Hello, AMWW readers! The one and only Huggable Heather here with a topic that differs from our typical fanfare – AMWF dating dynamics. I randomly came across an interesting article a while back about a new documentary that seems interesting. Titled “They’re All So Beautiful,” it delves into the ugly side of Asian/White interracial dating relationships – the Asian fetish, or yellow fever.
While I don’t discuss yellow fever much, I do have some personal knowledge on the matter. Recently, I went on a hiking trip with a big group of friends, including my best friend and her boyfriend – an Asian girl/White guy couple. Since I brought along my boyfriend, who is Korean-American, our discussion inevitably led to Asian/White couples and the differences we encounter in interracial dating.
I thoroughly enjoy speaking with my Chinese-American best friend (we’ll call her Jenny) because she provides many interesting interracial dating experiences that are unlike my own AMWF dating experiences. While we have incredibly similar tastes in just about everything, when we go out in public, we are treated very differently. When we’re together, she’s often ignored, or spoken to very slowly, as if she can’t understand English. One person refused to believe she wasn’t Japanese, and kept speaking broken Japanese to her, as if she’d magically be cured of her racial amnesia and be Japanese again.
One of the most important things that has constantly been at the forefront of her mind, especially when it comes to interracial dating, is whether or not she is being fetishized with yellow fever. It’s a real concern for her, and for good reason – she’s been there.
Without divulging too much personal information about Jenny’s life, I’ll break it down for you:
Jenny dated a guy we’ll call Eric for several years before she considered the possibility of him having yellow fever. He only befriended Asian girls. He had a warped sense of beauty and supposed that just about all Asian women were gorgeous. He openly criticized “American” (White) women for being fake, shallow, and overall less feminine than his beloved Asian women.
In sum, he assumed all Asian women acted a certain way, believed in all the stereotypes surrounding them, and let that dictate how he chose a mate. He was exclusively interested in interracial dating–to the point that he had a raging case of yellow fever. Jenny eventually broke up with him and has happily moved on with a guy who has a healthier outlook on Asian women (without putting down White women).
Readers, there is a real difference between finding specific physical features about a race attractive when participating in interracial dating and letting stereotypes dictate your attraction with raging yellow fever. If you think an Asian girl/guy is hot because they have an awesome smile, good facial structure, and beautiful eyes, then that’s not necessarily fetishizing them. After all, how many men out there prefer blondes with big boobs and blue eyes? How many women want someone tall, dark, and handsome? AMWF dating and being attracted to someone with a button nose and mono-lids falls into that category. It’s not necessarily shallow – how many people do a double-take while in the mall or at the club, checking out “dat personality”? To some degree, we all want someone who is physically attractive to us, and if another race has certain features that are appealing, it’s not inherently racist.
If you like all Asian girls because they are supposed to be soft-spoken, shy, and think your penis is big, you are in it for the wrong reasons; you have yellow fever. If you think they belong on a pedestal as your porcelain “China doll”, you are fetishizing and objectifying an entire race of women. If you put down White women in your quest for Asian pussy, you are not only insulting your Caucasian cohorts but the Asian women you profess to love as well.
True love doesn’t start with a poor attempt at interracial dating laced with yellow fever and implied lines like “I hate my own race’s women… hey baby, how you doin’?”
So… how to navigate away from these types of men?
Jenny didn’t realize Eric had yellow fever until years after they started dating. She began to wonder when she noticed all his friends were Asian women – some with flawless English, others with no grasp whatsoever, and everything in between. She started wondering if any Asian girl would do it for him, regardless of their personality. She felt more and more neglected when he steadily invested more time and money into his “friends”, buying them expensive gifts and talking to them for long periods of time. Whenever she complained about these girls, he always reassured her by saying “I talk to them about you and how much I love you.” It was as if he needed constant attention from any Asian woman and did everything in his power to maintain those relationships. Jenny felt him becoming increasingly more distant as the months went on – the signs were always there, but it wasn’t so obvious at the time.
When Jenny finally broke up with Eric, he ran away to Taiwan and married another Asian girl within a few months. Talk about investment in interracial dating!
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you aren’t an Asian girl. But this article is dedicated to all the Jennys out there. You are more than “just an Asian girl”. You have interests, hobbies, feelings, and experiences that make you unique. You may have some personality traits that fall into the “stereotypical Asian” category. You may not. Either way, that doesn’t make you a “stereotypical Asian” – it just makes you shy, or soft-spoken, or a good student, or whatever that stereotype is and doesn’t mean you deserve to be fetishized with yellow fever. It doesn’t need to be a reflection of your race, but a reflection of you as an individual; a culmination of your life experiences. I want you to cultivate an idea of self-worth and individuality that doesn’t rely solely on “being Asian”. I firmly believe that, while being Asian/Asian-American is a part of you and who you are, it is not everything about you. Armed with this truth that you, as an individual, are worthy of a partner that cares for the person that you are and not the race you represent, you will have an easier time avoiding the “Erics” in life and finding a man that respects you – whatever his race may be.
For those of us in the AMWF dating community, we need to be aware of this as well and make sure we don’t become an “Eric”. If you like Asian guys and love interracial dating, please remember that they’re all individuals, just like you. They’re not one big group of dancing, singing Taeyangs. They’re not a mass of suave, sweet Lee Min Hos. They are unique human beings, and their experiences, not necessarily their race, have shaped who they are. Do not seek them out to fulfill the void left in your life by yellow fever.
But what do I know? I’m just some blonde White girl, right?