Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Double Standards of Body Image for Asian American Women

I stumbled upon this article that someone posted on Facebook and probably the best article I have read in awhile that really spoke to me and I hope to you too.

In our class, we learned that stereotypes are not created equal. One of the stereotypes is that Asian American women are all naturally very petite or skinny. It seems like a good stereotype but what about the other Asian American women who don't fit into this margin?

In this article, Noel Duan writes about her struggle with her body image and to be 'naturally' perfect. She writes about the double standard body image as an Asian American woman and the cultural difference about weight issues. By American standards, she is considered naturally petite with her 5"1, 100 pound body frame but by her Asian standards, she is considered fat. In American culture, it is rude and unfathomable to bluntly call a family member or relative fat but in Asian culture, it happens and they say it not to be rude but because they believe they mean well and if they care about you, they will let you know if you put on some weight, or a lot of weight.

In my own personal experience as an Asian American woman, I definitely notice the double standards of body image. I fit into the stereotype of being naturally thin and stuffing my face all day with food. In both American and Asian standards, I am thin but the the reaction isn't the same. In Asian standards, I don't need to gain or lose a pound of weight and praised for my thin body frame. In American standards, I'm told I could use a burger and put on some weight. Growing up, I have struggled with being bullied for being skinny and constantly called anorexic and other things which was very hurtful and never true. Even fitting into the stereotype of being 'naturally thin' was never easy and have myself struggled with body image issues.

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