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Degrading Stereotypes Ruin Dating Experience PDF Print E-mail
By John Shim
The Daily Bruin (UCLA)
October 22, 2002

 

America is rapidly abolishing many ethnic and racial limitations that once pervaded our society. For example, golf, once a sport enjoyed only by white men, is now dominated by Tiger Woods. On the other end of the spectrum, the once predominantly black arena of hip-hop is at present extolling the works of Eminem, a white kid out of Detroit.

Yet, in all of this ethnic groundbreaking and interracial group hugging, I've discovered a rather alarming exclusion. In the field of interracial dating, Asian males consistently get the short end of the stick or receive the largest proportion of the rhetorical shaft.

I feel cheated out of a myriad of romantic experiences that could have been brought to fruition were I not an Asian male.

Mine is not the ranting of a self-absorbed and embittered loner (although I have had a great deal of familiarity with these things). Nor am I a cultural sell-out by any means. I appreciate my ethnic heritage and the culture I was raised in. However, I cannot help but lament the poor condition the Asian American male faces in the game of love.

I liken the situation of Asian males in the interracial dating scene to the bracket system of the GRE. If you answer the first easy question of a section correctly, you get bumped up to a higher group with questions that are more difficult but worth more points. Conversely, answering the first question wrong will shift you to a lower bracket where the questions are easier, but alas are worth less points.

Being an Asian male is like answering the first five questions on the GRE incorrectly; you're not totally screwed, but you have a lot of ground to make up.

Unlike some of my black friends, who explained they have to downplay the stereotype of the hypersexual black male, Asian guys have an exact opposite, but no less burdensome cross to bear: the label of "un-manly" most frequently prescribed through the slur of penile abbreviation.

The reason behind this is that historically Asians have been invisible in American media, with a few stereotypical exceptions. As a whole, Asian males have either been portrayed as overbearing, or more frequently the opposite: effeminate and obsequious to white (and therefore better) men. Asian females, on the other hand, have been depicted as servile and ready to please. Sometimes they are given an image of exotic and dangerous sensuality, a sort of "Dragon Lady" aura.

I cannot begin to explain how dehumanizing these stereotypes are, but nevertheless they exist in abundance. And males of other ethnicities gulp those myths up, just as the females swallow without question the falsehood of Asian males being subservient and inferior to Occidental men.

And do you know what infuriates me the most? It's bad enough that my attempts to extend my romances outside of my race are thoroughly ridiculed. But to top that, many (no doubt), will attribute these failures to my lack of aesthetics, finances and penile length.

What I find is women from other ethnicities are not into my style, but to my great dismay, women who come from the same continent as me are being snatched up left and right by men who aren't Asian. How unfair is that? A minimum of fair play would dictate that if I'm hampered by the media and society in pursuing an interracial relationship, I should at least be able to pursue Asian women.

I am not advocating a whole-scale commodification of Asian females, as if they are "mine" to divvy up and allocate along racial borders. I simply offer this argument to highlight the sheer absurdity of the situation.

I subscribe to you, reader, the notion of dating without the influence of the media or society. Most Asian women are not the servile, sexual objects the media makes them out to be, just as an astounding majority of Asian males are also not accurately portrayed. Yet, many people -- Asian and otherwise -- stubbornly adhere to these views.

You should date regardless of color, but do so because you're truly attracted to a person's individual characteristics. Don't actively seek a person's company because you feel that "her kind" is bred to serve you, just as you should not disregard someone because the media says that his penis is small (figure that one out on your own).

And from whatever branch of the world you come, if you come across a girl who likes long walks on the beach, sassy repartee and indulging in an occasional game of Tekken Tag Tournament, please introduce me.

Revelations: Why Asian Women Don't Date Asian Men

By Ben Chan
Jade Magazine
December 2000

Having lived on both coasts in major cities, I have personally experienced some of the rejection of Asian-American men by Asian-American women. So I can understand the frustrations some "angry Asian men" have about Asian women, especially those perceived as Americanized. Those males are "angry" at the increasing trend of Asian women dating/marrying non-Asians. It is their sense that "WBW" (wanna be white) or being a "banana" is a major factor why Asian-American females do not want to date or marry Asian guys.

As much as "angry Asian men" criticize Asian women, I think it's also important to recognize that criticism of Asian men is also warranted. In past articles I have explored about how important it is for Asian men to stop hiding behind excuses and take charge of their lives (Angry Asian Men - One Man's Observations, Nov-Dec 1999). I've also examined the top five qualities that Asian females desire in their ideal Asian man (The Ideal Asian Man, Mar-Apr, 2000) and are certainly missing in some of the finger-pointers. Some Asian men need to conduct a needed self-analysis about appearance, values and qualities before pointing fingers. Asian men should not expect Asian women to be petite, little China dolls who just sit around looking adoringly at their men.

Overall, I think that the most important thing for an Asian man and woman is to date and marry someone who appreciates you for being yourself and understands how your Asian ethnicity fits into your overall identity. That person can be any color. However, and it cannot be denied, when talking about marriage, it is important to note, especially when starting a family, that cultural differences can cause a lot of problems.

The Real Reason Why Asian Women Don't Date Asian Men

There's nothing wrong with dating non-Asians, but I have to agree that some Asian-American men are getting shafted. The awful truth is that there are still many Asian-American women out there who prefer to date white men because they have been indoctrinated by anti-Asian male stereotypes. The "Good Guys," as I like to refer to them, are not given a fair chance because some Asian-American women have been conditioned into a state of self-hatred. As a community, we are still trying to cope with the stereotypes placed upon us because, embedded into the thinking of some Asian-American women, the white standard of attractiveness is THE standard of choice. I can understand that choice because I believed it myself long ago.

As writer Wena Poon has pointed out, it is deplorable that some Asian women are ashamed to look Asian. Plastic surgery to simulate the tall Western nose, or the eyelid incision that creates the precanthal fold to correct slanted eyes are all signs of Asians rejecting the Asian look.

Television and filmed entertainment has promulgated Asian male stereotypes leaving Asian men with only one honorable profession left in life. We are no longer the Chinese cook on Bonanza, but now the martial-art detective on the small and big screens. We can't be the good-looking lawyer on Ally McBeal or The Practice, and God forbid that the quota of Asian doctors on ER is maxxed out at one. And no one would ever believe that Julia Roberts could fall in love with....oh my...an Asian man in the movies (but I would volunteer!!).

I know that not all Asian-American women believe that. Some of my friends say that they are a product of growing up in white communities and suffered a lack of exposure to Asian men. In fact, researcher Hiromi Ono believes that the prevalence of Asian-white unions is due to proximity and socioeconomic status. Asians live near whites more than blacks and Latinos. Asians go to school with them, work with them and they live around them. But I believe it goes deeper than that. Asian-American women have their own internal struggles with the lack of empowerment of Asian women.

The Trend and Other Statistics

At any rate, one fact remains clear. Interracial relationships between white males and Asian females have increased over the years, and the trend looks to continue. From the last available U.S. Census data (1990), there were over 465,000 Asian Pacific Islander/white interracial married couples. Since 1960, the percentage of white husband/API wife couples has increased from 61.6% to 71.3% of API/white couples, while the percentage of API husband/white wife couples has decreased from 38.4% to 28.7%. There are 2 1/2 times more white husband/API wife married couples than API husband/white wife married couples.

In a recent study, the University of MichiganÍs Institute for Social Research (ISR) concluded that, for both historical and socioeconomic reasons, marriages between Asian women and white men appear with extraordinary frequency. This was the conclusion found in a research paper entitled "Estimating the Extent of Intimate Contact Between the Races." ISR's David Harris and Hiromi Ono presented the paper at the 2000 annual meeting of the Population Association of America in March.

Their research, primarily relying upon 1990 U.S. Census data, showed that 25 percent of married Asian women have white husbands. As common as white men are in marriages with Asian women, the cohabitation estimates show that they are an even greater share of Asian women's cohabiting partners. Asian women are more likely to cohabit with white men than men from any other racial group. Nearly 45 percent of cohabiting Asian women have white partners, while less than 43 percent have Asian partners.

Asian men were more likely than Asian women to have Asian spouses. 79 percent of Asian men were married to Asian women while 16 percent of Asian men had white spouses. Of cohabiting Asian men, slightly over 37 percent of Asian men have white female partners.

Ono believes that stereotypes are part of the reason that so many Asian women commit outside of their ethnic group. "There have been people who say that there is much more of an attraction for men, white men, towards Asian women, because of this sexual image that's been imposed upon them," she said. (READ HERE - ASIAPHILE ALERT)

Harris believes that stereotypes are responsible for the significantly lower percentage of Asian men dating whites.

So What's My Point?

As I said before, there's nothing wrong with dating non-Asians, but I can speak from experience that some Asian-American men are getting shafted.

To have preconceived notions of what it would be like to date an Asian-American man is as bad as those "angry" Asian men who believe Asian females have an agenda, are control freaks, snobby, elitist sluts, etc. Don't base your perception of all Asian men and women on the handful that you've just met.

In the end, the most important thing for an Asian man and woman is to date and/or marry someone who appreciates you for being yourself and understands how your Asian ethnicity fits into your overall identity.

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