"Date an Asian," by Jen Kwok (Caution: NSFW Language Ahead)
In "Asian American Interracial Relationships Today," Sociologist C.N. Le writes,
The other issue that comes into play here is how Asian women are frequently fetishized. Historically, it was very common for Asian women to be portrayed as docile, subservient, exotic, mysterious, and/or seductive. These images can be traced back to Chinese prostitutes who were "imported" into the U.S. back in the 1800s and through the prevalence of "war brides" (Asian women marrying U.S. military servicemen) after World War 2, and these images are constantly reinforced and perpetuated in the media.
Many Asian Americans argue that this cultural stereotype or fetish of Asian women is a large reason why many males (particularly White males) are attracted to Asian women. In this sense, Asian women are not seen as equal partners but rather, as sexual objects to be controlled and used by the male.
These critics point out that in most areas of popular American culture, rarely do you see the opposite happening -- Asian males being the subjects of infatuation or sexual desire by White women. In fact, these critics point out that Asian males have been and continue to be purposely portrayed as non-sexual martial arts experts, nerds and geeks, or evil villains and that this portrayal serves to eliminate Asian males as potential rivals to White males for the affection of Asian women. These critics also note that it is the saddest irony when Asian women either allow themselves to be objectified and fetishized or when they buy into and accept these demeaning portrayals of Asian men and eliminate them as potential partners.
As one particularly stark example of the "cultural penalty" that many Asian American men face when it comes to dating and overcoming the cultural stereotypes against them, a team of economists at MIT recently analyzed the dating preferences of users of online dating sites (PDF of the study, 1.5mb). In Table 5.6 (page 49) of the study, they found that when it came to the dating preferences of White women, their first preference was to date a White man, which is not suprising nor uncommon. But their data showed that the White women in the study would also consider dating men or color, but only if he made more money than a comparable White man, as follows:
- Latino American men: + $77,000
- African American men: + $154,000
- Asian American men: + $246,000
H/T for the video: 8 Asians; for more humorous commentary, see "Yellow Fever," by Wong Fu Productions