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Today I want to talk a little bit about one of my favorite actresses in recent years, Constance Wu. Wu came to my attention when she appeared on the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, which as a show kind of lost my interest but Wu was definitely the highlight for me — she was absolutely hilarious, so I started following her on Twitter on the off-chance that she was hilarious in real life. It ended up being a great follow, because not only is she funny, but she’s also been very outspoken about feminism and progressive values, which, you know, is something I’m vaguely interested in sometimes.
She gained even more prominence after she starred in the smash hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, and with that bump in fame, she’s become the target of angry men. Of course. She recently sat down on stage at Vulture Fest in LA to talk a little about her work, and the conversation turned to the hate she’s started getting, from “Asian incels,” as she called them, and “MRAsians,” as her interviewer Alex Jung termed them. He’s Korean American, so he’s allowed to say that. I’ll just say I laughed when I heard it.
Wu pointed out that the Asian incels found out that she had once dated a white man, and from that deduced that she has always dated exclusively white men, and this angered them. Asian incels — oh, just in case you weren’t already aware, incels are “involuntary celibates,” a term they’ve given themselves though the vast majority of them could definitely have sex if they take care of themselves, drop the misogyny, and shower once in awhile. Incels further categorize themselves into groups that help explain to them and others why they think they can’t have sex, whether that be because they’re short, fat, ugly, poor, or in this case, Asian. I’m not sure if any of them admit that it’s their awful personality that’s the trouble, and I’m kind of afraid to do a deep dive to find out. Like, I spent about 15 seconds Googling and ended up on an incel thread where they were laughing about how black people aren’t human, so yeah, I’m just going to guess that none of them realize what’s actually going on here.
Anyway, Asian incels think that they can’t get laid because women don’t like Asian men. Oh and by the way, incels are pretty much always men despite the fact that the term was coined by a lonely queer woman. Most incels fervently believe that a woman can get laid regardless of how ugly, short, or fat she is.
On to the irony, here: these men are harassing Constance Wu, even though she is on their side. In a way. Obviously she’s not down with the misogyny they express, but she does understand that Asian men are victims of our culture. She points out that she insisted they cut a line from her Crazy Rich Asians character, who in the book says that she never dated an Asian man until her partner in the film, Nick. She points out that “To say somebody is an exception to the rule is to reaffirm the rule,” the rule being that Asian men aren’t attractive as sexual partners.
This is exactly the type of thing that intersectional feminists want to fix. Asian men really aren’t often portrayed in Western media as being sexy or strong providers. In our culture, we elevate symbols of “manliness” that Asian men don’t tend to exhibit — bushy beards, broad shoulders, a height over 6 feet. Meanwhile, we elevate symbols of “femininity” that Asian women do exhibit — tiny frame, quiet voice, and an assumed submissiveness. These are two sides of the same coin, and feminists want to throw that coin in the trash because all it does is hurt people. Asian women end up getting objectified as exotic, silent sex slaves, and Asian men end up getting ignored for not seeming manly enough.
This is why intersectional feminism is important — you get to see the way sexism interacts with racism and xenophobia, which helps us stamp out all of it.
Unfortunately, the MRAsians have swallowed the lie that women are all subhuman shallow whores, so they can’t see what’s right in front of their faces — or who is just on the other side of their computer screen, fighting for their rights while they try to harass her off the internet.