May is a time of recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. It celebrates the culture, history, and contributions of Asians in the United States. They are small in terms of population, but have made significant advances in society. Just like African Americans, Asian Americans had to deal with the challenges of white supremacy. Although they get less coverage than their white and black counterparts, Asian women have been successful in sport. They have to face prejudice, because of their race and sex. Yet, they still rise and perform with excellence. Over the years there have been talented Asian American athletes.
Asian Americans like other non-white ethnic groups are subject to racist stereotypes. The relevance to Asian women combines both racist and sexist beliefs. For East Asian women there was the stereotype of the Dragon Lady. This was a depiction in films, novels, and television that portrayed East Asian women as manipulative, cunning, and gold diggers. This expands to a much worse stereotype of Asians being furtive and treacherous. This is the complete opposite of the China doll stereotype. This belief was that Asian women were submissive, weak, helpless, and over sexed. Other Asians from the Middle East, Central Asia, and Oceania face similar racial stereotypes. Some people in the West either do not consider them “real”Asians or lump them all together in the same group. There is common belief that Asians are not as athletic as other races. For Asian women they have to face the challenge of both racist and sexist beliefs. The idea that Asian women are weaker than other women has been proven false by impressive athletes. There are not only incredible Asian women athletes coming from America, but from the continent itself.
Kristi Yamaguchi – Ice Skater
Roqaya Al-Grassa- Track Athlete
Brenda Raganot- Bodybuilder
There are numerous examples of Asian women excelling at sport. They are still under represented in professional sports in the West. Sports teams could pass over Asians, because of racist stereotypes. Asian women have it harder due to the fact gender issues are compounded with race. Over the decades Asian women have contributed to various sports that range from ice skating, weightlfting, bodybuilding, golf, and surfing. Another arena in which Asian women perform remarkably is the Asian Games. Athletes come from all over Asia to compete in this contest. It is pan-continental and includes multiple events. The games have recognition from the IOC and is close to being as epic as the Olympics in terms of spectacle. Most countries send women to compete, but Saudi Arabia still refuses to do so. They did not send any woman to the 2014 Asian Games claiming ” their women had not trained sufficiently to be competitive.” This was obvious gender bias, but it seems the majority of Asian nations have gradually become more accepting of women’s participation in sport. It seems that women all around the world are getting more involved in athletic contest. Asia will catch up with its European counterparts in more ways than one.