The Cardinal Edge


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.

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