By Deputy Editor Thea Lim
Reader Linda sent us this link to the website Classy Asian Ladies, “where quality single men can connect with upscale Asian women living in the US.” And that’s just the tagline.
The website’s “Why Date or Marry Asian Women?” page says:
While Asian women are well known throughout the world for their exotic beauty and sensitive nature they are also very smart and well educated, and in many cases high earners in the job market.
We can even speak English now!!!
In case you were worried to site was only racist, it’s also scoring high points on the sexism and misogyny meter:
It seems that in today’s society the average woman is becoming very competitive and even a bit more masculine than their counterparts in earlier generations. All the while it seems to be just the opposite is taking place for Asian women who tend to retain their sense of femininity and well-known cultural attitude of gentle and caring support.
That’s right, non-Asian women are just so mean, and they have such broad shoulders and huge fingers. Only Asian women have retained that sense of what it means to be a woman. It must be because we are just so innately connected to the ancient wisdom of our people, right?
With subject headings like “exotic beauty and sensitive nature” and “Asian women’s unique surprises” (oh I’m full of unique surprises), this would be some of the most hilarious satire I’ve ever seen. Except for the fact that Classy Asian Ladies is 100% for serious.
For me, one of the worst things about Asiaphilia, is that it turns me speechless. It upsets me on such a deep and visceral level, that despite my chattypants nature, when an exasperated non-Asian (usually a white guy) asks me what’s so bad about liking Asian girls, I have no words to explain it.
I’m glad that I can turn to the internet to speak for me. In 2006 Vickie Chang an article for the OC Weekly that is still one of the best breakdowns of the heinous phenomenon known as “Yellow Fever.”
Asian fetishism has a long history of being brushed off as a compliment, rather than offensive or bigoted. I’ve been told I ought to be flattered that so many non-Asian men “prefer” Asians and Asian American women. But the coalescing of an ethnicity into a whole, whether exotic, erotic, oversexed or virginal, is a real issue, collectively and individually. (I guess when it comes to stereotypes, Asian women have it better than Asian men do. There are two main themes when it comes to Asian male stereotypes: virginal and emasculated. Not to mention that super-fun myth that goes something like this: small stature equals small penis equals small chance of pleasure.)
Asiaphilia brings with it a set of more intimate considerations. I get to wonder if the man chatting me up is genuinely interested in me or interested in the idea of what he supposes me to be: demure and submissive, the forever-faithful geisha girl/bedroom toy…
Chang quotes a friend who has been traumatised by Asiaphiles:
“It always crosses my mind,” she says, “that I’m replaceable.”
Yellow Fever is about rejecting non-Asian women’s sexualities, as much as it is about seeking embodiments of (ignorant) notions of Asian women’s sexualities. When it comes to desiring an Asian women to submit to you, the other side of the coin is that you are rejecting – for example – black women because of stereotypes that black women are shrill, demanding and pushy.
I have to disagree with Chang that Asian men get the worse deal, not because I think Asian women get the worse deal (or that black women who are assumed to be hypersexual or aggressive get the worse deal) but because having any kind of stereotype foisted on you, is a terrible deal. It doesn’t matter what the stereotype is.
What a stereotype is at base, is something that is deeply dehumanising. One minute you are walking down the street, with full of awareness of how you are a human being with thoughts and feelings and dreams and a family and a life. The next minute, all someone has to say is something like “Asian women are well known throughout the world for their exotic beauty and sensitive nature” or “Black women are kinky freaks” and suddenly, you stop existing as a human. You only exist as part of someone else’s two-dimensional vision of you; a vision that really has nothing to do with who you are, or how you are human.
Chang really hits the nail on the head when she writes:
When someone homogenizes an entire race of people—even if that homogenization tends toward desirable—that someone is creating a wall between himself and the person in question. No one likes to be treated as an outsider, especially in the only country she’s ever known as home.
Actually, don’t worry Classy Asian Ladies has a response for that:
While it is true that the Asian women on ClassyAsianLadies.com have learned Western values and become more outgoing, energetic, independent and fun they still retain the best qualities of both worlds. Along with that special female Asian sophistication that makes these ladies so appealing to every man looking for that perfect Asian girlfriend or wife.
Still not convinced that Classy Asian Ladies is a sick force that needs to be stopped – no matter how many real life Asian women may buy into it?* One last quote from Chang:
It’s arguable that Asiaphilia, ironically, stems from legal attempts to exclude Asian Americans from the United States. The criteria by which many Asian women were permitted to enter the U.S. were not exactly morally sound: prostitutes, picture brides, war brides, mail-order brides. Sexuality was a prerequisite for refuge in the United States.
At times like this, I like to visit Big Bad Chinese Mama, or listen to Jen Kwok’s Date An Asian. But watch out, these are not for the faint of heart. These classy Asian ladies are writing some serious satire, and they have a lot of rage.
But can you really blame them?
*I’m not saying that individual Asian women should never date white men. It’s rather that the marketing campaign that needs to be stopped.