Julie Curates China appears every Wednesday in Hoje Macau
Venus was an Asian woman?
Race and attraction.
Recently I read a series of articles on the fascinating subject, all of which seem to come to the same conclusion: Asian men are at the bottom of the sexual food chain, whereas both white men and Asian women are found “the most beautiful” people based on various surveys through major dating sites as well as the statistic of PEW. These two last groups are at the top of the sexual food chain.
Am I poking a wasp nest now?
One thing must be said in the first place, however. The mentioned websites are American centric, so one can’t help thinking that the data may be biased. Say if the website were in Chinese and operating from a different geographic location, I expect the conclusion should be different. Besides, who are “Asian women”? Indian women? Philippine women? But no, they mean East Asian women – Chinese, Japanese and Korean women. I can say this subject is real enough for me, a reality that feels too close to ignore and too maddening to reason. While I’m busy being myself, I, as always, picked up a few titles to make the subject less vain for me as well as for my non-Asian readers.
In Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient, the author Sheridan Prasso extends Edward Said literary theory of Orientalism with the touch of real live stories.
[Said: “The Orient was Orientalized not only because it was discovered to be “Oriental” in all those ways considered commonplace by an average nineteenth-century European, but also because it could be—that is, submitted to being—made Oriental.” Orientalism (1978)]
Prasso scrutinizes the past of the Western bias toward Eastern fantasy and exoticism. Indeed, few Westerners escape the images of Asian women as exotic, sensual, decadent, dangerous, and mysterious. These stereotypes of Western legacy remain pervasive icons: the tea-pouring, submissive, sexually available Cho Cho san next to the kung fu fighting dominatrix. Eh, I think this is the reason why the white people should be mistrusted more often?
I went online and checked a few American-Chinese celebrities. Amy Tan, Connie Chung, Lucy Liu, their husbands or boyfriends seem to be all white. Some people used “hierogamy” to explain the phenomenon: i.e. the Asian woman raises herself to the “perfect” social ladder by marrying a mainstream chap. And as for the mainstream chap, it is his instinct to look for adventure and thrills and his need to colour outside the lines, which is appreciated in Western rearing.
Now I’m probably poking a second wasp nest: class and race. At which point it seems inevitable to examine the ancient cancer called discrimination. At the very end of the last chapter, Prasso’s book deals with how Asian perception to Asian women help to perpetuate these biases. The author suggests that the negative worldview against Asian exoticism is not only western constructed. In fact, it has become the reality of many including amongst Asians. Internal discrimination is how the existing social structure and its dynamics function in predetermined – fictive – racial roles. It’s the toughest of its kind but it seems to me more real than ever.
Next time I want to talk about why are Asian girls cute? Did Japanese porn encourage this particular white fantasy to ride the purring yellow kawasakis? And I need a few good questions and answers to “yellow fever” fetishism. Contact me through email if you are reading my blog.
Launch expected September 2017