Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Asian American Studies

Reader 1

Piya Chatterjee

Reader 2

Stef Torralba

Rights Information

© 2024 Emma Fukunaga


This thesis seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the hypersexualization of Asian American women. Hypersexualization, defined as the assumption of non-normative sexual characteristics inherent to a person’s race or gender, affects all aspects of the lives of Asian American women. Sexual perversity has been assigned to the Asian female body without their consent, ranging from intense purity or over-sexualization. In this thesis, the term “Asian American” primarily foregrounds diasporic communities from Korea, Japan, China, and Vietnam. This project argues that hegemonic structures of the U.S. Empire have created hypersexualized media representations of Asian and Asian American women. These representations deny this community of agency, autonomy, and safety in their sexualities. Using historical and media analyses, I first provide an understanding of hypersexualized stereotypes in pop culture. I then utilize contemporary case studies and interviews to explore the impacts of the subject on Asian American women’s romantic, professional, and emotional lives. To conclude this thesis, I discuss the theoretical frameworks of intersectionality, “productive perversity,” and Audre Lorde’s “erotic” in order to look towards a liberated future in which Asian American women can be imagined and accepted inclusive of their complex, unique sexualities – not seen as inferior because of them. My research on the hypersexualization of Asian American women has helped me understand the ways this issue has affected my life and will continue to do so. I hope that this thesis makes other Asian American women feel seen in their experiences with hypersexualization.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.