I want to say something about the trope of the Asian woman. By “Asian” here I mean East Asian, i.e. ethnically Chinese, Japanese, Korean. The Asian fetish has always been a thing (more accurately, the Asian Woman fetish). I can’t blame anyone for being attracted to what they are attracted to. I’m not going to shame you for your foot fetish, so I shouldn’t do it for your race-fetish. Should I?
To fetishise someone’s race, the foundation of their identity, is pretty demeaning and repugnant. It means that you’ve put them in a category and you imbue them with attributes of that category, rather than seeing them as an individual. I get that you have a preference, but just don’t tell me about it. I want to be treated like a person, not a manifestation of your sexual desire.
Christian Rudder, founder of OK Cupid, has gathered a huge amount of statistical data from three dating sites about racial preferences and has written about this in his book, Dataclysm. He has already written about this on the OK Cupid blog and the data has been studied and discussed extensively. I already knew that black people suffer a penalty, along with Asian men. Asian women are the top racial group preferred by men of all races, closely followed by Latina women. I don’t think this is the place for a wide-ranging discussion on beauty as a social construct and the problem of unconscious bias. I can only speak about my personal lived experience, and my sense of unease at why men of all races (statistically speaking) think they are attracted to Asian women .
The trope of the Asian woman is that she is a giver and a pleaser. She’s submissive and compliant, always putting others’ needs first. She looks after herself too, and makes an effort to look extremely feminine and attractive, in that inscrutable, exotic way. Above all, she is always ready for sex. She may playfully resist you with her coyness but she’s sexually available and has a wide bedroom skill-set. She’s a sexual plaything for men – her pliancy and femininity accentuate her sexual objectification. Writing these words makes me want to vomit. I hate these assumptions so much, partly because SOME of them are true for some women. Like all stereotypes, there is a grain of truth in them. It is drummed into Asian culture generally that conforming to society’s rules is good. Pleasing others is good. If you have Asian female students in class, everyone assumes they will be the “good girls” who work hard and never get into trouble. If you have Asian co-workers, everyone assumes they are high performers who are easy to manage. Until about 2000, you hardly saw any Asian women in Western media unless she was a kung fu ninja or exotic dancer/sex worker.
For anyone who has actually lived in Asia, they would know that all this is such bullshit. Not all the women there are pretty and feminine. There are plenty of examples of high-achieving ball-busters and in fact there is a high rate of female representation in business, with many big companies being run by women. In fact, there is actually a trope of the Angry Chinese Boss Lady – an aggressive, hectoring sort of corporate executive, which is almost as offensive in a different way.
I guess all this makes me feel is I have to keep working at inverting the paradigm of the Asian woman by being an example of someone who does not conform to stereotype: who is not compliant, not coy, not weak, and totally in control of her destiny. In fact, someone who rejects the whole notion of race. The next generation will be even more racially mixed than this one. How will society be able to categorise them and imbue them with racial attributes? I don’t know why people even ask you to select race as a criteria in any type of form. Is it too unrealistic to think we can move to a post-racial society? Can we start seeing people just as human beings from planet Earth?