Aziz Ansari, and the Crossroads of Our Era

Aziz Ansari

By Guest Contributor: Bessie Chu

I have some probably unpopular opinions about the Aziz Ansari misconduct story. And I’m calling it misconduct because – at least for me – what Aziz did doesn’t fall under the category of a sexual assault. Maybe I’m blinded by my love for Master of None, but I can’t put him in the same category as Harvey Weinstein or Larry Nassar. In particular, Nassar’s horrifying abuse of generations of Olympic athletes shows that even our country’s greatest champions couldn’t escape all of this; never mind, then, the countless working women whose faces will never grace CNN cameras, Time magazine covers, or red carpets.

I believe Grace. I believe her pain; and, I believe she was overwhelmed; and, I believe Aziz crossed a line. And, when I look at the story — which I think Babe.net handled irresponsibly —  it seems like the whole encounter likely brought up prior trauma from Grace. So, she froze. This is really common and it is something we – all of us — have to consider when we’re in the bedroom. Aziz should have stopped. Even if the story is more complicated, I can’t with these editorials calling Grace a weak woman for not ‘resisting harder,’ especially when a lot of times ‘resisting harder’ escalates to full-on violence. Grace isn’t just a hapless victim or a snowflake, but Aziz doesn’t get off scot-free either.

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I’m in the 78%: Asian Americans and Reproductive Choice

InInThe78

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, marked the 41st anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which established a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices — including abortion — under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Yet, over forty years later, abortion and other reproductive health policies that protect women’s rights continue to be under attack by the Republican Right. Yesterday’s anniversary of Roe was marked by anti-abortion rallies throughout the country, including thousands of pro-life activists who descended onto Washington D.C.’s National Mall. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is debating new guidelines under its national re-branding efforts that would encourage or even require pro-life party members to be more vocal in their anti-abortion stances. These developments predict escalating rhetoric over women’s reproductive health in the coming years; and this growing polarization is only likely to further hinder women’s access to reproductive freedom.

In some studies, Asian Americans women suffer among the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases; in one, 13.5% of Asian American women in 2001  reported a sexually transmitted infection (STI) compared to 8.3% of White women, and were four times more likely than Asian American men to report an STI. Furthermore, in 2000, 35% of Asian American pregnancies ended in abortion, compared to only 18% of pregnancies among White women. These rates occur despite some studies showing relatively high condom use among Asian American youth; some scientists have argued that despite these findings, cultural stigmas against conversations on sexual topics hinder a comprehensive sexual education among young Asian Americans, leading to gaps in reproductive and sexual health knowledge that can result in high rates of STDs (some that often go unreported) and unplanned pregnancies.

Taken together, these data clearly indicate that reproductive health is a critical, if woefully under-discussed, concern for Asian American women. Furthermore, any effort to target public policies that promote reproductive health access will impact women in our community.

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