I’m an Asian American woman, and I’m not your happy ending

A billboard outside of LAX. (Photo credit: Christine Lu)
A billboard outside of LAX. (Photo credit: Christine Lu)

I remember seeing this billboard on my first trip to Las Vegas. I was really young — maybe a teenager — and this was long before I became an Asian American feminist and “hacktivist”.

This was during my “Asian-spotting” phase, when seeing Asian things gave me a secret thrill. So I remember this racy billboard as one of the first images greeting me as we rolled onto the Strip, and I recognized myself in it.

But I remember also being confused: why was me, my identity, my Asian-ness being portrayed in this way? What did being Asian have to do with being a naked woman? And, ‘happy ending’? What did that mean?

I’m a little older now, and I can now look back at that moment with equal parts horror and disgust. This — this —¬†was one of my first images of Asian American womanhood; and this is the image of Asian American womanhood that still shapes the self-identity of too many young Asian American women today.

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