That’s really all I want to be
Desired by someone,
Knowing that I am worthy of attention and intimacy.
Entering the sex-filled word of high school, thats all I wanted to be.
I was already smart,
I had good friends,
I did sports
but I was never sexy.
I’d see all those white people on screen with girls and boys fanning over them.
They served as a reflection
They had the confidence to say I’m Sexy, I’m on that screen.
I wish I could say the same
Whenever I look onto the screen
I don't see someone desirable
I don't see someone sexy
I don’t even see a full character
In the mirror, I don't see sexy,
I see the neighbor from Sixteen Candles
the character for comedic relief
I don't see sexy
I see thick-framed glasses
I’ve struggled throughout my life to accept what I look like
And I’m still not there
I long after that slightly wavy chestnut hair
those sharp jawlines
those blue eyes
I hate how I look
I never take photos and the ones I did I deleted soon after
I wanted to erase myself
I couldn’t bear to look at something
When I see myself on screen
I don't see someone I want to be
I don't see a role model
I see a cautionary tale
A tale to me, a warning to stay in my lane.
I’m not sexy.
I'm not pretty.
I'm not desired.
I'm here only for others.
I serve my purpose and vanish
There's no need for confidence nor self-esteem because that doesn't fit my role.
I am not beautiful because that is not my role.
All I ever wanted to be was sexy
but for Asians in this world
that's not a possibility.
- Nathan Cho
Growing up as an Asian man, I've been bombarded with how ugly I was. I suffered through years of comments about my genitals, my sexuality, and my beauty (or lack there of). I never found myself pretty. I never found myself desirable. This message is amplified throughout media where Asian men are constantly put as undesirable, and that we are only desired when we are being fetishized as feminine. With my piece, I wanted to voice my perception and relationship with beauty and show how we need to break the silence around it. We need Asian sex symbols. We need people for asian boys to look up to and say that they are beautiful because I do not want to leave behind a world where future little asian boys hate their face as much as I do.
I'm first-generation Korean American that lives in Delaware. I'm really into activism, especially asian activism. In my free time, I love to read and watch Netflix. I just finished this great book called "Only Mostly Devastated" I really recommend it if you are into Romance and Racial/LGBTQ+ representation. I love talking about my identity and LGBTQ+ issues. I'm a middle child in a 5 person family, and I've always felt a little overlooked by both my family and community. If you want to get to know me, contact me on instagram at @nathancho42.
Cover photo source: Andrew Kung https://www.cnn.com/style/article/andrew-kung-asian-american-men/index.html