Let me begin by telling you that I am Asian and a woman, and I’m proud to be both. I embody a mixture of values influenced by my Chinese heritage and my Western upbringing — values that had once led to much confusion about my cultural identity, but over time, have been distilled down to the essentials to make up exactly who I want to be.
And now let me tell you my story.
Recently, I went out with a guy I’d met on OkCupid — don’t all good stories start with this? We met up at a little place at St. Marks, and over a late dinner, we had an interesting conversation about the difference between how Asian women are perceived by Asian versus non-Asian men.
I shared an anecdote about how an Asian female friend of mine had been seeing a black guy. OKC Guy, who is Asian himself, had a really strong reaction to this. He was plainly insulted. He told me that although Asian men generally do not openly discuss this, it frequently upsets them to see a non-Asian male dating an Asian female. “Because the attraction is often based on a kind of fetish than sincere interest,” he insisted.
How dare they take our women? he seemed to be saying. Dumbfounded by this notion of racial possessiveness (can we even call it that?), I tried to counter his opinion by sharing personal dating stories to demonstrate how race plays such a minimal part in the Creep Factor. As I got more and more defensive for reasons I could not comprehend, I suddenly felt a strange déjà vu of all the times I’d tried justifying my non-Asian romantic involvements to my parents.
Later on, as I trudged home wondering why the conversation had made me so upset, I realized it essentially came down to racial stereotypes. Now, since race is such a sensitive issue when it comes to dating and sex, let me just level with you here and list out some precious truisms that people seem to assiduously subscribe to:
- Asian guys have no game, and have small dicks.
- Black guys will bang anything that moves.
- Jewish guys love Asian girls and Asian girls love marrying Jewish guys.
- Brown guys just want to sleep you but will never commit to you, because in the end a brown guy will just end up marrying another brown girl he hasn’t even touched sexually, all because his family told him to.
- Middle Eastern guys each take on like five wives – and maybe beat four.
- European guys are over-sexed and their “numbers” way too high so USE PROTECTION.
And now, my favorite: Asian women.
- Asian women are all embodiments of cute/naïve/squealing school girls in uniforms and pigtails in a very “Ooh I’m so innocent, I don’t know what a penis is, why is it touching me?!” kind of way.
- Asian women are always petite and, therefore, vulnerable.
- Asian women are quiet and submissive.
- Asian women have no body hair.
As an Asian woman, I can tell you that none of the stereotypes above actually apply to me.
First of all, who doesn’t have body hair!? Mutants.
Second, sorry to disappoint but cuteness is not my highest aspiration in life – I’m 25 and a young professional, and will not dress up in a school uniform and squeak in a high pitched voice during sex, because that is some messed up shit.
Finally, I admit to being relatively petite, but never submissive, and if you try to make me do something I don’t want to do, I will fucking hurt you.
I personally believe that stereotypes are just that — stereotypes. I try not to make a habit of letting them dictate who I should or should not date, and neither should you. Take a step back from the lens which traps you in your view of the world, and try to understand how you actually arrived at these preconceived notions. Maybe you’ll come to realize that people are all fundamentally motivated by the same few desires, that there is rarely a true separation between black and white, between right and wrong, that the area of grey which often is most difficult to navigate is also what makes life the most worthwhile.
Take a step back from all that shapes your psychological constructs of who I am as a person. As a woman. As an Asian woman. Realize that I belong to no one — not to an Asian guy or a white guy or a brown guy or a black guy, or anything in between. I am unequivocally, unabashedly, and unyieldingly, just me.