At its time of release, Wong Fu’s Yellow Fever was thought of as a funny clip, but I think it finally put in form what a lot of Asian guys are feeling: “White guys are taking all our girls!”
It’s a cultural phenomenon: Asian women date white men at a much higher rate than Asian men date white women. Asian women also marry non-Asians at least twice as much compared to interracial marriages involving Asian men.
This phenomenon isn’t too mysterious if we (especially Asian guys) look at it from an Asian woman’s perspective – I’ve broken it into a few major factors.
* The following goes not in an order of importance, but rather build on each other in sequential order from an Asian woman’s initial attraction, to dating, and finally marrying a white male.
Looks, plain and simple, is what we can readily judge by. It’s hardwired in the female brain to prefer taller and bigger men. From an evolutionary perspective, females gravitate towards males who could protect and take care of them. This is also a reason why white women tend to exclude Asian men from their dating preferences. Appearance is the first and most accessible level of attraction – but as we all know it’s not just merely height that attracts women.
Height alone does not increase confidence, but it sure helps. Those with taller and stronger bodies enjoy, from a young age, the benefits of positive reinforcement. To oversimplify: early on, they are encouraged to do sports (this is also a cultural difference between white and Asian men we’ll explore later). Those who do well in sports gain confidence from physical competition and relative dominance over other men. A spillover effect occurs and this confidence can translate to social skills and beyond.
Of course confidence can be developed in numerous ways. Perhaps the types of activities that Asians are encouraged to partake in from a young age are more skill-based with less social collaboration. For example, playing instruments is emphasized. There’s a lot of focus on individual performance and less on teamwork.
Many Asians of this generation also don’t grow up in a household where their parents played sports. Other skills such as public speaking, debate, theatre and art are often overlooked in Asian households, and there’s a much greater focus on GPA and scoring high on standardized tests. The conclusion I’m driving at is that these latter skills don’t necessarily promote social skills and confidence, which are vitally important in the dating market.
The only entrance requirement for men in the dating market is to approach women. But a lack of confidence makes a lot of Asian guys have approach anxiety – they simply don’t talk to the girl they’re interested in. Asian men have been slandered to be sexless, asexual creatures in the American perception, and I can’t completely disagree. But I guarantee you that white men approach girls (or any race) at a much higher rate than Asian men.
Then again, I know several confident, handsome Asian guys who run into big obstacles when dating outside their race. A frustratingly common comment from white girls they approach: “I don’t date Asian guys.” At some point, confidence and social skills alone aren’t the only factors in the dating market. Media and culture play huge roles too.
The American media is naturally well suited to white men. Girls grow up adoring rock bands, movie stars and athletes, many of whom are white. If you ask an Asian girl who’s the sexiest guy ever, it’s going to be a Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling or Taylor Lautner. These models of white manliness, are continuously reinforced throughout all our media outlets.
Conversely, the media has not been favorable to Asian men. The Asian-man-as-a-nerd doesn’t serve Asian men well in the dating market. And, the most toxically pervasive stereotype of them all?
“Asian men have small penises.” (LOL!)
I’m not sure how this came to be and why the stereotype has been so resilient. One friend attributes the blame to the Japanese adult film industry (chortle). Regardless of the causes, it’s another onslaught on the sexuality of Asian men.
The fervor over Jeremy Lin last season attests to the dearth of Asian-American role models. We barely have any. Try and you can maybe count them with your fingers. Bruce Lee. Jet Li. Lucy Liu. Chow-Yun Fat. And now Jeremy Lin. It’s slowly getting better, though.
I feel that Youtube and the ease of distribution for digital content has had an interesting – maybe positive – effect in elevating Asians in American media. Wong Fu, Ryan Higa, Jason Chen and KevJumba to name a few. I’m shamelessly proud of Mike Chang of SixPackShortcuts. Yes, Asians can be buff, ripped and manly! Hahaha.
But I digress. The point is that American media elevates white men and doesn’t favor Asian men, and that affects an Asian woman’s psychology when it comes to dating preferences.
Asian women often face a number of pressures growing up. Not only are they expected to be the best in academics and in their careers, but are also confined in how to behave. Who to date, how to act like a lady, and when they can go out with friends. I argue that Asian men experience this to a lesser extent in their households. Asian parents are more lax with sons, who are usually given preference and may have things catered to him growing up. He feels less trapped by tradition than the Asian female.
Indeed, some Asian females hold more resentment towards their own culture growing up, and thus avoid dating Asian men. Jenny An’s infamous blog article “I’m An Asian Woman and I Refuse to Ever Date An Asian Man” says it best:
“This trend has nothing to do with skin color. It has everything to do with patriarchy and cultural sexism and a lifestyle I grew up with and want nothing to do with anymore.”
Asian guys, it’s not your fault. A good number of Asian girls simply empathize with Jenny An’s upbringing.
This leads to a hypothesis I want to further explore sometime: Perhaps the better relationships that Asian-American women have with her parents, the more likely she is to date within her own race?
Anyway, those are my top reasons for why Asian women date white men. Agree/disagree?