Why it takes a lot of guts for Asian girls to become influencers
There’s a wave of Instagram baddies taking over the social media scene, and they’re Asian.
Of course, Asian girls are just as stylish as any other race. But it’s surprising that these particular girls are becoming influencers, because of how they defy the stereotypes held against Asian women.
Asian beauty standards are different than American ones. Women are considered beautiful if they are fair-skinned with smaller, feminine facial features. Their skin is supposed to be free of tattoos, and their hair is sleek, straight and black.
And not only are the beauty standards different, but so are the ideals of what a woman should be in the household and profession. We’ve all heard the jokes about Asians becoming doctors and engineers because they’re just all so good at math, but the truth is that some people wanna do their own thing.
Girls like @sacheu and @therunwaygirl on Instagram are telling the world that they don’t give a f*ck about what anyone thinks they’re supposed to look like or who they’re supposed to be. It’s okay to be thicc (with two c’s!) and show off your body. Get tattoos and become a blogger instead of what your parents want you to be.
These Instagram baddies are redefining what it means to be a proper Asian woman.
Sarah Cheu, Instagram influencer and YouTube beauty guru, grew up in a Chinese household with two immigrant parents. Her mother was a housewife, and Sarah was raised to be one as well. From cooking to cleaning, everything she learned was to make her more marketable as a wife in the future.
Seeing that Sarah is now 21 and still isn’t married, she has already escaped an expectation of young Asian women: to get married and have children. She says her mom was “not able to be financially independent because of her dependency on [her] father.”
Her mom was the backbone of the household by doing the chores, taking care of the children, and supporting her husband. Although Sarah appreciates all that her mom has done for her family, she says, “I could never do that. I want to have a say in every aspect of my life, and I want to be different.”
Sarah’s lifestyle of being an online influencer is the complete opposite of what every Asian stereotype about careers says, which is be a doctor or a pharmacist to make the family proud.
Although her family didn’t understand it at first, they’ve warmed up to the idea of her making money off of the Internet. She laughs, “My mom even asks me to post pictures of her and tag her now so she can get more followers on Instagram.”
Her friends back in Hong Kong, however, are still stuck in the mentality that one has to pursue a certain career to get the “right” husband. Although Sarah says she isn’t “too fussed about getting married,” she knows her friends don’t see marriage as an option. It’s the next step in life, and they make themselves marketable to bachelors in order to have a good life in the future.
Unlike the Asian beauty standard of needing to be thin, Sarah embraces her body’s natural curves and shows them off in her pictures. Some people could see this as too revealing, and her family “always tells [her] to cover up or lose some weight” to look more like their idea of what an Asian woman should be like. She knows her family comments on her appearance out of love because they want her to be attractive, but she doesn’t take their comments too seriously.
Sarah has a booty, let’s be real, and she’s not afraid to show it. She says, “Whenever I go to family events, they always slap my ass and tell me I’m like Kim Karadashian.”
Grace Quin, another badass Asian girl and Instagram influencer, has the same experiences when visiting her family. Her grandparents always tell her she needs to “lose twenty pounds and start wearing more sunscreen because [she’s] too tan.”
She’s gotten used to the comments but feels like she doesn’t need to change anything about herself to conform to any beauty standard. Being on the tall side for an Asian girl (5’8), thick, and tan, Grace is happy in her body.
The stigma about Asian girls needing to be thin and fair-skinned upsets her because “not every girl is going to be the same.” It makes sense. A girl who loves individuality and herself is not going to change herself to make other people comfortable.
Grace’s Instagram pictures show her sporting the sickest ‘fits, and sometimes her clothes show off her body. This isn’t common in Asia where girls usually cover their bodies to be conservative and to also keep their skin from tanning.
She even has tattoos and her nipples pierced — two things that Asian cultures don’t necessarily accept in society. Back in the day when our grandparents and parents were in our homelands, tattoos and piercings were associated with gang members, but now that we’re in 2017, a girl like Grace can get both and not be a gang member (although, she’s def a G for doing what she wants).
Her parents are unaware of her tats and piercings, but she doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal. She says, “They just worry that I won’t be sure of it later on or a future employer might not like it.” Her tattoo is an upside down triangle, and she got it for her 18th birthday because she “honestly just wanted a tattoo.” And her nipples? “I was drunk in Paris,” Sarah laughs.
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When it comes to Grace’s career choices, her parents are pretty lenient because they’ve become westernized since being in the States. Of course, she grew up with her family teasing her about becoming a doctor, but Grace soon realized that she was shit at math and science, so she had to make it clear that becoming a doctor wasn’t something she wanted to do with her life. She says, “I’m blessed with parents who value my happiness over how much money I’m going to be making.”
These girls have a happy ending to how their lifestyle choices have made their family see them, but it took a lot of courage to rebel and do what they want instead of listening to what they were supposed to do. In true baddie form, Sarah and Grace have complete control over their lives despite the obstacles they faced in being comfortable with themselves.