when i was coming home on the bus, i ran into my coworker, who’s a poetic, fierce, southeast asian woman. i sat by her and listened to her talk about her death & desire in india class. it’s a literature class i was thinking of taking early on in the quarter and i was so glad i didn’t take it after she told me about the professor. the professor apparently is a “spiritual” white man with dreadlocks who thought his months-long travels in india made him an expert on everything indian and ignored her when she & other southeast asian ppl called him out. he spoke of india as a “backwards” country and crunched indian women into his violently sexual fantasies, painting them as little more than half-naked harem girls. on his powerpoint presentation, “death and desire in india” was written across in typical “asian”-looking font and two goddess, painted in red, were posed seductively across the screen.
she asked him: “who are those goddesses? i’ve never seen them before.” he replied, “oh i just created them from two goddesses”. he had chopped up the goddesses and plastered them together to create a frankenstein-like model. do you understand how sick, how fetishistic, how vile that is, white man? to take the limbs, the breasts, the eyes of different goddess and piece them together for your liking? as if asian women aren’t molded for your liking already…
we were laughing and mocking this ignorant white man, so clueless and horny like a stupid, clumsy teenage boy. but i felt so unclean, afraid and dizzy and nauseous, as if i could feel the sticky, slippery palms of lustful white men clawing to take any bite of me. self-entitled men, eyes filled with images of every API woman, posed, polished, and primped for his consumption. their greedy breaths on my face, their sweaty hands clamped over my mouth, blue eyes - blue eyes everyone finds so beautiful but which i fucking hate! - staring staring staring waiting to eat me alive. my body not my body my body not my body a sushi platter for anyone to tear off a chunk and consume raw bloody screaming
during these moments i want to rip shred fucking tear off handfuls of my flesh, feeling like i’ll never wash off this feeling, knowing that millions of men are jerking themselves off to images of API women, thinking that any glass-eyed, coyly pouting asian women would do, thinking that i’m on the meat market and my body is free for their taking, thinking that they can just take a chunk a piece a bite
“i tried to talk to him,” she said, “but i felt like he just thought i was feisty.”
even our anger is fetishized by these men. what more could they want? the usual coyly innocent, submissive, gently sexual asian girls but wild in bed, fiery, fiesty. even my personality is smashed into their fantasies. an asian, an asian girl, who’s a bad girl. a bad girl. i’m a bad girl. here i am — splayed on my back, legs open, submissive yet wild, i’ll do anything you want, baby. me love you long time. who am i to speak up? to speak for my people, my culture, my body, myself? who am i to defend my hips, my legs, my thighs, my ass, my face? i’m not a girl? great! they like asian boys & tr***ies, too!
so much pain, so much soreness right now. my body remembers trauma even when my mind doesn’t. it warns me: don’t trust white men. i’m crying. i’ve never dated a white man who saw my consuming sadness, my bruised anger, my storage of words, my gentle love, my messy ugly beauty outside of the color of my yellow skin, the slant of my eyes, my obedience to my parents, the way my culture shapes me but not all of me.
when will my body be mine? i can’t be your erotic your exotic. i won’t be your erotic your exotic.