Girls of Kyrgyzstan
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 2011
All I want for Christmas are more queer ladies in the media.
I had this lying in my sketchbook for a few months, so I slapped some color onto it yesterday.
Some stuff for French Club. Not that it’s news to anyone, but remember to SAVE YO’ CRAP before photoshop freezes on you.
Dear Mr. Mike Babchik of Man Banter,
You thought you were having fun last month at New York Comic Con when you and your film crew gained access to the convention using your job credentials at SiriusXM Radio. You thought this would be a great opportunity to provide footage for your YouTube show (now defunct, thankfully). You thought it would make great television to pull me aside, to put your mic in my face, to drive your camera’s light in my eyes and to ask if you could buy me.
You thought it was just a joke when you said you wanted to buy an umbrella with an Asian girl — because I was holding a parasol.
You thought you were being clever by mistaking me for a geisha girl, like the many submissive, diminutive women you’ve seen on TV or on the Internet or in movies.
You thought that because I was small and female and Asian, it gave you the right to ridicule my existence.
Well, this letter isn’t for your sake, Mr. Babchik, but for the sake of my childhood, where everyone only told me one story about being a Vietnamese woman, a woman like me. The nasal screech of “Me love you long time!” set to a rap beat. Miss Saigon’s little Kim forever pining after her American solider to save her. Robert Olen Butler won a Pulitzer for writing stories about war refugees, but also wrote a book where a Vietnamese – American boy thought his absent mother must be “whoring herself up and down the East Coast.” In the movies, Chris Farley got attacked by the “Saigon whore that bit his nose off” but I was the only one who didn’t laugh.
This is what it means to be Vietnamese and to be female in the United States. This is also what it means to be an Asian woman in the eyes of many: sexed up and downtrodden and pitiful and there for someone else’s amusement.
This letter isn’t for your sake, Mr. Babchik, but for the sake of my mother and my aunts and my grandmothers and my cousins. My family comes from a country you probably have never seen outside of Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. My family is from the city of Saigon.
Thank you to Hyphen Magazine for offering me the opportunity to speak about the sexual stereotypes that myself and other Asian & Asian-American women face in the United States.
Please read, signal-boost, and sign the petition by 18 Million Rising here. The petition is set to close in the next few days, so any additional support is much appreciated.
Hoi An - Vietnam
By Marco Estrella