From the Editor
CW: sexual harassment and sexual assault
Kia Ora, I don’t know about you all, but I’m fucking exhausted.
I can’t really find a culprit for why every single task is so taxing, but I guess it’s just a product of my environment. Assignments are piling up, no one’s responding to my emails (lol @ being ghosted in your workplace x), and of course the news. There has been a long history of misogyny and violence towards Asian women by men of all races. For a while now, I’ve been processing the Atlanta shootings and Asian hate crimes. Before I even understood misogyny or racism, I remember being deeply disturbed by how men treated my mum. Despite only being ten years old, I couldn’t shake the feeling of ick I felt when middle aged customers told her she looked so beautiful despite working so hard.
I have always been protective of how others may perceive my mum. Her lack of English means that she’s frequently misjudged for being passive and docile, a stereotype that has long fuelled the hypersexualisation of Asian women. At a press conference held a day after the Atlanta shootings, law enforcement officials expressed that the shooter was driven by sexual addiction, not racism. The shooter was supposedly driven by a want to eliminate sexual temptation. However, like many other Asian women, I would argue that the two are not mutually exclusive. Asian women are instead victims of sexualised racism.
When I reflect on when I have felt most dehumanise, it is an equal tie between my dating life and the unwanted attention I have received from men. The fetishisation of Asian women has not only reduced us to a stereotype, but it has also put our safety at risk.
Lately, I’ve been feeling this intense pressure to keep on top of every new conversation. I feel as if it's my responsibility to comment before I've even processed the intensity of my emotions. And I know this sentiment is shared amongst many of you. We’re emotionally tired, frustrated and burnt out. I’m grappling with how my relationship with the media is taking a toll on my everyday life - and it’s time to take a break. As much as I believe it’s important to be well informed, I also understand that the majority of news we consume isn’t conducive to our overall well being. I've been limiting my news consumption to 20 minutes a day. This move has allowed me to slow down my thoughts while keeping moderately engaged with the world.
This issue of Debate is themed ‘Sex.’ Our Sex issue is the most anticipated of the year. Each year, new topics are brought to the table and past conversations are re-explored. Normally, I would shout out the highlights of the issue here, but tbh they’re all goodies (proud mum moment) so that would be a disservice to this issue.
Lastly, I would like to give a (temporary) farewell to our designer Ramina. Ramina is responsible for making Debate that pretty thing in your hands right now. And she’s off to pop out a baby! Best of luck for the next chapter of motherhood, Ramina.
Take care, Rebecca