13 Jan 2023


Asian American Women Intersectionality

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Academic level: College

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An example of intersectionality that I selected is Asian American women. The identities “Asian American" and "woman" intersect creating a different experience of racial discrimination than other Asians and a different experience of gender discrimination than other women. People have certain stereotypes about the appearance of Asian American women. As stated by Brady et al. (2017), Asian women are faced with racialized presumptions that their bodies are doll-like with jet-black hair, doe-eyed and pale skin. Such assumptions are infantilizing and dehumanizing for women as they are paired with assumptions that they are submissive and sexually available. Asian American women are faced with pressure from others to maintain a certain standard of thinness. This is because they have to keep up with the standards of the white women's body features which are regarded as desirable and most sought after. They are also faced with the pressure to attain what is deemed by the whites as beautiful (Brady et al., 2017). Such expectations lead to dissatisfaction and feelings of insecurities and may force them to compensatory measures like cosmetic surgery. Asian American men do not face the same pressure to have certain body features as women.

Asian American women are faced with high levels of self-criticism and high expectations. Research shows that this is a risk factor for the development of preoccupation with appearance, self-criticism, and disordered eating. Asian Americans are faced with more race-related discrimination than other racial groups. They face racism-related stress owing to the cultural expectations placed on them that they should be wealthy, obedient, self-reliant, highly intelligent and live in the American dream ( Liu & Suyemoto, 2016). In case they do not meet these expectations and stereotypes, Asian Americans are faced with a burden making them feel inadequate. Racial discrimination causes various negative psychological health outcomes for American Asians including anxiety, distress, depression and even suicidal ideation.

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Brady, J. L., Kaya, A., Iwamoto, D., Park, A., Fox, L., & Moorhead, M. (2017). Asian American women’s body image experiences: A qualitative intersectionality study.  Psychology of Women Quarterly 41 (4), 479-496. 

Liu, C. M., & Suyemoto, K. L. (2016). The effects of racism-related stress on Asian Americans: Anxiety and depression among different generational statuses.  Asian American Journal of Psychology 7 (2), 137. 

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