Big bootied black women, curvaceous Latinx women with fiery tempers and quiet, submissive Asian women. These are some of the stereotypes that have littered media and society, leading to unrealistic expectations of women based solely on their race and ethnicity.
Paulina Abustan, who is currently a women, gender and sexuality studies instructor and doctoral student, is a gender fluid queer Pinay who has experienced sexualized racial stereotypes first hand.
“I often notice the male gaze, that stare on me, as I navigate spaces,” Abustan said. “Men will approach me because I am Filipino and [ask questions targeting] my identity.”
Asian women, largely due to their media depictions, are seen to be submissive and subservient, especially when with their romantic partners, Abustan said. The portrayals do not stop at media, she said — it spreads to common society.
“I’ve had men approach me in public, [and say] ‘I love Filipina women,’ ” Abustan said. “That’s just not OK.”
Racial fetishization is also common in other communities, she said. Queer Filipino men are also expected to be obedient to their partner. According to stereotypical media portrayals, she said, black women are supposed to be highly sexual and Latinx people are called “spicy.”
“People [from these communities are expected] to do whatever for their partner. These expectations of [different communities] are just incorrect,” Abustan said. “A lot of these expectations do come from media.”
Despite efforts being made to stop it, there is almost too much of it present for an impact to be seen as of now, Abustan said.
“There’s a long way to go,” she said.
Individuals can help by starting to change their way of thinking, Abustan said. Not expecting people to abide by stereotypes and allowing them to express their own personality traits will drastically help.
“I highly recommend for people to stop putting people in boxes and having expectations of us, our mind, our bodies, the way we love and the way we [don’t] love,” she said. “As I walk around the world, I just want to be me.”