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Stereotyping Asian Men Leads to Negative Impact on Dating Asians

Stereotyping Asian Men

Rollback the clocks all the way to January 2017, and you’ll find Steve Harvey joking about a book titled ‘’How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men’’. Summed up, he went on to claim that no one could possibly like Asian men. He said, ‘’You like Asian men?… I don’t even like Chinese food’’. Let’s keep this in mind, but scrape past it.

Jump forward by one year, and you would’ve seen the landmark 2018 film, Crazy Rich Asians. This film is not only notable for its all- Asian leading cast, but also for its portrayal of Asian Americans as attractive men that lead the whole movie. Not seeing Asians participating in kung-fu or the typical action films was a big shocker to most. In fact, as they were actually portrayed as real humans with real problems, most actually found themselves attracted to the leading cast members, and some even started dating Asian men based on how the movie changed their mindset.

Around the same time, an article was released in the Washington Post by Allyson Chiu. He talked about his experiences on Grindr (a gay/bisexual dating app) and states that ‘’ it’s heartbreaking, it’s been really humiliating and degrading’’.

So, why are we telling you all of this? Well, that’s because for centuries now, dating Asian men has been seen as ‘unappealing’ by most, and it’s time to put an end to that stigma now. We don’t know which is to blame, is it Hollywood? Is it Western Media perpetuating social preferences?

Or is it the other way around? In any case, for Asian guys to continuously struggle with the negative stereotypes that surround them just isn’t fair, and now that we’re almost in the year 2021, it seriously needs to stop.

Dating Asian Men

Let’s face it, when it comes to dating Asian attractive men, most don’t consider it as an option. In fact, you can see just how much stereotyping Asian men happens when it comes to Hollywood films. When they do appear, they’re usually portrayed as geeky and undesirable, mostly unable to attract women.

When it comes to Asian women, they do sometimes serve as romantic leads. However, they are rarely paired with attractive men who are Asian. Although representations of interracial romance on TV are still far less common than two people of the same race getting together, you’ll still rarely find attractive men who lead the show. In fact, it’s almost always a white man paired with an Asian female. Asian men are rarely romantic leads, whether with Asian women or women of any other race.

Whilst most Americans begin to date in adolescence, research suggests that 60% of Asian males have never dated. When you compare this to roughly 40% of White, Black, and Hispanic males, it’s actually a big deal. Asian girls are typically more likely to date than boys are, but the sex gap in romantic involvement is especially pronounced amongst Asians.

So, What’s the Solution?

Well, the first and most simple would be to stop stereotyping Asian men altogether. However, life’s just not that simple. In fact, a comedian actually joked about this before. Issa Rae notes that Asian men and Black women like her live at ‘’the bottom of the dating totem pole’’. She even suggested that black women should start dating these men as they are more equals. But let’s be honest, it’s not fair to see the world work this way.

The true solution would be for media representation to provide more opportunities for attractive men who are Asian American (and place them in romantic leads). This actually might help mitigate all of the issues with stereotyping Asian men.

If you think about the film Crazy Rich Asians, there’s a big reason as to why it’s been met with such enthusiasm from many people all over the world, despite its problematic and puzzling exclusion of South and Southeast Asians in Singapore.

The experiences and feelings that inevitably arise from straddling two worlds are common to many immigrant families in the US — Asian or otherwise. But what was onscreen here was so unique and specific to so many other’s experiences. From the casual racism that Asians experience to the sinking feeling that they aren’t good enough for other races, there’s truth on that screen that we don’t often get to see. It’s refreshing, it’s invigorating — and it’s powerful.

This is something that we all need to experience. If there were only more of these types of films, we would all be able to kick the stigma once and for all.

Lia Huynh San Jose and Milpitas

About

My life’s work is helping individuals and couples get better. I help couples restore their sense of togetherness by rediscovering their strengths as individuals, and their collective strength as a duo. And I help my individual clients to negotiate the sources of depression and anxiety, while moving them gently toward feeling a deeper sense of connection with their world. This is all done through our counseling and therapy together. 

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