July 16, 2014

Triggers

Due to some scheduling changes, the AYA session tomorrow needs a workshop, so I'm working on the previously postponed Patriarchy workshop. Except this time we are focusing in on street harassment as a way to talk about patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia.

So I'm looking up videos made by women that talk about street harassment, and a lot of videos have been made on this issue by white women. Which is awesome, but since we are trying to fight for racial social economic and gender justice, and the youth relate better to their own identities, I decided to look for Asian women speaking out against street harassment.

During the retreat, we did an activity called Life Maps, where we have to illustrate our life journey and pin point moments that inspired us to fight for justice and join CAAAV or AYA. I focused in on my experiences with street harassment growing up, and how sometimes the harassment would be mixed in with other elements of oppressing, including my race and ethnicity. Meaning that men would catcall me not only because I'm a woman, but also because I'm an Asian woman. Comments include trying to say "ni hao" to me, or some other Asian references, or whatever they think is Asian. This has made me so resistant and averse to anytime any strange man tries to strike up a conversation with me about my ethnicity or heritage. Sometimes they're just nosy but friendly store owners, but they can also be nosy but friendly but gross store owners toeing the line of sexually harassing me. It's caused a lot of problems before when I'm with guy friends who don't understand why I'm hostile to seemingly nice strange men trying to talk to me.

Anyway, so I'm doing some simple Google searches, and on racialicious.com, a blog on pop culture, race, and other feminist and social justice issues, I found an article from 2011 where an Asian American female reader submitted a video re-enacting messed up things that strange men would say to her as street harassment. The video is called "How to Hit on an Asian Girl/How Not to Harass an Asian Girl." Watching the video was a little weird. I wondered if the tone of the video would be less effective than others or if the language used to explain the harassment is too complex for the youth to fully grasp. But I stopped after 1:37 because it was too triggering and hard to sit through, even just reenactments of what nasty things were said to me and other Asian women. Then I worried if I can't sit through it, is it going to be too triggering for the youth to sit through? The workshop is slated for tomorrow, so if I can't find something else, maybe I will use a part of this video... I'll keep you posted.


Trigger Warning: video contains crude, racist, sexist, and objectifying language.


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