Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

Asian women; intersectionality; race; gender; sexual violence; Atlanta Spa Shootings


This paper explores how mainstream media frames the racial gendering of Asian women through a case study of the 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings. Fifteen articles sourced from the top ten national newspaper entities published between March 16th, 2021 and October 2021 analyze how Asian American women are subjected to at least a double feminized social location on account of their race and gender within a U.S. contemporary context. I explore how themes of race, gender, and hyper-sexualization intersect to produce the archetype of Asian women as exotic, docile temptresses. This analysis centers around the dynamic between Asian women and White men positioned within a heterosexual matrix. My findings discuss how the fetishization of Asian women foregrounded the targeted attack on three Asian spas and six female Asian lives. Moreover, the influence of racial gendering of Asian women motivates the “exotic” desire for Asian women, commonly denoted as complimentary, while simultaneously legitimizing their bodies as disposable vessels for White male rage. Finally, I discuss the implications yellow fever for Asian women within the domain of attraction and desire exposing them to sexual, physical, and symbolic violence expressed as fetishization.

Lay Summary

This study discusses how the media frames the racial gendering of Asian American women through an analysis of the 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings. This paper explores Asian sexual politics through discussion on the origins of stereotypes regarding Asian women as submissive and exotic. I argue that “positive” forces of racial fetishization for Asian women is morally objectionable and subjects them to racial sexual violence as an expression of desire. My discussion expands on how tropes of Asian women coalesce to reify the particular form racialized sexism between Asian women and White men.