Header Image Via Natalie Tran’s AM/WF Documentary (YouTube)
I reflected on a lot of the going ons over the last few weeks, and have realized that there is a concerted effort by the misogynistic section of our Asian online diaspora to double down, bully and harass many known Asian female activists and personalities. Many of the Asian men and some women who have been complicit in these online attacks have used the idea of “emasculation” of Asian men as a way to validate their misogyny. The anger they hold for their cause has pushed many of them to behave extreme and this behavior (whether they intend or not intend) is essentially harassment. I can not be more clearer than this. These men congregate in groups online (usually Facebook or Reddit) and their daily gripes are usually around Asian women and the issues around interracial dating, particularly those who date/marry or who are in a relationship with a white man. In this piece I will also talk from now on end in the first person, because most of these are based on my own personal experiences, observations and discussions with other Asian women/feminists/activists/public personalities who have face similar or worse online abuse and harassment.
Last week on the Offended AF (Asian Feminists) podcast, Katie and I discussed this issue and talked about why this appears to be their one and only issue. I mean it has really encouraged hoards of them to bully and harass any Asian woman online who disagrees with the shit they say and share. On our podcast I mentioned that their constant blabbing about AF/WM relationships as being “toxic” shows how “over-privileged” they are that there are no other pressing issues to their concern than about who an Asian woman decides to date. They live in a world of contradictions because they will praise the relationship dynamics when the genders are interchanged. Now I am not saying this is ALL Asian men, because we know it is not. But we need to recognize that there is a sub-section within the Asian male diaspora who identify as cis-gendered who believe that if an Asian woman/feminist/activist/public personality does not adhere to their points of views or if she is in a relationship with a white man, then she is deemed public enemy number 1. In this piece, I do not plan to finger point, nor mention names of groups/individuals ( most of us who have been victim to them know who they are and where they congregate online) but I do want to point out that this is a major issue which fragments our online community and it really is an attempt to remove our agency as Asian women and to divide the Asian feminism strong community.
A few tactics I have noticed which this sub-section of Asian men have used to harass, dox and bully Asian women/feminists/activists/public personalities online include:
* Going to our social media accounts making bogus/unsubstantiated statements about what we say/tweet/post and twisting our words to somehow validate their misogynistic agendas;
* Encourage bullying en-mass, in terms of having a group of them double down and go on the offensive on our social media thread in an attempt to push us to submission;
* Dox and attempt to ruin our public or private reputations by spreading falsified statements and rumors about our work or bring up things we may have stated in the past against us, twisting them to sound as though we are against them;
* Create fake alternate social media accounts (many pretending to be Asian women) in an attempt to divide Asian feminism and/or to infiltrate our private/closed groups and discussion forums to spy and collect what they perceive as “intelligence”, which they will use against us;
* Try and recruit other Asian women who may be ill-informed or unaware of their misogyny to support their causes so they can do the “well I told you so, because your own disagrees with you”;
Image via Everyday Feminism
Of course there are more tactics, but these are the ones which I have noticed and personally experienced over the past year or so. One thing they forget is that the majority of us Asian women/feminists/activists/public personalities do understand the issues cis Asian men face. We get that the mainstream Western society has spent billions on emasculating Asian men, and that there is sexual racism targeted towards cis Asian men, and yes these issues need to be discussed. However, how these discussions have been angled currently is extremely problematic and it has been hijacked by the misogynistic sub-sections and used to place blame and responsibility on us Asian women. It is their way of asserting their power and control over us, and if we disagree then we are against them. If you want to have constructive discussions about emasculation and sexual racism, it needs to be inclusive and it needs to be collaborative and not discussed to diminish the experiences which us Asian women face. It also can’t be used as a way to police our relationships and our choices, nor should it be used in an attempt to remove our agency and make us feel shame, particularly when topics of fetishization, objectification and violence against women are discussed.
Asian women who support this misogynistic sub-section in my opinion do so as a way of compensating or submitting to being shamed by the misogyny and we need to further open up this issue. Really, if we are unable to acknowledge the misogyny within our diaspora it will be very difficult to bridge the gap and work towards unity.
Image via DNA India
An article which has been going around really sums up the issues around the online harassment and bullying Asian women face online. It is more generic rather than specific to us, but the points are relate-able to our situation. Written by Bianca Fileborn who is a criminology lecturer at the University of New South Wales it is titled: How misogyny, narcissism and a desperate need for power make men abuse women online. It brings up 2 main points as to why this happens and it really matches what is happening within our Asian online spaces to a tee. The 2 points she makes are that this is all about “power and control” and it is about perpetuating “sexism and violence” against women. I think this quote summarizes our experiences:
We can look to the research on violence against women and other forms of abuse more broadly to point to some likely causal explanations. Researchers have comprehensively demonstrated the ways in which sexist online abuse forms part of the continuum of sexual violence. As with all forms of sexual violence, we can understand the actions of perpetrators as situated within a mix of individual, social, cultural and structural causes.
Adherence to strict or rigid gender norms – that is, our ideas about what it means to be a “man” or a “woman” – is one such factor associated with perpetration of various forms of gender-based violence. Certainly, it is plausible that these norms underpin online abuse. Women in high-profile positions, such as Sales, could be seen as “stepping out of line” by challenging traditional gender norms.
This suggests that men’s online abuse of women is fundamentally about power and reasserting the dominance of a particular type of masculinity.
I will leave my piece here and probably expand into more specific details in future pieces, but really this behavior needs to stop because it fragments our online diaspora and jeopardizes the safety of us Asian women.