Periods, online dating, and virus racism

Last week, a few of my interests “appeared” in my life:

  • Mochi Magazine, the publication I write for, ran an article on racism in online dating;
  • the alarm around coronavirus increased and I saw it on Facebook and heard about it in person;
  • I ordered reusable cloth pads from Rabbit+Bear Co and they arrived!

These all happen to be things I have strong feelings about: menstruation, microaggressions, and Asian Americans. (It’s also interesting when what happens online intersects with real life!) I’ve had a weekend to digest it and here are my thoughts.

I was bullied as a child after the SARS outbreak, now it’s happening again with coronavirus

There is so much misinformation around an unknown virus, and when compounded with stereotypes about China, it’s no surprise that it turns into racism and fearmongering.

If this outbreak happened in any other country, there would be hashtags like #PrayforParis or #StayStrongLasVegas right away. However, because it’s China, people react with avoidance rather than sympathy.  On Facebook, I see moms worried about the virus coming to their city, videos of bizarre Chinese street food being shared, and polls of whether Thailand should ban Chinese tourists. All of these are valid concerns, but not more so than the risks we encounter in everyday life. (For one, we could walk around being afraid of white men with guns, but you don’t see us doing that.)

People said I was being too dramatic and overreacting about the fake news and sinophobic articles being shared, yet a man in Sydney has already died from the “yellow peril” rhetoric spread by the media. He collapsed in Sydney’s Chinatown and died of a medical issue unrelated to the virus because people refused to administer CPR  due to a viral video going around of people apparently “collapsing” on the street in China.

There are no vaccines or precautions against negative attitudes toward certain countries or groups of people. To be fair, I see fear from both Asians and non-Asians, and China does need to be more transparent about how it responds to outbreaks. When it comes to viruses, let’s think Us vs. Virus, rather than point fingers and spread unhelpful paranoia.

Meet the Latina Fighting Chicago’s Period Poverty

Ashley Novoa started the Chicago Period Project to gather and give period supplies to homeless and in-need people. This includes pads, tampons, underwear, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and wipes. (Yes, having periods and being female in general, comes with a lot of costs!) Novoa works with the UI Health Pilsen Food Pantry in her old neighborhood to distribute the products.

“People talk about sex but are disgusted to talk about menstruation, even though it is the simplest part of reproductive justice. If people are not talking about periods, they fail to think about the menstrual struggles homeless people face with their periods,” Novoa says.

I love this because it’s a great example of starting where you are and working with your community. Also, it draws attention to the needs of homeless menstruators. Periods are so hidden that it seems as if people are not having periods at all, and among the resources given to the homeless, menstrual products are probably at the bottom of the list.

Support the Chicago Period Project here.

Sexual Racism: The Struggles AAPI Men Face and What We Can Do About It

It’s a fact: Asian men have a harder time getting matches on dating apps than Asian women. It’s uncomfortable to talk about hierarchies within your own race, but this is why it’s so important:

A phenomenon like this runs the risk of turning the female body into a commodity, of creating an arena in which Asian females come across as falsely privileged compared to their male counterparts and in which white women appear to be the ultimate prize. These racist stereotypes can fuel deep-rooted insecurities about Asian men’s masculinity and/or sexual appeal, which can spiral into negative notions about AAPI women.

Asain women’s privilege on dating apps really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and when you start to unpack what it implies — that it’s easier to get some people to date you, that it’s a privilege to date certain people — you see that sexual racism really pits people against each other, and as usual, white supremacy wins.

I don’t want to end on a bleak note, because I am really glad these articles were written. Online dating, period poverty, and viruses are all huge things that one individual can do very little to change, but I believe that microactions can be as helpful as microaggressions are harmful.

Let’s engage in and change the course of conversations about these topics. 🗣💬

(Monday) Morning Edition!

What I am reading this week:

  • Travel Guide to Monterey, California! I love Monterey! My dream is to live there one day. I love the central coast and how it’s close to both the water and the forest. I’m excited to go there for my friend @floandcat ‘s reception. It’s just such a peaceful and calm place.
  • Vegan sandwich recipes! I love sandwiches and tbh I’m intrigued by the idea of vegan sandwich fillings. I love tricking myself into eating meat and food that tries to taste like other things 😛 . I love the original versions of these sandwiches, I will definitely be returning to this.
  • Airbnb host kicks out black guests in racist exchange This was so unsettling to watch. It brought up a lot of questions I had already been wondering about. What does it mean to be a minority and person of color, and how do you confront infighting? It might not even be appropriate to call it infighting. As I go deeper into diverse books and supporting all creators, I think back to the people who have supported me and those who have put me down. What if the people putting you down are actually people just like you?
    • When I was teaching, some of the people I’ve had the hardest time with are Asian women. I don’t really know who to share this with because it might be those particular women, and I don’t want to put my own race and gender down. Is there a place to critique people in the groups you belong to, without being “self-hating”? =/
  • Giant cross-stitch! I think my next craft is going to be embroidery. I love meditative crafts like paper cutting, making dumplings, and cross-stitching because it helps me manage anxiety. I also love details and things coming together in the end, so I think this is a very suitable craft for me.
  • I. M. Pei’s obituary I think architecture is a kind of art too. It requires attention to detail, imagination, and it is most definitely a craft. How do architects make their own style and not make something for the sake of standing out, but because it is functional and useful too? I think these design questions help me a lot too, in the career that I am trying to pursue.
  • How to Find a Romance Novel I’m super glad to see that romance is evolving and becoming more inclusive! The thing I like most about it is that it is not written TO be like by the GP, and its somehow confident that readers will find it even if most people don’t. There are a few romance novels that are on my list this summer, and I’m so happy that there is romance for every one <3.

More TK!