The ‘problem’ of Asian women’s sexuality: public discourses in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Simon-Kumar, R. (2009). The ‘problem’ of Asian women’s sexuality: public discourses in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 11(1), 1-16.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2731
Public health research in New Zealand views Asian health - particularly, Asian women's sexual health issues - as a priority problem. In recent years, high rates of abortion and the growing incidence of unsafe sex among younger age Asian migrants have been publicised as a health concern. Public health research implicates migrant experiences and cultural factors as responsible for these trends. Loneliness and isolation among international students, inability to communicate effectively in English and lack of knowledge of available services are highlighted as reasons for the growing sexual ill-health in the Asian population in New Zealand. Extending from these, public health measures aim at improving culture-sensitive services, including targeted education. The present paper offers a critical commentary on these accepted public health perceptions that inform policy in New Zealand. It takes a Third World feminist approach to critique dominant public health discourses on Asian women's sexuality and questions the construction of knowledges about what are 'normal' and 'pathological' sexual practices. The paper revisits the data used to describe the 'problem' of Asian sexuality and argues that in order to understand sexual practices, it is important to query the cultural lenses that are used to describe and define them.