Adoption Stories from Adopted the Movie - A Feature Film by Barb Lee

January 2, 2007

Asian Women as Exotic

Amanda Baden, a transracial adoptee and adoption psychologist, on the exotification of Asian culture.

One of the interesting facets of being Asian in American, an Asian woman in America is recognizing in our culture that there is a tendency to exoticize Asian women in this society. And so for parents who are raising children who are Chinese and adopted, their recognition of that may take on a different tone. They may not be aware of it in the same way that I, as an adult woman, am aware of it. And so, emphasizing the child’s tie to Chinese heritage and cultures is wonderful; but, there is also this tendency to sort of–there can be a fine line I guess I should say– between objectifying being Chinese and celebrating being Chinese. And so when we objectify and exoticize this Far East kind of place, then it doesn’t become real to us here in America. And it’s hard to incorporate that sense of what China is in our everyday experience. So for a child who only sees that being Chinese means wearing those silk jackets and doing line dances, may be an inaccurate way for them to think about it. And may not help them at all understand how they interact as a Chinese person in school or at work with their friends on the playground. So we have to sort of balance it much more carefully.

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