Yellow Fever, Asian Fetishes, and Sexual Violence

“Hey sexy mama!”

“Hey baby girl, give us a smile!”

“Nice rack!”

Ask any woman, and there is a good chance she has heard some of these phrases at some point in her life. Catcalling is a well-known tatic men who attempt to exert dominance over women often use. When targeting Asian women, the attack can take on an even more direct and vulgar tone.

“I’ve never been with an Asian before, I need my yellow fever cured…”

“My last 3 girlfriends were Asian.”

“I heard Asian pussies are tighter. Can I test yours out?”

The term “Yellow Fever” has been making the news recently with Whole Foods hosting a restaurant named Yellow Fever in one of its stores. The restaurant owners claim to be reappropriating the term and using it tongue-in-cheek for humor. Nicki Minaj’s music video “Chun-Li” further perpetuates the tired hypersexual Asian woman trope. Yellow fever dehumanizes Asian women and contributes to a culture where sexual violence against Asian women is normalized. This term should not be used for humor or re-appropriated. There can be no self-empowerment in this concept that is so clearly misogynistic.

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