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Penny Wilder

@pennywilder / pennywilder.tumblr.com

Blogger. artist. illustrator. book addict. Hopeless romantic.

A Guide to White Privilege by COURTNEYAHNDESIGN

1. White Privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard. It means your skin tone isn’t one of the things making it harder! There’s plenty of other privileges (socio-economic, male, heterosexual, cisgender, christian, able-bodied) but white privilege is perhaps the most enduring throughout history.

2. White Privilege exists as a direct result of both historic and enduring racism, biases, and practices designed to oppress people of color.

3. White Privilege means you actively benefit from the oppression of POC You are the dominant representation on all media No on questions your citizenship Products are designed for you 1st People at work look like you You don’t get harassed for existing in public locations Inherited power and wealth Your actions aren’t perceived as those of all your race

4. Systemic racism exists at every level of society. The wealth gap (90% White owned vs 10% POC owned) Black graduates are 2x more likely to be unemployed Black americans are 30% more likely to get pulled over Black students are 3x more likely to be suspended Black americans make up 40% of the prison population Black americans are shown 18% fewer homes Black women are 4x more likely to die from childbirth And this is only a small port of the oppression

5. What would I do with my White Privilege?

Teach other White folks the barriers to success for POC Promise to listen to and amplify the voices of POC Be more than “not racist” but actively anti-racist Confront racial injustices even when it’s uncomfortable.

Yes, I’m gonna keep posting this. I’mma post this on repeat. And if you think that “politics” have no place in a hearth witch blog…

Well other than mostly telling you to go fuck yourself if you come at me with the whole “but all lives matter” and “my life is hard too”… I’d invite you to sit with the idea of what hearthcraft is. What is the point of hearth witchery? And consider that I am also an Irish polytheist, and the idea of hospitality is sacred to me.

My hearth is a safe place, and that means no bigots allowed. But more than that, it means that *I* have to be a safe place. I have to learn and grow.

So the Dems control the White House. This is GREAT. It also doesn’t really change a damn thing about systemic racism. It does mean, hopefully, that progress can be made, but it’s not a light switch.

You still need to be examining your privilege and supporting BIPOC and working to address racism on personal, local and federal levels.

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thotzekage

What the fuck

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bruddabois

This comes around every thanksgiving for like 3 years running now and it activates my fight or flight response

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tropicalfucko

The only thing I trust is the cake but there’s a huge cursed vibe like a god of chaos and disorder decided to have a photoshoot and this is the result

I'm so disturbed right now.

WWC Rules | Guidelines | FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • “What are ways to describe my character’s skin tone?”
  • “What about hair?”
  • “How do I introduce the race of my characters?”
  • “How do I denote the race of my characters in a fantasy setting?”
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  • “I’m afraid my character has harmful stereotypical traits.”
  • “How do I write a ____________ character?”
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  • “It wouldn’t be historically accurate for my story to include PoC.”
  • “What is Cultural Appropriation?”
  • “What is tokenism and why is it harmful?”

See below for answers to our FAQ!

Avoiding Fetishizing East Asian Men

Anon asked:

Hello. I love this site. There are several questions regarding this topic for women but not for men, so here goes:
First off, I am of Asian & native descent. I can “pass”, so often people just assume I am white, which doesn’t bother me much. I am fairly removed from my heritage (They died young, so I barely remember one and the other died before I was born) and though I would like to learn more, I have just been busy living life I suppose! 
I am writing a multi-cultural fantasy. My main character’s love interest is Japanese… if a character can be Japanese when it’s a world without Japan, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I feel that Asian men never get the lead in books and film and it frustrates me that women seem to deem them ‘unsexy’ in hetero romances. There are some seriously hot Asian men out there!
However, I have suddenly started to wonder if there are any particular things I should avoid so that it doesn’t seem I am fetishizing them. I know they are often fetishized in gay romances, though, so do you have tips on things to avoid? Am I over thinking this? 
I feel like, even though I am a part of this people group, I am on the outside looking in.
Thanks!

Basics

Quick note: yes, a character can be coded Japanese in a world w/o Earth cultures; the word you’re looking for is coding :) 

It is a good question, and I’m surprised that there’s nothing on the oversexualization of East Asian men on here, because while the dominant media trope is de-sexualization, the opposite totally happens. Some of the stuff about physical features that we’ve covered on this blog (even if it centers around East Asian women) counts, so that’s a good starting point for research, if you haven’t already done this. Bad eye descriptions, mentions of “yellow fever,” all that stuff that you already shouldn’t do. Make your MC describe the love interest’s attractiveness in terms of features that aren’t fetishized or narrowly focused on. 

East Asian Man Fetish in history, modern media

You may be surprised, but there was a brief history of fetishizing East Asian men in the silent era of Hollywood. When Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa took to the stage in the 1910s and 20s, white women went nuts over his “brooding” persona and the taboo appeal of the interracial romances he was cast into. While he became less of a sex symbol and more of a villain in the 40s (you can thank WWII for that), throughout his career he was casted to perpetuate an exotic, dangerous image (something he personally despised and actively spoke out against). The idea of the Japanese bad boy is no longer pop culturally relevant, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind. 

In terms of modern media, just avoid the kind of garbage that happens in Eleanor and Park, if you’re looking for a what-not-to-do. Don’t do things like comparing your character (either in the narrative or in dialogue) to other East Asian icons like Bruce Lee when they look nothing alike. Physical comparisons tend to be iffy for East Asians specifically because of “you all look alike,” which is why I would also discourage even accurate comparisons. 

Fetishization and K-Pop

The newest threat to East Asian men when it comes to fetishization is K-pop. Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit of a (casual) stan myself, but fanbases for idols can be very, very gross. You’re right about fetishization in gay media, which applies here with the dizzying amount of real life shipping (*GAK*) that many fans partake in. It’s essentially the evolved form of “yaoi fangirl” media that makes assumptions about the sexuality of male idols and turns the stereotype of emasculation into its own form of fetishization. This negatively affects the real-life experiences of queer Asian men, especially those who adopt more feminine gender presentation, gender performance, or hobbies. To say nothing of the idols themselves, most of whom I’m sure are very straight. 

Takeaway

What we can take away from this is that the fetishization of East Asian men is often founded on existing stereotypes. It takes a thorough understanding of the racist depictions of East Asians in media to unpack the ways in which they intersect with de-sexualization and hyper-sexualization. 

~Mod Rina

@abed-is-batman-now said: 

I’d also add to the writer not to make your Asian character the automatic “bottom” or “submissive” of the relationship as thats a damaging assumption often made in both gay and straight mixed race relationships, that the non-asian partner is dominant in some way or that the power dynamic is automatically inequal. 

@spaceymonkeys​ said: 

I would like to add that the comment about shipping is dipping its toes into “the fetishization of the queer community”. I used to have a friend that was obsessed with the idea of mlm. Its important to write these relationships but there is a point where it gets… weird.

Yes to both!! Thanks for the add :)

@phen0l​ said: 

I have a couple of thoughts here about how the kpop bit is framed: 
- a lot of idol shipping is done by East Asian fans (not even diaspora, but fans in Korea or China) 
- a lot of idol shipping is not necessarily m/m but is also f/f 
- some of it is actually done by queer Asian people. 
I do think Western kpop fandom has a serious issue with the fetishization of Asian men, which is why I personally don’t engage with kpop fandoms, *but*  I personally feel that this post could have done better to specifically point out racial fetishism by Westerners, which imo have more to do with the stereotypes that have arisen from Kpop fandom than shipping itself. (Also, IRL fetishism/rejection of Asians in queer dating spaces - as in, by queer non-Asian people - is often far removed from kpop in my experience.)

Great points! I think that the idol shipping is wrong regardless of who partakes in it, purely for the point that it’s being speculative about real people. Even if their companies market them as a “fantasy” of sorts, I think they deserve more respect as artists, and fans shouldn’t buy into the “fantasy” narrative which treats them like mere characters. I think it’s pretty darn disrespectful.

You’re right. I could have done a better job pointing out that when Western fans do it, there’s an added power dynamic that makes it fetishizing of the idols’ Asian-ness, which makes it intersectional with the mlm-fetishizing aspect that spaceymonkeys touched on. 

And yes, there’s more wrong with the fandom than just shipping, but I decided to focus on one example (ie. shipping). I felt it was more relevant to the scope of the question, which is about relationships as opposed to general exoticization that could be committed by the Western public. The fetishization of East Asian men is a pretty broad topic; as you can see there’s plenty that can be added!

As for the IRL fetishization that occurs in connection with kpop or not, I think there’s nothing universal or inherent about that kind of fetishism, of course, but this was a concern that was raised not just by me but a few other of the East Asian mods (all of us are queer, btw), so I think experiences can vary there. And rejection/desexualization is covered on our blog, take a look through the tags! 

======

All of this tells me that there is definitely a need for more WWC posts on East Asian men and writing them wrt relationships & fetishization! Thanks for the input, everybody. 

~Mod Rina

Additional Notes From Our Mod Marika!

When you say “Japanese in a world without Japan,” I want to make absolutely clear that you mean coding, as Rina suggested, and not a racial description. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people who break down everything from the shape of the face to the ears to the height to body type to assert “this is what a Korean person looks like” or “this is what a Japanese person looks like.” This is problematic and inaccurate for multiple reasons. 

When you picture a Japanese person stripped of their cultural and national context, what separates them from any other person of E. Asian descent? NHK once did a mDNA test for the Japanese public and found that 1/5 of Japanese people have markers associated with Ainu, 3/5 have markers associated with SE China and Vietnam (including those from Okinawa) and 1/5 have markers associated with Korea. 

The notion that E. Asians are separate races is historically problematic for a number of reasons. It encourages national extremism, obfuscates cultural and ethnic diversity, and also fuels myths of Japanese exceptionalism (World War II, anyone?) In the current era, where individuals of mixed Asian descent are becoming more common, (Including people like you and me!) I think it’s particularly important that you disconnect nationality from race. 

This may be a discussion for a later post, but there are also problems with coding in broad strokes, ie. entire countries or nationalities. If someone were to ask me how to “code” Indian, I’d say there’s no way. Some national borders are far too arbitrary to contain a singular cultural or ethnic identity, and and coding using these borders puts you at risk of generalizing or erasing cultures.

Fetishization, in my opinion, is an obsession with the unknown. Thus, demystifying the unknown is helpful to counteract this impulse. You may find it helpful to consume Japanese media or content made by or involving Japanese individuals. If you’re interested, wearejapanese has great content for you to get started. 

- Marika