"Asian women are exposed to British racism even before they arrive in Britain. To gain entry permission they have had to go through long and rigorous interviews in the British Embassies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They have had to undergo the ordeal of answering absurd and very intimate questions about themselves, their husbands and their families. Questions such as ‘How long did you spend with your husband on the wedding night?’ are common, and if either partner makes the slightest misjudgement then entry permission is refused. In 1978, there was an exposé of the vaginal examinations carried out on Asian women to determine whether they were married or not, and to determine whether they were fiancées of men already settled in England. This was not a new phenomenon; complaints had previously been lodged against the Home Office but without any results. It was only when the liberal press had taken it up as a moral and sensational issue that there was some publicity. Examinations to ‘prove’ whether a woman is a virgin can only be seen as acts of violence and intimidation by the British state.
This ‘testing’ is based on the racist and sexist assumption that Asian women from the subcontinent are always virgins before they get married and that it is ‘not in their culture for women to engage in sexual activity before marriage’. This kind of absurd generalization is based on the same stereotype of the submissive, meek and tradition-bound Asian woman. Many Asian people are also given chest X-rays before they enter the country to ‘ensure that they are not carrying any serious and contagious disease’. These are also used to prove the identity of people wishing to settle in Britain. X-rays on pregnant Asian women have been carried out by untrained entry clearance officers in Dacca. X-rays are only ever carried out on pregnant women in ‘exceptional circumstances when either the child or the mother’s life is believed to be at risk’. The fact that the immigration officers administer them quite haphazardly on pregnant Asian women is only one example of the racism not only of individual officers but also the structural and institutional racism of the British state. Such practices also indicate the direct control the state is attempting to have on Asian women’s sexuality."
- Pratibha Parmar’s essay “Gender, race and class: Asian women in resistance” from The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain (via militant-tendency)
have you ever just looked at someone and thought, my fucking god i love you. i love every goddamn ounce. i love your bones and your soul. but I’m a loser, who just doesn’t wanna lose you. i can lose fucking everything, but not you. oh god. not you.