The club erupts in white guy comedian laughter. Even my date, neither white nor a comedian, is laughing. “Oh, I mean, uh, green tea ice cream!” the comic adds, and everyone laughs harder.
If you’re reading this, Anonymous Comic, I’m not sorry for the dirty look I shoot as you retreat to your lone seat. First of all, there’s got to be a funnier metaphor for having sex than “trying ice cream, dude.” Secondly, not to be cruel, but it’s pretty clear why you showed up sans wife to your set. I’m guessing--hoping--that your wife would take issue with your material: first at being literally objectified into ice cream, then at being deemed “vanilla.” Can’t a white girl at least be peach flavored? But hey man, at least you totally definitely don’t hate the gays cause you're such a Stand Up Guy (cue snare drum)(cue applause at what a great guy you are.)
The reason that bad comedian’s bad joke bothers me so much? It is based on a reality I live in, but it only perpetuates the stereotypes I see in the world instead of turning them on their head. When first researching this series, I google image searched the word “half-Asian.” What returned was page after page of scantily-clad mixed-race Asian ladies. I was dismayed to find that with no modifiers signifying gender or sex, I was still served a full plate of adult images featuring female breasts, thighs, abdomens, as if every half-Asian is a woman, as if every half-Asian woman is perpetually in a state of undress, as if half-Asian women are solely meant to be consumed. Now, I’m no Puritan. I support everyone’s right to be photographed in a thong! But with its passive voice, even that last sentence implies the photographee as object-- not inherently problematic, but frequently so.
“Asian” is one of the most-searched porn terms in America, as if race was, indeed, a sexual ice cream flavor that one could try. This fetishization of Asian peoples, particularly women, has its roots in Orientalism and colonization. It finds its base in the obsession with the other, with the unknown, which, again, is not inherently wrong; it simply leads to debasing and dehumanizing patterns of interpersonal behavior, some of which are chronicled in Kristina Wong’s awesome xoJane article.
We wrote about some of this in episode 2 of our series, “What Are You?,” an almost-verbatim recreation of a night when two grown men approached Kelly and me with the titular question of that episode. They insisted on guessing our ethnic makeup, an interesting tactic that, unlike the Bend and Snap, has a 0% rate of return on a dinner invitation because it’s seldom used appropriately. I don’t necessarily mind being defined by my race, but may object when my race solely defines me, or worse, solely defines my desirability.
Our series name, 2 Girls | 1 Asian, is a racial equation which describes my co-creator and I in light of the ever-present “what are you?” My co-creator Kelly Colburn and I are each half-Asian; together, there is one whole Asian between us. Our title is meant to add us together, to place us in light of our friendship, something unfortunately rare in current mainstream media. Together as 2 Girls | 1 Asian we are better than our individual parts. (Unless you put us in a bar; then we’re just drunker than our individual parts.) As some have inquired, our title is also a double-entendre, referencing an infamous and, from what I understand, less than savory (sorry!) pornographic video. But contrary to what our spoof title may suggest, the actual content of our series is fairly PG-rated and fairly feminist. Kelliye and Caela are portrayed with regards to their relationships and their accomplishments (or lack thereof) rather than their sexploits or sex appeal. They audition together, they drink together, they wait tables together and, as you'll see in the upcoming Episode 6: "Model Minority," they eat kale chips together.
With our title, we ultimately hope to address the most important part of the show: our friendship. Along the way, we hope it is a reclamation and lampoon of the excessive sexualization of mixed-race women, particularly women of Asian descent. If you can’t beat ‘em, parody ‘em, right? Because making this webseries, at least for me, is like eating ice cream-- the further I get into it, the happier I am with the choice I made.