Actor Olivia Munn and other prominent AAPI figures decried the unfair and abusive treatment that Asian women face in a Jubilee YouTube special.
The Recipe for Change video, which premieres on Wednesday, features AAPI celebrities discussing the struggles and triumphs of the Asian American community over dinner. Attendees included actor BD Wong, comedian Margaret Cho, gymnast Katelyn Ohashi and Time’s Up Now President and CEO Tina Tchen, according to USA Today.
Munn, who is Vietnamese American, noted that Asian women confront degradation and objectification from all sides.
“It’s not just by men,” Munn said. “It’s by other women who may not like the way that we look because we have been coined as ‘exotic.’ That seems like something that a White woman can’t attain, but I don’t like being called exotic. I’ve been called exotic my whole life. I just want to be.”
Munn has repeatedly called out anti-Asian racism in her career. Some of her most visible advocacy moments include criticizing Teen Vogue‘s former editor-in-chief for racist tweets, starring in a #StopAsianHate PSA and responding to the Atlanta shootings in an MSNBC interview.
Other women at the dinner related their experiences of being silenced despite facing oppression. Ohashi disclosed that her parents discouraged her from speaking out about an abusive high school relationship; similarly, activist Amanda Nguyen shared that her parents doubted her decision to publicly discuss being raped.
“They were like, ‘What about your career? Why are you talking about this?'” Nguyen said according to USA Today.
Nguyen subsequently founded the civil rights organization Rise to empower survivors of sexual violence. She also helped push the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016 through Congress.
Munn agreed that expectations for Asian women to put up with the mistreatment are a large part of the problem.
“We are asked all the time to just accept it,” Munn said. “The way that we’re treated and the way that we are victimized is in a way that is very shameful to the rest of the world.”
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