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Well-meaning people can try to explain it away. Loud and soft and whole and flawed.
Well-meaning people can misunderstand if you try to show them the ways you feel dehumanized. On a vacation to Virginia Beach, a homeless man high-fived my boyfriend and asked him, without ever looking at me, what it was like to sleep with an Asian girl.
How do you explain feeling small when you know you are magnificent? I brought up the comment later on the car ride home.
They can be your partner. I was talking to another Asian friend about dating — bad dates, embarrassing dates, funny dates — when we inevitably got to the topic of dating as women of color. Immediately, my boyfriend got defensive and accused me of overreacting.
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But the moment passed and no one batted an eye. Sometimes you will have to show them who you are.
Well-meaning people can be your friends. Other women have not had to do this, I remember thinking, as he examined my face.
Well-meaning people can be ignorant. At first, the weight of the question, and the anger of years having an idea thrust upon me, overwhelmed me.
I felt like the question trivialized my experience of being objectified. He preferred women without make-up, but I have sparse eyebrows and monolids, like a lot of Asian women, which means I usually need a little more eye makeup than most. A guy I used to date asked one day to look at my eyes up close.