Or even within EA, I remember talking to a Korean girl who refused to be seen as “Asian”; who insisted Korean women were better looking than Chinese women and got angry if anyone compared the two.
A lot of Asian women are gonna be uppity about a lot of things but regardless of how uppity they get or how “superior” they perceive themselves to be, the women they look down on (in your example, Chinese or SEA women) STILL won’t get defeminized or be considered unattractive by society at large. A SEA woman still won’t have issues getting with a NEA man nor any non-Asian man, no matter how much NEA women look down on them so regardless of whether we promote specifically just SEA female features or SEA female + NEA female features or SEA female + every other female features, it wouldn’t matter. In any case, Asian women, in general, are already fetishized to the extreme. A few conceited Asian women “looking down” on other Asian women shouldn’t hurt the esteem of sane women to the point that it’ll drive so big of a rift in the community (because I’m just gonna be real—most straight women don’t care about the opinion of other women that much, they mostly care about the men’s).
On the flipside, both EA and SEA men have it very bad in terms of being emasculated, so for that reason alone, they are deserving of a stage to themselves where only their features get promoted. Which one has it worst is arguable since China, Japan, and Korea may have the wealth, prestige, and soft power but they also tend to be stereotyped as “nerds” while SEA may not have the global recognition but are seen as “gangsters”, which more women seem to desire over “nerds”. But regardless, I’d say they both have it equally bad in terms of emasculation and I’d say a lot of it is due to western society not taking too kindly to their features (hence why I believe Asian dance crews tend to cover their faces up with masks). So it’s beneficial to focus solely on their standard appearances and promote them, rather than promote them side-by-side with others who look nothing like them. It’s like advertisement. Assuming everyone already loves iPhones but you wanna promote a phone that people generally don’t like, like Nokia. You wouldn’t want to advertise Nokia side-by-side with iPhone. You’d want the Nokia to have the spotlight all to itself. Same concept applies.
Just from words of caution about the whole “they don’t look like us” argument, I’m sure you’re familiar that even within EA/SEA, there are divisions over this.
There are going to be divisions in terms of looks between every race, including whites (blondes vs. redheads vs. brunettes, green eyes vs. blue eyes, Southern European vs. Northern European, etc…) or even blacks (lighter skin vs. darker skin). But the bottom line remains the same; whites, regardless of hair/eye/skin color, will still look more similar to each other than they will to another entirely different race. Same with blacks. And I’m sure both of those communities will agree that they rather see someone within their own community promoted, regardless of the insignificant differences (but still has some similarities) between them and the individual promoted as opposed to seeing someone of an entirely different background who looks tremendously different from them. Very similar to how most blacks, despite not looking similar to Beyonce, still love and promote her as their spokeswoman. Same background, slightly different features but still at least has more similarities to them than say, Britney Spears.
I would just add- to the extent you permit regular attacks at the “out group”, you foster identity by way of Negative Identity, critiquing the out group to enhance in-group cohesion.
That’s essentially how many activist groups seem to work, no? Attacking/critiquing/fighting whites seem to be the basis and foundation that holds most of these groups together to begin with.
But I agree. Constantly bashing others, be it whites or other minorities (well, maybe whites can be an exception…haha, kidding. sorta) without constructive criticism is not a good mindset to have and can be psychologically draining for young Asians to absorb. That’s something that needs to be worked on.
There either is unity or there’s not. Groups don’t just unite opportunistically if there is no underlying sense of cohesion
There is unity, I’d say. Perhaps I’m optimistic but I do believe in the decency of a lot of people enough to unite when the time calls for it. Taking the Steve Harvey issue, for example. Not only did many Asians called him out for it, but I saw white feminists and even some blacks criticizing him for his comment. Or take Jennifer Murphy’s racist “neeja” video incident as another example. Sure, you could say that others called her out only because there was an AF involved and it could be different had an AM been there and not an AF, but I don’t think we can deny the fact that a number of non-Asians still united with us to help criticize her, when they could’ve easily just not cared at all. Or a bigger example would be Trump taking office. People from all backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, and genders joined together to protest him. So I definitely say there is some unity.
Imo, humans have layers like onions and we have the ability to love every single one of those layers that we have. Of course, for everyone, it’s different how they choose to prioritize those layers. Some people choose to identify with their gender first, then ethnic identity, then race, then national identity. Others choose to identify with ethnic identity, then religion, then gender, etc, etc…but whatever part of their identity that they feel the need to unite with when the time calls for it, most, I would say, are more than capable of doing so.