On 16 March, the Asian American community mourned the loss of six Asian women who were killed in a shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia that rocked the country.
Mainstream media took days to release the names of the victims while humanizing the shooter. Even when their names were released, many media outlets couldn’t take the time to properly pronounce or spell their names.
At one point, the victims were being blamed for the whole incident because they worked at a spa and were assumed to be sex workers. And even if they were, they were still human beings doing what they can to make money and provide for their families.
Asian women have been fetishized and treated as sex objects for years. Since society has viewed them as quiet, submissive and obedient, they are not taken seriously in leadership roles or treated as objects.
The pandemic and the rise of Asian hate crimes in the West has made this worse for Asian women. Studies show that Asian women are 2.3 times more likely to get targeted than men when it comes to a hate crime. As if that were not bad enough, the mental health issues of Asian women has worsened due to dealing with the pandemic and the rise of Asian hate crimes.
A report from Yappie says that 66 percent of Asian women said reports of anti-Asian hate have affected their mental health while 49 percent of Asian men reported the same thing.
These numbers are still inaccurate as there are many unreported cases of Asian hate crimes and mental health issues due to a language barrier and due to our upbringing to stay silent.
Even in the Philippines, women are also treated the same way. This is what is happening to Maria Ressa, the founder of Rappler. She could be facing a possible lifetime imprisonment in the Philippines for exercising her freedom of speech.
Women must stand up and speak for our community regardless where we are in the world. An attack on one Asian woman is an attack on all Asian women.
For the past five and a half years, I have been interviewing Asian women from around the world about the obstacles and issues they were able to overcome to be the powerful Asian woman that they are today..
Not only does my award-winning podcast called The Tao of Self Confidence showcase a strong representation of Asian women, it has also led me to venture into other projects such as being part of an international best-selling book called Asian Women Who Boss Up where we highlight the stories of 18 Asian women who are able to forge their own path, overcome obstacles and thrive. Showcasing powerful Asian women can help other Asian women see what is possible for themselves.
Of course, there are some things Asian women can celebrate such as having Kamala Harris, the first female Vice President of the United states who is part Asian. Also, three Asian women won an Oscar this year: Chloé Zhao for Best Director and Best Picture; Yuh-Jung Youn for Best Supporting Actress and H.E.R. for Best Original Song.
Celebrating the achievements of Asian women are just as important because if one Asian woman wins, we all win.