Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Why I Have Been Made to Feel Ashamed of Liking Asian Men

Why I Have Been Made to Feel Ashamed of Liking Asian Men My name is Hadassa Noble and I work as a wing girl for Kezia Noble, the world’s leading female pick-up coach, here in the United Kingdom. In my line of work, I often have to ask my students what their type of woman is (in order to point out possible girls for them to approach). Everybody has ‘their type’ by which I mean, the features and traits they admire in the opposite sex. Some may look for blondes, others brunettes, some like tanned skin, others like pale skin. Many guys I teach and speak to broadly claim that they are attracted to Scandinavians – “tall blondes from Sweden!” Similarly, many women I speak to go ga-ga over Latino men – “their accents and dark features are so sexy!” This is nothing strange, in fact it is very ordinary, nobody complains and everyone either agrees or disagrees politely. However, when I am asked my type, I get a very different reaction. “I like Asian guys,” I say. The most common reaction I see are: People gasp. People take a double take. People laugh. Even many of the Asians I tell react this way! Just as some men like tall Swedish blondes, I like Asian men – I have a preference for the facial features, less body hair, slighter build etc. However, I am not rewarded for this like of Asian men, if anything I am scorned for it by both Asians and other races. Of course the initial reaction from Asian guys, when not shock, is “Awesome! High Five!” or “Wow great! A white girl who likes Asian guys! This makes me so happy!” which is a rather sad reaction as it indicates a lack of self-esteem in many successful, good looking Asian men, who believe they are less appealing due to their race. However, when looking in further into the opinions of Asian men on women of other races favouring them I have found a less than appreciative reaction and in some circumstances I feel I have been personally attacked and accused of ethnic stereotyping and only liking Asian men because they fulfil a part of my so-called obsessions and lifestyle. Let me first elaborate on my situation. As well as working as a wing girl I am a full time university student, who is devoting three years of her life (and £16,000 GBP approx. ) on a Japanese Language degree at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) a leading British University specialising in Asian and African studies. I have, therefore, a great interest in Japanese culture, as well as a whole interest in the East Asian region. I always explain to people that I fell in love with the East when I read a book about China at eight years old. I enjoy Asian cooking, Chinese movies, Japanese dramas, K-POP and J-POP, J-Rock, a select few anime, Japanese literature and language. Yes, there is no denying it, I have a wide and very strong interest in Asian culture, I make no attempts to deny this fact. However, because I like Asian men, myself (and other girls like me) have been generally accused of only liking Asian men as part of our obsession and are more attracted to a racial stereotype than to real Asian men. Strangely enough, people who know me will also know that I am obsessed with Vintage Hollywood (Golden Era circ. 1920-50s) does that mean every American guy I might be attracted to fits into that obsession? I find it funny that no one has ever accused me of that. If I become detailed about what Asian guys I like I dig myself an even deeper grave. “Which famous Asian guys do you like?” someone asks. I reply “Oh my favourite is Arashi’s Matsumoto Jun, X Japan’s YOSHIKI and I also love JYJ’s Kim ‘Hero’ Jaejoong too.” “So only East Asian? Only Korean and Japanese?” they continue. “No….I only really follow Korean and Japanese celebrities, that’s why I picked those three.” “Most Asian guys don’t look like those pretty boys, they don’t represent Asian guys!” comes the mocking retort. “No I know….my ex-boyfriend was Chinese and he never looked like that. And my first (and longest) crush is David Bowie in ‘Labyrinth’, he was very pretty but I don’t think he represents Caucasian men either. I think I just like pretty and very effeminate looking men. Some happen to be Asian too.” But the accusatory tone is there, and I immediately have to defend myself. If a guy said he liked tall blonde Swedes I wouldn’t immediately ask why Swedes and not Norwegians or Danes. Nor would I accuse any female celebrities of those countries of not being a fair representation of the race. Celebrity crushes, have always been, the ultimate, the number 10 of ideal looks in the opposite sex – one who dwells on these celebrities live in a dream-like haze of prolonged adolescence. Perhaps I do like Asian guys who dress a certain way, I like crazy dyed hair and flash clothes, and guys who wear make-up too (I like that on white men too, surprise surprise). I also like men who wear vintage 1930s/40s style clothes, but as that doesn’t fit into my so called stereotype of an Asian male it is ALWAYS ignored. Women who like Asian men are also accused of racial stereotyping personalities. The most common being; Asians are hardworking. My ex-boyfriend used to mention this one a lot. “Asians are hard-working? All except me, I’m lazy.” He’d laugh and we both agreed it wasn’t the worst prejudice to have. It is no worse than meeting any guy and saying “he looks like a nice guy, he dresses well and always says hello to everyone.” But after a few dates turns out to be a bully and a cheat. Positive discrimination will always be altered on getting to know someone, and unlike with negative discrimination you are more likely to take the opportunity to get to know that person. As a Jewish girl I’m always told that Jews are hardworking and good with money, rather than being offended by it, I laugh and wish it were true for me. It is even worse for men. White men I know who proclaim to like Asian girls admit this with a lot of wariness, they are often accused of liking so-called subservient, “geisha-girl”, china-doll like girls, and are recommended to get a mail-order Thai bride. Who is the one doing the racial stereotyping here, I’d like to know. So although, Asian men often praise me and smile when I proclaim to be attracted to them I have come to find that there are underlying accusation and a fear of me simply because I am very interested in Asia, and my celebrity crushes are of representations a certain (perhaps disliked) Asian minority. Because of this, I have now become less vocal about my affection for Asian men, and I’m sad that I am accused of racial stereotyping of a region I have taken the effort to study and learn about in detail at university. I am sure some of these accusations are real for certain women and one should be justly wary of anyone who seems a little too keen but please do not direct at every woman who suffers from a strong case of “Yellow Fever” – surely this is just another stereotype too?

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