Ironically, the highlight of my week was that I realized how real Yellow Fever is in this sad, sick world. If you haven’t heard of Yellow Fever before, it’s basically a label to describe someone who is into Asians in an obsessive way. It’s not a positive label, but rather a disgusting one in my opinion, and it just sucks that I had to experience it in my workplace from a customer.
Without getting too into the gross details, long story short, a customer sexually harassed me while I was at work because I was Asian.
Yep. That happened.
I mean, I’ve dealt with creepy and perv-y customers before, but there was something different about this instance. I strongly believe that it had something to do with me being young and Asian because he kept rambling about his half-Asian wife and all of the nice Asian customer service women that he’s met (or harassed). I’m pretty sure that was a dead giveaway. I should be mad at this guy, but in my heart, I feel more confusion and sadness. I was concerned about the state of his marriage and if his wife knew that he was coming onto other women. What about me did he find appealing compared to the other Asian women that worked at nearby places? Why didn’t I make my boundaries clear? Most importantly, isn’t he going to buy something from the store? He stopped by like 5 bajillion times.
I guess I never drew a line because I assumed personal space was a standard social cue. He didn’t get that. I was in no way interested in encouraging his advances. I just didn’t want to be rude and wanted him to buy something. However, I knew this situation would’ve ended very differently if I had been more assertive. From this experience, I caught a glimpse of what it’s like to be exoticized because of my tanned skin and almond eyes. It is not a good feeling at all. He made me feel cheap and disposable, which I know I’m not. I felt sorry for his desperate-ass and his wife who probably doesn’t know anything about this. I don’t even know her and I know she can do way better.
I’m angry at myself for not doing anything about it in the moment. Why did I let the fear of “being rude to a customer” get in the way of defending my self respect? Tbh, I am so shook that this pretty much proved that I am a product of a society that values females avoiding conflict rather than engaging in it. I just proved that I am a cog in a machine that tells women that we need to be polite 24/7 without even realizing it! It’s crazy to think that this idea of women being secondary to pretty much everything is actually supported by so many people out there! It’s even crazier to think that although a lot of women, such as myself, are against this notion, it has already been ingrained in our natural behaviors through our upbringing, experiences, and all of the do’s and dont’s our peers have told us to obey. It’s absolute madness.
Today, I woke up sick and tired of being a polite Asian woman. My blood is boiling from all this Yellow Fever around me. I’m out.
If you have any kind words to spare, please send some my way. Tbh, it’s been pretty hard to post because of this incident & dealing with the legality and aftermath of it. Any kind of encouragement or affirmation is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much! 😀