Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, Vol. 3, Pp. 511-543, 2000
Posted: 11 Oct 2002
The author uses the correspondence between a man who posed as an SAF (Single Asian Female) in personals ads and those who responded to the ads to examine how the men constructed Asian women, white men, and concepts of American manhood. Not surprisingly, the correspondents immediately created and deployed identities based on well-known stereotypes of both Asian women and American manhood. Once the correspondents realized that they had been duped, they persisted in believing that the culprit was an Asian woman. The stereotypes they used as complainants shifted from images of highly sexualized, willingly subordinate Asian women to those of scheming, duplicitous Asian women. As complainants, the men repositioned themselves by simultaneously claiming victimhood and by claiming their rights as members of the State to take action against the perpetrator. In the transition, the fictional women's immigrant status assumed more significance and became obviously negative. The author then examines the way in which the law accommodates and legitimizes use of stereotypes. The examination initially focuses on the use of stereotypes in the prosecution of this mail fraud case. It then uses the Immigration Marriage Fraud Act and the Violence Against Women Act provisions for abused spouses to show that how laws provide space for and legitimize the use of race and sex-based stereotypes against women.
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