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So I’ll give some context for the aside image because, if you’re reading it for the first time, you might feel as simultaneously angry and confused about the laughably ridiculous situation as I initially was. A few weekends ago while doing my daily browsing through Tumblr, I stumbled across this particularly inflammatory, offensive, and all around racist, anti-Asian post written by a 20-year old white woman under the guise of a personal rant questioning why Asian men only date Asian women. Fortunately, I only came across this post because many of my fellow Asian/Asian American women bloggers on Tumblr circulated the posts, calling out the user for what she had said, to the point where she was rightfully reported and removed from Tumblr (to my knowledge). Upon browsing through more of this woman’s blog, it became obvious that she fetishizes Asian, particularly East and Southeast Asian men due to her own obsession with K-Pop. On top of that, she feels entitled to a relationship with them because she believes herself to be racially superior to Asian women, whatever that even means. Even more alarmingly, she not only fetishized underage K-Pop stars, but also made various references to raping them.
While this particular woman’s racism may be one of those cases where you sigh to yourself, whisper yikes, and resist further engagement, it’s still indicative of a larger, and sometimes seemingly innocuous phenomenon of fetishizing and dehumanizing Asian bodies – a subject that I find myself all too familiar with. First I want to address this phenomenon of fetishizing Asian men. While not as widely discussed as the fetishization of Asian women, it is happening, and it isn’t okay.
- It’s racist. Asian and Asian American men are not your IRL K-Pop idols and anime characters. Not to mention neither are their various ethnicities interchangeable nor should they be ascribed any kinds of qualities you perceive that Asian men essentially have based upon a very limited scope of representation. Another important thing to note is that fetishization can occur even within one’s own race or ethnicity because such “preferences” are ultimately based on stereotypical assumptions of the group, rather than the acknowledgment of one’s individuality beyond their racial and ethnic background.
- It’s not a compliment and not something that Asian men should or would be grateful for. Despite rampant historical and media-enforced desexualization and emasculation of Asian men and findings which indicate Asian men are less likely to marry interracially than Asian women, this issue is not one that can be fixed through fetishization – especially when the basis for this fetishization is rooted in a kind of benevolently racist appreciation for their existence.
- No one is entitled to be in a relationship with Asian men, period. It’s almost as if Asian men are their own people and can make their own decisions about dating for themselves. And it’s probably unsurprising that none of them are dating this racist.
Secondly, her racism toward Asian women:
While it’s entirely possible that this user could just be a troll at best, the points she makes struck a particular chord with me and likely hundreds to thousands of other enraged Asian women and girls on Tumblr. Not only was I angry at her disgusting fetishization of Asian men and her sense of entitlement to them, but her reasoning for why Asian women shouldn’t be considered desirable were the very reasons for why we are fetishized as well. What she implies is that we should also be grateful to anyone who does take a liking to these stereotypical and essentializing qualities about us, because ultimately white women are the pinnacle of male, and especially Asian male desire.
I went through the majority of high school believing that being Asian made me unattractive. While I never hated being Asian and I have since moved past subscribing to Eurocentric beauty standards and seeking affirmation from others, white women at the time were the standard of beauty in my eyes, and seeing this post brought me back to those days where I did not think of myself as beautiful or desirable simply because I could never have those “essentially white” qualities she described. Although it’s obvious that traits such as “pretty colored eyes”, a “banging body”, “spunky and outgoing” personality, and non-abusive households are not limited to white women – for the longest time I felt as if my stereotypically “Asian” features – petite figure, brown eyes, and painfully shy personality made me less than beautiful. Believe my surprise when senior year of high school came around, most of the guys I knew were suddenly interested in dating (East and Southeast) Asian girls, but for all the wrong reasons. Although I was initially flattered, it didn’t take too long for me to feel incredibly uncomfortable and recognize how messed up it was.
There’s plenty of brilliant pieces out there about the inherent racism and violence behind the fetishization Asian women. I’ve read them, I’ve shared them, and I’ve spoken out about it. And when I did this, I was bombarded with vitriol from a multiracial coalition of proud Asian fetishizers from my high school. My Asian American guy “friends” quietly unfriended me while their white friends bragged about the number of Asian girls they had slept with and told me to get out of the country if I didn’t like it. We’re not racist because we find you attractive (for now), even though we don’t respect you as individuals or actual human beings was the message that I got loud and clear. And the message from this 20-year old white woman on Tumblr parallels this sort of racist logic, as she espouses the same sense of entitlement toward Asian male bodies while simultaneously being incapable of viewing Asian people as anything beyond basic stereotypes.
The good, if any that came out of this incident was the kind of support Asian girls and women on Tumblr expressed for each other and for the Asian men and boys that were being fetishized. The racist user’s old URLs were taken over by users willing to give people a space to vent about the situation, the “dear Asian boys” tag was taken over by Tumblr users addressing her racism, and new blogs were created to affirm the self-worth and humanity of Asian girls and women which this user so vehemently denied. Even if she’s still out there, we are speaking out. We are not submissive, we are not “shit”, and we are definitely not letting her, or anyone else for the matter get away with racist fetishization.
Screenshots from: http://creapy.tumblr.com/post/125028037408 and http://a-v-o-c-a-d-o-s-at-law.tumblr.com/post/125154138431/edit-lmao-as-i-was-making-this-post-she-deleted and myself.
Asian women need to stop worshiping white men. I think it’s long overdue that Asian men start dating outside their race since so many Asian American females are worshiping white guys.
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Case in point: It’s clearly easier for some Asian men to turn to misogyny on the issue of racism in interracial dating than to actually question white supremacy’s effects. The problem isn’t with Asian women “worshipping” white men – like hardly any of us do and it’s pretty gross to assume that. Sure there might be some who choose to date white men based on their own internalized racism but please stop advancing the myth that all Asian women worship white men because it only serves to justify white men’s fetishization of us.
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Miss Liu, my apology if I came off as a bit rude in my previous comment. But clearly where there’s smoke there’s fire. That “myth” didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Quiet a few Asian American women do prefer white male and at the same time dissing and belittling their own [Asian] men. It is appalling and sad. Ultimately Asian women particularly those living in the anglosphere are enablers of this “fetishization” of Asian women. Too many choose to give themselves out and give white men a sense of entitlement and belittlement of Asian men (and Asian in general).
Asian women created this negative reputation for themselves.
Speaking from my experience as an Asian American man, in the dating world, white women and women of other races actually LIKE my approach and are even willing to date me, unlike the Asian women that I have encountered who even flat out said that they prefer white guys. Can’t you see that this is a serious problem? The white worshiping mentality of Asian women are damning the Asian community and image.
It’s sad how women of other races actually defend Asian men more so than Asian women. That is why I think Asian men need to start dating outside their race more, and stop being so “loyal” to Asian American females
This is a serious issues that I think Asian women need to speak out against more, They have some responsibility to.
Yikes. Just read this please http://reappropriate.co/2014/05/masculinity-vs-misogylinity-what-asian-americans-can-learn-from-ucsb-shooting-yesallwomen/ ALL OF THIS
Sorry you’ve had to deal with Asian women who hold some seriously terrible internalized racist beliefs but this isn’t our responsibility to “defend you” when you’re the one here advancing a lot of gross stereotypes about us as well.
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Not asking anyone to defend me at all, and that shooting was a huge tragedy yes. I’m just telling you why that “myth” exist in the first place and how Asian women played a huge role in creating that terrible reputation for themselves. You sound like a smart lady and that’s why I brought that issue up. Hope I didn’t bother ya.
I also want to apologize if any of my comments here offended anyone or make them uncomfortable.
You still don’t seem to get it. First of all, that link wasn’t just about the UCSB shooting, it was also about exactly the kind of comments that you’re making too.
Also, that’s not the reason why the myth exists in the first place – it’s something that dates back to the CENTURIES history of western imperialism, orientalism, wars which devastated Asian countries which forced Asian women into prostitution with white men, and popular media such as Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon, and whatever else we see on TV. It’s NOT something that Asian women solely did to themselves. Whatever you see, whatever you’ve experienced it just the tip of something far more complicated than what you think it is. And you need to be able to question white western imperialism and white supremacy’s role in it instead of simply being angry at Asian women as a whole because you believe we’re a bunch of Asian men hating white worshippers.
And if you seriously don’t believe there’s a history behind it, here’s another link. If you don’t want to read the top, the history of it is toward the middle. http://bitchmagazine.org/article/the-madame-butterfly-effect-asian-fetish-history-pop-culture
I’m out for now. Don’t apologize if your comments “offended anyone”, apologize because they were offensive. Wording is important.
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Thank you for the link. I am going to read it. I hope you are still around because I am very much interested in discussing this issue. I might even learn something along the way.
This is just something that I find a bit ‘strange” or even troubling, because, like mentioned before, I was born and raised here in the US,, and so far I haven’t date a single Asian woman (every women I have been with so far were white), because so many asian women – not ALL, just the one I have encountered – prefer white men over their own. It’s just weird that women of other races actually like me, but not my own.
I really want to apologize again. I could’ve expressed how I feel much better.
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I think this article here shows some of what you’re talking about, showing the problem of some Asian women who choose to exclusively date white men or non-Asian men: http://www.asamnews.com/2015/08/11/breaking-interracial-dating-boundaries-embracing-amwf-couples-and-curing-yellow-fever/
I think with this, as the article indicates, it indicates a larger problem of some people upholding whiteness as the pinnacle of desire in dating – which my piece also speaks to. I also caution using this phenomenon as a way to overgeneralize all Asian women who are in relationships with white men, and Asian women in general because frankly I’m sick of primarily Asian men complaining that Asian women give themselves up “easily” to white men but asking us to stand up for them while they do nothing for us except say shit. This absolutely baffles me, and this is coming from someone who’s been dating a cis Asian American guy for over 3 years. Seriously, the longer Asian men hold onto these kinds of attitudes, believe me – it’s going to come across when you try to date and it’s going to be even more unsurprising if an Asian woman is going to run out the door from you – not because of internalized racism, but because they just think your personality sucks. I know I would.
That line of thinking is incredibly misogynistic and makes it seem as if every case is exactly the same – which it’s not. I know plenty of Asian women who are incredibly cautious when it comes to interracial dating because they’re worried about being fetishized, while I’m also aware of a few others who unfortunately write off dating Asian men altogether because they’ve internalized many aspects of white supremacy. And there’s plenty more cases where they don’t encounter issues with fetishization at all when choosing to date someone. That doesn’t give one the right to complain about Asian women as a whole though because we’re not all the same.
I’m all for interracial dating too, just as long as people aren’t doing it based off of racial fetishes, but I’m also in the camp of moving beyond this one key issue (heteronormative interracial dating) as a sort of end goal of combatting racism. I don’t want to engage with anymore comments (not just from you, but MANY others so don’t think I’m trying to single you out here!) unrelated to my article which further perpetuate stereotypes of Asian women’s sexuality and dating, because this piece was made in large part as a response to racism against Asian women that’s mainly based in stereotypes about our sexuality.
Does this mean blonde white women who only date/sleep with black men are not ’empowered and exercising their right to choice and personal freedom’, but are really fetishizing blacks, or is this fetishization thing just another “bad thing only men do”?
That sounds like fetishization to me. There was nothing in my piece that indicated that fetishization was only a “bad thing only men do”, so I’m not sure where you’re going at with your tone.
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