#NotYourAsianSidekick Unites Thousands To Discuss Asian-American Feminism And Stereotypes

“It was all of the things we were told to never talk about.”

1. This is freelance writer Suey Park, an advocate for the Asian-American feminist and queer communities.

2. Last night, she scheduled a Twitter hashtag to open a conversation about Asian-American feminism.

5. The hashtag immediately caught on. First, to recognize the patriarchy that exists in Asian-American cultures.

3) In AAPI spaces, women have to be SMART and PRETTY to be heard. We are objectified by Asian men and White men. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— suey_park (@Suey Park)

3) Asian men slut shame if Asian women are dating non-Asians. They call us race traitors for dating outside AAPI. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— suey_park (@Suey Park)

8. It has also spurred conversations in many different directions, including toward one about white supremacy.

Keeping this hashtag trending so it can keep speaking truth to power, to hetero-patriarchy, to white supremacy. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— ridgek_lives (@ridgek)

Hey mainstream white feminism, just in case y'all forgot, #race, #immigration, #class are feminist issues. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— sadiasmusings (@Sadia A.)

I once told off a white classmate in high school that Asian people are no longer referred to as "oriental." #NotYourAsianSidekick

— jazzycrayon (@Jazzy Crayon)

11. And difficulty with confronting mental illnesses in Asian households.

I am not allowed to express the mental illnesses I have struggled to cope with for years #NotYourAsianSidekick

— doloresonthedot (@Sook Min)

Body image is important b/c I had an eating disorder for a long time due to strict expectations of Americans &Koreans. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— suey_park (@Suey Park)

When I want to lose lbs not for me but bc my mental health can't take the fatphobia, esp. in API spaces, it's an issue.#NotYourAsianSidekick

— Nicole_Cunanan1 (@Nicole Cunanan)

14. And the underrepresentation of Asian-Americans in media.

#NotYourAsianSidekick because I hope to one day see better representation of AAPIs in the media, government and beyond.

— whatsnextwinnie (@Winnie Ye)

Asian representation in the mass media needs to catch up to the mass audiences of Asian personalities on YouTube #NotYourAsianSideKick

— mikekwan (@Mike Kwan)

The way white-dominated media and pop culture still is. Something we whites need to address, instead of handwaving. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— NewEnglandite (@Peter)

The last time Asian women where represented in film, in all their complexities: "The Joy Luck Club." 20 years ago. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— joseiswriting (@Jose Antonio Vargas)

18. And general grievances with everyday stereotypes.

High grades earned by Asian-Am students seen as "normal" rather than result of hard work #NotYourAsianSidekick http://t.co/qBrxiexdWx

— yingyingsmiles (@YingYing Shang)

Not all #indians are doctors or engineers. And the rest of us do not answer phones for a living. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— aquietstrength (@ruthie | johnson)

"Do you know Korean?" "No, I speak Japanese." "they're pretty similar, right?" THEY ARE LITERALLY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. #NotYourAsianSidekick

— soggyramen (@con)

such a powerful picture #NotYourAsianSidekick

— bootytbh (@cal)

22. But as #NotYourAsianSidekick became a worldwide trending topic, some people took issue with the hashtag.

@AndreaGarVar I appreciate that this issue is being raised, but there's a lot of race-blaming here. I don't agree with all of it.

— JChan1109 (@Justin Chan)

.@JChan1109 Yes, lots of interesting things about the hashtag—obviously, since ANYONE can use it, there's not one cohesive message

— AndreaGarVar (@Andrea Garc໚-Vargas)

Friendly reminder that while the popularity of #NotYourAsianSidekick is great, it originated as talk on Asian American FEMINISM. #dontderail

— Juliet_Shen (@Juliet Shen)

25. Park told BuzzFeed via email:


“In Asian American spaces, particularly in the non-profit sector, I have been disappointed by the narrow ways in which we define Asian American and who we leave behind by way of those narrow definitions. #NotYourAsianSidekick is a new space, in which voices of those of us marginalized and silenced within Asian American circles get to tell our stories…

My dear friends and I have had growing critiques of how patriarchy in Asian American spaces hurts, while white feminism leaves much to be desired, so we created this space instead. We talked about queerness, disability, immigration, multiracial/biracial issues, compulsory coalitions, challenging anti-blackness, mental health, body image, and all things feminism. It was all of the things we were told to never talk about.

26. Follow the hashtag here.

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