By: Javeria Naeem
Asian women face many difficulties in academic settings. You might think that for me personally, going to a predominantly Asian academic settings in the U.K. would be the perfect place to escape racial stereotyping. On the contrary, this pressures me even more to conform to the “Asian” identity. Thatʼs all you identify with in academic settings.
One of the biggest problems Asian women face in academic settings is double standards that were started in and are perpetuated by their own communities. For example, where I’m from, it’s a stereotype that Asian women love to gossip maliciously. This stereotype perpetuates a toxic message to Asian women especially, and also other people who hear it. The more you are told that Asian people gossip, the more you buy into that idea. In my school, the stereotype rings true even so that even Asian people believe it. Asian women in academic settings are always heavily scrutinized. If you make even the smallest mistake, it becomes the week’s gossip, and extends from school into the entire Asian community.
Sadly, this keeps happening since the male Asian population (not the entirety) love to push down on Asian women and give them a harder time for doing something that one of their male peers have done. It is the same way with some Asian women, we judge each other to horrible extents, but turn a blind eye to Asian men. If we participate in this judgemental culture, and continue to enforce double standards, we are no better than the men we get angry with.
This, however, can change if we act as a community, pushing each other along, helping one another. We all have one thing in common: we are of Asian descent. We need to learn to stand together.
But our culture teaches us we are not. Instead women hate upon each other. And the men prey upon the women for every mistake or for just simply who they are and justify it as ‘helping themʼ or being their ‘supportive brotherʼ. When in reality itʼs the opposite of that.
On a brighter note, being an Asian woman in a community can also be great: for one thing, there are lots and lots of people all around the world who look like you, grew up like you, and can relate to the same things as you.. Also they have the same culture as you. You see Asian people excelling in politics and the media, which makes you feel represented. There are cons to this community, but there are also pros to being a part of an incredible, huge community.
Being an Asian woman is so incredibly tough. But this is an experience I would never trade. This is the path I was given and am going to take.