Actress Constance Wu refused to bow down to Asian stereotypes.
The “Fresh Off The Boat” star made an impassioned speech at Saturday’s Women’s March in Los Angeles, where she encouraged women to fight fetishization and stereotypes about Asians and opened up about her own negative experiences with men.
“I march today for Asian-American women who have been ignored, or judged or fetishized or expected to be a certain way to fulfill a certain idea of what a sweet girl should be,” Wu said in her speech. “To that, I say you can be anyone you want to be.”
A Facebook dating app “Are You Interested” released a study in 2013 showing that white, black and Latino men all showed a greater preference toward Asian women. Asian fetishes are typically rooted in the racist stereotypes that Asian women are docile and willing to comply without argument. That stereotype has been immortalized in movies such as “The Barbarian and The Geisha” and “Full Metal Jacket.”
Wu’s speech touched on those problematic stereotypes and pushed for better portrayals of Asians in media.
“That’s why we created the Time’s Up movement for equality and representation across all cultures, background, sexual orientations and abilities ― so that you can feel safe being whoever you want to be,” Wu told the crowd.
Wu told The New York Times in 2016 that her steady work on “Fresh Off The Boat” has given her the privilege to shift her focus “from self-interest to Asian-American interests.” The actress has used her platform to push for modern characterizations of Asians and to bring attention to the differences in the Asian-American experience.
Watch Wu’s full speech at the 14-minute mark in the video above.