Asian American Sexual Politics: The Construction of Race, Gender, and Sexuality



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Why study Asian American sexual politics? There is a major lack of critical analysis of Asian Americans and their issues surrounding their place in the United States as racialized, gendered, and sexualized bodies. There are three key elements to my methodological approach for this project: standpoint epistemology, extended case method, and narrative analysis. In my research, fifty-five Asian American respondents detail how Asian American masculinity and femininity are constructed and how they operate in a racial hierarchy. These accounts will explicitly illuminate the gendered and sexualized racism faced by Asian Americans. The male respondents share experiences that highlight how "racial castration" occurs in the socialization of Asian American men. Asian American women are met with an exotification and Orientalization as sexual bodies. This gendering and sexualizing process plays a specific role in maintaining the racial status quo. There are short and long term consequences from the gendered and sexualized racist treatment. The intersected racial and gender identities of the respondents affect their self-image and self-esteem. For the women, femininity has been shaped specifically by their racial identity. "Orientalization" as a colonial concept plays a role in these racialized and gendered stereotypes of Asian American Women. The gendered and sexualized racialization process and "racial castration" has impacted Asian American men in a different way than their female counterparts. Violence is a prevalent theme in their gendered and racial formation. Asian American men begin as targets of violence and sometimes become perpetrators. I also analyze how romantic and sexual partners are chosen and examine the dynamics of Asian American intraracial and interracial relationships. While Asian American "success" as "model minorities" is challenging white supremacy, gender and sexuality become "regulating" forces to maintain both the racial and gendered order. Finally, I offer and discuss the resistance strategies against gender and racial hierarchy utilized by my respondents. Asian Americans must be creative in measures that they take for group and individual survival. Respondents resist in intimately personal ways against ideologies.


PDf file replaced 8-28-2012 at request of the Thesis Office.