With 25,700 followers on Instagram, Lillian Sun exposes online fetishism by fusing art and activism through her account @thefleshlightchronicles. Sun visited Andover for an affinity event for women of color last Sunday, May 20.
Organized by Asian Society, Sun’s visit provided a space for women of color to discuss and break down numerous topics, such as hook-up culture and how to educate people that are not willing to listen to others. Sun also led a discussion around the nuanced role of race in sexual and romantic views.
Jimin Lee ’20 said that she enjoyed the discussion, noting the scope of topics covered in the event’s two-hour time frame.
“We were all talking about how women’s rights are portrayed in different aspects of the school, as well as the world in general. For example, the rape culture of our school or the world, and how that affects women of color and how often times in rape culture, women of color are often excluded or we are over-sexualized, especially in porn,” said Lee.
According to Amy Chew ’20, the open conversation was insightful and inspirational, especially in the context of racism.
“A topic that I found really interesting that we talked about was the relationship between white supremacy and Asian people. [Sun] mentioned an online forum for white supremacists, where they specifically talked about tolerating Asian people over all other ethnicities. This was something I personally didn’t know, but thought was interesting,” wrote Chew in an email to The Phillipian.
Another subject matter attendees discussed with Sun was how hook-up culture related to women of color and masculinity. Sun proposed a theory that the fetishization of Asian women is more prevalent in college atmospheres than high school ones.
This theory struck Chi Igbokwe ’21, who mentioned this topic as the one she found most interesting within the overall discussion.
“In high school, it’s more of a general pushing aside of people of color, and [Sun] was talking about her theory [on] how she thinks [why] that’s the case: because as men get older, they begin to be more exposed to the general fetishization of Asian women in the media, and so they tend to develop those tendencies as they get older from high school to college. I thought it was a really interesting theory,” said Igbokwe.
Igbokwe described Sun as knowledgeable, emphasizing her ability to meld different components like art and education to combat the fetishization she experiences on online dating sites.
“She’s also very well-spoken, in the way that she formulates thoughts; I thought it was really intelligent. She had a lot of good ideas, and she said that she took poly-sci, and I liked how she combined poly-sci and social media and art and stuff to make her Instagram,” said Igbokwe.
Chew also appreciated Sun’s method of social media to advocate for herself and others.
“I think it’s important to be active about issues, because ignorance is a serious problem that everyone faces at some point in their life. If we aren’t active about the issues that we face, then in some way, we’re all fostering ignorance,” said Chew.