My feminism is constantly evolving. How can it not, when the world keeps changing? Each day, I make choices that support or undermine my identity as a cis, hetero, Asian woman who values human rights for all people. My feminism urges me to notice when someone says, “Women of color,” followed by synonym clarification, “Black women, Latina women,” leaving Asian women excluded. My feminism requires me to understand that the root of all discrimination is a single source and the only way to dissolve the power of that source is to stand in solidarity with all people who are oppressed.My feminism developed slowly over time, with growth spurts here and there. One day my feminism won’t have to be labeled “feminism;” I’ll be able to call it something more accurate and inclusive: humanism.
As a teenager, I didn’t proclaim being a feminist. I didn’t understand that feminists aren’t the one dimensional militant and angry characters that I assumed they were through absorbing popular culture. I did, however, challenge the feminine gender role by sporting t-shirts from thrift stores and resisting time intensive morning beauty regimes (although I did desire to be beautiful). I know that I was a feminist back in the day, even though I didn’t consider myself so, because the lack of Asian representation in my Seventeen magazines made me MAD AS HELL. Awareness of inequality bounced around my consciousness, I just didn’t know how to express it.
In what felt like a whim, I auditioned for the Vagina Monologues production at my college and ended up performing a piece I wrote myself, titled “Super V.” I haven’t performed on stage since, nor have I talked about my vagina’s adventures in quite the same way. However, saying “vagina” on stage made saying it in any other context quite comfortable.
The field study work I did for my Women’s Studies minor was at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I answered the phone and scheduled appointments. Sometimes I threw shade at the protesters who held poster-sized photos of fetuses. Roe v. Wade happened long before I became sexually active, and although I never had to make the difficult decision of whether or not to have an abortion, I appreciate that the option was available.
I’m 36 and wear make-up. I like wearing make-up. I like that it’s a choice and that my sense of self-worth isn’t attached to the practice. Many times I leave the house sans make-up and feel great that that’s an option for me, too.
So where does the AF come in? It happened fairly recently. I was comfortable calling myself a feminist until January 20, 2017. But these days, the AF feels necessary. It’s like adding an exclamation point, or a stern look so people know that if they try to brush me off, they’ll end up getting cut. I’m angry that a man who brags about sexually assaulting women is the president of the United States. My anger has turned on other aspects of our
culture that I’ve either been blind to until now or was too lazy to deal with (probably a little of both): WHERE ARE THE ASIAN FEMINISTS? I’m talking Asians who claim feminism. I admire Constance Wu and recognize that she’s voiced feminist opinions. I want to hear more Asians speak up about feminism. I need more Asian feminists in my life! Until now, the feminist voices that’ve resonated most with me are those of African Americans. I love and appreciate those voices, but in the coming months, I’ll be looking for feminists who speak about the harm of the “model minority” label. I seek stories about the struggle to shatter the one dimensional stereotype of submissive Asian woman. I want to understand the experience of being an Asian male who’s constantly emasculated by American standards of masculinity. Will other Asian feminists please stand up and share your stories?
If dropping some f bombs is what I need to feel better and get me through each day, I’m going to. I don’t buy the whole women have it really good and we should just be happy with what we’ve got, bullshit. I think anger has its place and shouldn’t be rushed out the door to make space for blind faith and superficial happiness. I’m fired up. I’m feeling angry. I refuse to pretend like everything is okay. EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY. During the next four years or however long this everything is not okay era lasts, I will adapt and act as I see fit because I’m constantly evolving; right now I happen to be FEMINIST AS FUCK.