Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Article Index

D. Depictions of Women

As discussed above, Orientalist ideology and fears about immigration led anti-Chinese forces to portray Asian women as sexualized and slave-like, and therefore a moral and physical threat to the nation. The statutory emphasis on the exclusion of Chinese prostitutes propagated the stereotype of Asian women as sexual objects and as slaves. These stereotypes persisted into the modern era as a result of U.S. military presence in Asia, which led to military-prostitution and further contributed to the objectification and sexualization of the Asian female body. This image of Asian women has been portrayed and perpetuated in film and other media. These stereotypes of Asian women promote the selling, buying, and possession of the Asian body.

IMBs perpetuate this stereotype by presenting Asian women as sexual and subservient. On the IMB websites, the foreign women are contrasted against American women, who are characterized as career-focused. For example, one IMB advertisement states, In the Philippines wives are very loyal house wives . . . [a] nd the Filipina believes that men must have regular sexual activity . . . . She is there, among other things, to be a provider of quality sex.

Another website touts its loving Asian girls. Yet another claims, women in Asia are brought up to be family-oriented. . . . perfectly happy to be a homemaker than to have a career. The Japanese American Citizens League expressed concerns that the advertising used by mail order bride companies reinforce[s] negative sexual and racial stereotypes of Asian women.

The IMB industry perpetuates and exploits the stereotype of Asian women as sexual and docile in an effort to entice Western men to meet and marry Asian women. The same characteristics that once made them unfit for immigration to the United States now make Asian women the ideal spouses for American men searching for a traditional relationship.

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law