law had been inappropriately applied beyond the scope of its original intent. The appeals judge in Patel’s case wrote in the favorable decision, “given that the legislature decriminalized abortion with respect to pregnant women only two years before it enacted the feticide statute, we conclude that the legislature never intended the feticide statute to apply to pregnant women.”
By Guest Contributor: Brian Kent
Most readers are likely aware that human and sex trafficking is a serious problem in countries such as Thailand and India. In fact, Asian women are the most trafficked group worldwide. But, readers may not know that human and sex trafficking of Asian women is a large problem here in the United States, as well. While abuse lawyers like those at AbuseGuardian.com can help victims of human and sex trafficking take legal action against their captors, trafficking is an issue that has sadly gone widely unnoticed in America.
70% of human trafficking victims worldwide are girls or adult women. Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) are disproportionately trafficked into sex work in America. Although APIs represent roughly 6% of Americans, nearly half of trafficked people into America are API, making APIs the second largest group of human trafficking victims in the Americas, and the largest group of people trafficked into the region. According to a 2004 U.S. Department of Justice report, 7,800 Asians and Pacific Islanders were trafficked into America out of an estimated 14,500-17,500 trafficked people. More recent reports from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime show that more than 1 in 3 human trafficking victims in Northern and Central America originated from East Asia, South Asia or the Pacific Islands, and most of them are trafficked to the United States or Canada.
Last week, toxic masculinity claimed its latest victims. In Mukilteo, Washington, 19-year-old Allen Ivanov has been arrested after driving to a house party where several of his high school friends were gathering, and shooting to death his ex-girlfriend, Anna Bui, along with two fellow classmates, Jordan Ebner and Jake Long; a fourth unidentified friend was also injured in the attack.
Ivanov killed Bui, Ebner and Long, with a legally purchased AR-15 which he appears to have bought specifically to carry out the attack. Pictures of the long-gun were posted to Ivanov’s social media in the days prior to the attack, along with cryptic messages about his plans to carry out the murders. After shooting Bui and their friends, Ivanov escaped and was arrested in his car nearly 100 miles from the scene of the attack. Both Ivanov and Bui were identified as students at the University of Washington, and over the weekend, the school sent out an email mourning the shooting and encouraging students to attend grief counseling.
Friends say that Bui had broken up with Ivanov either a month ago and/or in the week prior to the attack (depending on whom you ask), and she seems to have been the primary target of his assault. One friend told the Daily Mail that Ivanov had been “depressed” after his relationship with Bui ended, and that minutes after the shooting, Ivanov sent a text saying “I just killed my ex-girlfriend” and contemplated suicide. Other friends described Ivanov as incapable of such violence; but, in contrast, that he “often had a jealous side” and that he acted as if he had “something to prove”.
Anna Bui is the latest name in a heartbreaking list of women whose lives were taken by men who resort to violence in the wake of the ending of an intimate relationship — like Bui, many of those women are Asian American women. The role of toxic masculinity and misogylinity, and its assertion of male entitlement over female sexuality, in violent killings such as these cannot be ignored. According to the White House, 40% of mass shootings in the United States begin with a shooter targeting a current or former romantic partner, while intimate partner violence is four times more likely to involve a female victim than a male one. Put another way: 70% of victims killed by an intimate partner are women.
Gothamist reports today that the NYPD are seeking the public’s help in identifying two suspects in an alleged anti-Asian hate crime that occurred last month on the New York City subway.
According to police, a 29 year old Asian American woman was riding the 1 subway with her parents when she reported that two women boarded the car she was in at the 86th street station. The women, who were reportedly wearing multicoloured leis, approached the victim and began beating her while shouting anti-Asian slurs.