This Jewelry Collection Is Calling Out Men Who Fetishize Asian Women

Ada Chen, an artist and jewelry designer, was tasked to create a thesis project to graduate from Pratt Institute earlier this year. With this opportunity, she decided to craft a collection called “Made In Chinese America” to address her background and the stereotypes that surround it.

In an interview with Refinery29 Chen said, “The collection was initially supposed to represent the most intimate aspects of my culture, but it became very politically charged in its development. The politics and culture complemented each other very well.”

Chen began her project with jeweled headbands that wrap around the head to pull the user’s eyes back.

About the piece, Chen said, “This piece refers to how Westerners’ favorite way to describe ‘Asian’ is to pull their eyes back to exaggerated slants. This mocking motion indicates, again, an otherness that Asians have negatively internalized, giving rise to beauty products like double eyelid tape and to double eyelid surgery to achieve a more Western look.”

Chen’s next piece is a pair of Grillz and earrings. The grillz say, in Chinese, “Speak Chinese We’re In America” while the earrings say “Speak English We’re In America.”

Chen said, “In a country where immigrants are significantly contributing to its livelihood, many conservative Americans love to tell people of color who speak languages other than English to ‘speak English’ in order to make these POC feel like they don’t belong.”

Next in Chen’s collection is a series of brooches entitled “Good A.B.C. (American Born Chinese) Behavior” that address what Asian families expect of their first-generation children.

No piece from Chen’s collection has blown up in the same way that her text message earrings have. Featuring conservations Chen has had with white men, these earrings have gone viral.

Ada Chen’s collection proves that jewelry can be beautiful, cool, and unique while still delivering an incredibly important message.

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