Asian American Sexual Politics

In Asian American Sexual Politics: The Construction of Race, Gender, and Sexuality, Rosalind S. Chou investigates Asian American sexualized and gendered placement in the American context. In the first chapter, Why Asian American Sexual Politics?, Chou discusses the exclusion of Asian people from the mainstream feminist scholarship. By arguing for an intersectional approach to gender and sexual discourse, Chou pulls on feminist theory that Black feminists have created to make space for Black gender minorities. In this chapter, she goes on to summarize framing, and how the white racial frame European Americans undertake usually excludes and sort racial minorities. She further explains how these frames were created to serve wealthy white men “since early colonial conquests” (20). Chapter 4 explores the oppression that Asian women endure in this country and the psychological impacts of that trauma. Chou claims that all women are sexualized, but white women are awarded psychological and material privileges un-available to women of color” (79). She illustrates how these hierarchal standards persist within the Asian community with colorism. This specifically puts Asian women in a place where they are not sexually and romantically sought after, and when they are, Asian women are often seen as fetishes. She also illustrates how these hierarchal standards persist within the Asian community with colorism. In Chapter 5, Chou explores how the White supremacist system effect Asian American men. The author contends that Asian American men are not given the space to extend their emotions, which pushes some men to fit in boxes, forcing them to take on a “geek” persona or encourages them to act out with violence (111). She also shows how Asian men somewhat differ from Asian women with their experience of physical violence. In the 6th Chapter, Chou explains Asian American relationship to sex. She negates the idea that people’s relationships are solely rooted in love. She shows how Asian Americans’ sexual politics, not only illustrates the “home-culture frame” Asian people might grasp onto to defend themselves from white oppression but also how Asian Americans date out of their race. This also comes with pushback, especially in its interference with the white hegemonic society.

I appreciate how Rosalind Chou’s usage of overt and subconscious racism characterizes the extensive oppression Asian American people go through. By doing that she expands the territory of critique and who can be critiqued. The physical violence of Asian people is not solely the problem. It is the stereotypes, and the “personal preferences” we have conditioned ourselves to believe. In the first chapter, she said that “racial stereotypes crawl into bed with people of all races” (3). This sentence communicates that the intimacy that Americans have with racism, while simultaneously showing that these stereotypes are manifested in our sexual politics. The book illustrates that sex is not a monolith; it can perpetuate the parts of America that we often want to deem invisible.

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