National Chairperson, [email protected]
It is with a heavy heart that AF3IRM condemns the recent murders of mostly Asian women at several Georgia massage establishments. Eight people were killed on Tuesday night, six of them were Asian women, four of those women were Korean nationals. While Georgia officials have not confirmed that these murders were racially motivated, AF3IRM will not wait on the State to acknowledge what we know is the direct consequence of racism and male supremacy under imperialism.
Under the current system, militarized patriarchy consists of both state and non-state actors alike who are sanctioned to brutally objectify and commodify women’s bodies for pleasure and profit. Regardless of motive, the state will act to protect non-state actors even when they target our sisters in cold blood.
Asian and Pacific Islander women have been dealing with assaults, harassment, and microaggressions not just during the pandemic, but for most of our lives. There is a racialized and gendered caste that stems from harmful stereotypes of passivity, submissiveness, and hypersexuality as portrayed in the trope of the geisha. Asian migrant women are funneled at alarming rates into low-wage service industries such as casual massage, which perpetuate the conditions for racialized and sexual violence.
AF3IRM was founded by Asian women who have been calling for the dismantling of systems of oppression that prey on immigrant and transnational women. While we are heartbroken, this is not new for us. We have survived violence and femicide in our homelands. We are the granddaughters of women who survived gender-based and sexual violence via wars and colonization.
The United States’ imperial conquests (in the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, among others) laid the foundation that has led us to the present context–where US military bases have dotted the map of Southeast and East Asia for as long as we can remember, demanding a forced supply of local women to satiate the sexual appetites of foreign troops. The militarization of our communities created a market for brothels and beer houses–into which girls as young as 13 are forced.
US military expansion in Asia has not only led to increased destabilization of local economies resulting in expansion of the sex trade but has resulted in the decades-long, unbroken exodus of thousands of women from their home countries. In many cases, women are trafficked straight into the Empire’s belly. A significant percentage of Asian women living in the US face socio-economic hardships which are exacerbated by the fetishizing and racist tropes hurled at them on a daily basis.
We are witnessing violence that results from the fetishization of Asian women, and AF3IRM is grieving this horrifying display of what male entitlement can achieve under a system that upholds it. But we must be clear that the sexualization of women of color is not a “women’s issue.” The treatment of our bodies as property to be taken, used, or disposed of upholds patriarchal capitalism at its core.
These murders pierce deeply during Women’s History Month, a time when women around the world rise up to demand an end to violence against us. AF3IRM invites all people to unite in solidarity to fight all racism and male supremacy—the root causes that perpetuate our collective suffering.
We affirm our militant commitment to combating and abolishing all of these structures so that we do not have to mourn our sisters who are killed for merely existing.
Land and Women are not for conquest! Land Back, Bodies Back!
AF3IRM is a transnational feminist organization. Our lived experiences inspired our #NotYourFetish campaign in 2013 to end a now-defunct music band that attempted to build a brand off of the hypersexualization of Asian women. We continue to demand an end to the dehumanizing conditions that turn Black, Indigenous and women of color into factories for men’s pleasure and profit through our Purple Rose Campaign.