"What Kind of Asian are You?"
Pictured above: Pinay Magazine logo
...I get this question all the time. "What kind of Asian are you?" they ask me. And when I proudly say I am Filipino, they are confused and say, "what is that?!"
Last year, I began my research project on the role of Filipino Americans in society and why refined cultural training is necessary. As one of the largest immigrant groups in the nation, Filipino Americans suffer from a lack of representation, often taking on media roles as other Asian counterparts. And, as important as it is for Asian Americans to have representation, it is also necessary to make a distinction between the Asian American subgroups.
Pinay Magazine, a written and visual platform made up exclusively of Filipinas, says about themselves,
“the mission statement is to showcase the beauty [and] talent...of Pinays around the globe and to connect the Philippines with people of Filipino descent and vice versa”.
It separates itself from the conventional Asian American publication. I asked the magazine a bit about themselves:
“We are a London UK based company with production offices in Dubai, Hollywood, CA and printing facilities in Cagayan De Oro Philippines. The company is publicly traded under its own symbol PNAY as a crypto currency that trades on the Ethereum Blockchain, it trades at $1.13 from a penny back in October.”
Pinay Magazine has sold pre-sold over 405,090 copies and is shipping over 600,000 copies to cities such as LA, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Paris, and so many more. Additionally, they have a huge billboard campaign hitting 4 different cities.
To see success in a magazine geared specifically towards those that look like me was so rare in my previous experience. This is so incredibly important for not only myself but for people of all backgrounds. By seeing ourselves in others within media, we begin to see how big we can dream. When we fail to see a model that represents us, we believe that the industry is not for us and allow our dreams to shrink because of invisibility.
I feel an incredible responsibility along with Pinay Magazine to make an often invisible people visible. I feel compelled to allow others to understand that the Filipina woman is beautiful and deserves to be seen for all that encompasses her own identity. Filipinas live with a rich history distinct from the cultures that surround it. We experience reality in a way that is our own and navigate our family unit in a way that is so beautifully close.
By creating magazines such as Pinay Magazine, we are given a voice and a seat at the table. We are given an avenue to talk about our people without having to identify as anything other than ourselves.
Asian Americans as a whole have a shared sense of unity, relying on a collectivist community for support when in a place that they may feel they do not belong. However, in order to acknowledge the full beauty of the Asian American community as a whole, we must be able to appreciate the counterparts that make it a cohesive community.
As a Filipina American, I have searched for something like Pinay Magazine my entire like. Today, I am hopeful.
Look out for Pinay Magazine at a Barnes and Nobles near you within the near future.
About the Author
Justine Bautista is a student at Chapman University. She is a double major in Psychology and Integrated Educational Studies and plans to pursue a career in Developmental Research. Justine is a writer for Free to Dream Magazine and also serves as manager/editor for their blog. Outside of Free to Dream, she works as an SBA for Kaplan Test Prep and helps students in planning their pursuit of a graduate degree. She also works with social media brands and small businesses (ex. Pacific Swimwear and Impact Juice Bar). Justine is an avid neuroscience and coffee enthusiast. She loves books, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and dancing around while singing her favorite song, “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron and Wine :)