“I want to absolutely dominate your small, Asian body"
An Instagram account is exposes the fetishisation of Asian women on Tinder.
Instagram account @thefleshlightchronicles exposes how Asian women are fetishised on Tinder. Lillian, who runs the account signed up to Tinder in 2017 and was inundated with abusive messages.
Racist and sexist messages that flooded her inbox include, “I’ll eat your pussy like shrimp fried rice” and “I want to try my first Asian woman.” Another read, “I want to absolutely dominate your small, Asian body,”
Lillian then began to document her experience through memes on Instagram. Speaking to Broadly, Lillian said, “I began to realize that these interactions on Tinder matched up with my lived experience of being an Asian woman and I realized I could use this platform to talk about those experiences—and help others find validation through them, too.”
The Instagram account is comprised mostly of memes with pictures of Lillian. On the pictures, screenshots of the vile Tinder messages are shown.
In one meme, Lillian is shown sitting next to a title that reads “Man Sets Record for Amount of Stereotypes Sent in One Tinder Message.” Below the title, ‘Jon, 25’s message is displayed: “Explicitly, I want 7 half Asian children, 4 boys, 3 girls, all highly skilled in geometry and athletics.” Another of Jon’s messages reads, “Implicitly, I want someone to watch sports and drink beers with me because I’m a boy, right?”
Jon, 25: identifies as male, but is unsure so asks random women on Tinder for reassurance. Studied economics in college because he enjoys sweeping and often times incorrect generalizations about society as a way of hiding from the complexities in his own life. Father was a high school football coach in a red state. Favorite Pornhub category is “jock”. Y’all know what to do in the comments. Also this is Fourth of July themed because if you zoom in closely his tank top is a flag 🔥🇺🇸
More vulgar messages on other Instagram posts include, “I’ll eat your pussy like shrimp fried rice”, “Never been with an Asian before so banging you would be a dream come true, I need my yellow fever cured” and “Im going to be hones with you i want to choke you while ramming you. [sic]”
Pt. 2: Someone once asked me how I had the confidence of a White man—well babies let me just say, you are what you eat, and I happen to eat White men for breakfast. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on food + fetishization, check out @ashwmiller ‘s website (link in bio) which has a transcription of our conversation as a part of her really important (!) project “Conversations With.”
The myth of female sexual liberation: today we are taught that there is power in reclaiming female sexuality by participating in hook-up culture, that gender equality exists because we are allowed to fuck whoever we want. I think often about what this “freedom” means. I wonder how free I am when men call me a slut. I wonder how free I am when my body is policed on social media, how certain parts of me are deemed capable of moral corruption. I wonder how free I am when I have to cover up at work. I wonder how sexually free I am when the government limits my access to birth control and other reproductive rights. I wonder how free I am when I walk home at night and hold my keys in my hand because I am afraid. I wonder how free I am when I have been sexually assaulted and am, to this day, still dealing with the aftermath of this violence. And I wonder about all women, all femmes, because the idea of female sexual liberation does not apply equally across all groups. Can we really say women are sexually liberated when more than half of all trans women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, and when Black women make up 87% of all trans women that are murdered. Can we really say women are sexually liberated when queer women and women of color are constantly fetishized. Can we really say women are sexually free when asexual women are castigated for their decision to not have sex. Female sexual liberation is a myth fed to us by straight cis men because its narrow definition benefits them. Many of you who follow me are young femmes, and I beg of you, before you decide to buy wholesale into hook up culture and think of yourself as free, to recognize the context in which we exist and tell yourself that this freedom is limited and that we deserve more. All of us. So much more.
“Memes condense down a common or shared experience into a few words and a picture,” Lillian says. “With the increased use of social media, it makes them easily consumable which many people enjoy.”
She added that the images function “as a way to make information accessible, especially with a format like Instagram.”
Lillian often laughs at the messages she receives and doesn’t take them to heart. “To be honest, you can’t not laugh at the shit that happens on Tinder,” she says. “It is content that writes itself!”
However, Lillian also revealed that some of the messages are actually frightening. “To be honest, sometimes I get very scared. I have got threats in the past but not from people that I actually know. It has always been strangers on the Internet.”
“Of course, it shocks you and you do get worried for your own safety. It can be overwhelming but my account is also a coping strategy to make something out of it and to share with others who are going through similar things.”
For Lillian, most of the harassment stems from white supremacy. “The West has an extended history of exploiting and penetrating Asia for profit and gain,” she says. “I believe that this power dynamic, combined with stereotypical and shallow representations of Asian women in the media, causes this global power dynamic to be replicated on a smaller scale with women of color. Men genuinely seem to think that Asian women are submissive and are desperate to be dominated.”
Lillian has tried to block her abusers on Tinder but has often seen them appear with different profiles.
“Instagram and other digital media platforms seem quicker to shut down feminist accounts that show nudity,” she says. “They censor them but they aren’t so quick to respond to harassment claims or when people are receiving racist abuse.”