The Giant Asian Girls are an acrylic painting and collage series that contemplates the unique intersection of gender-based violence and racial stereotypes for Asian women living in the United States. In one aspect, the work is a counterbalance to the western “fetishization” of Asian women, and in another, it is a fantasy narrative about the privilege of size.
In a departure from my previous work that revealed the vulnerability of women who suffered childhood abandonment, abuse and neglect, The Giant Asian Girls take up huge spaces in the paintings and dwarf various tumultuous vignettes from children’s stories. Devoid of gender and racial oppression, they impassively look around with total ease in their own existence.
As an Asian woman living in the U.S., I have witnessed the pervasive western male perception that women like me are sexually exotic, physically delicate and culturally submissive, in other words, the fetishization of Asian “girls”. Bolstered by racist depictions of Asian women as sexually submissive in rape and torture pornography, the suffering of victims of sexual violence is trivialized by the notion that we want to be dominated and are less likely than western women to report rape.
American men often comment about our “small” body size, masking them as compliments when what they really mean is weak, less able to fight off advances. Delicate as china dolls and silent as Geishas.
The Giant Asian Girls are powerful giantesses, towering over familiar Disney characters and scenes from Golden Books and Richard Scarry stories. They benevolently gaze at the chaotic events happening around them; dominating entire villages with their size. They are not rushed, threatened or oppressed.
Although a fantasy, The Giant Asian Girls are the manifestation of every Asian woman living in the western world who has hurt inside after seeing images of the dehumanizing, fetishized version of themselves, or felt oppressed by the stereotypes of cultural passivity. The Giant Asian Girls literally grew out of the intersectionality of racism and sexism that Asian women experience living in America.