Asian women have slowly emerged in American society as one of the most desired ethnicities for men to date and marry. Is this just a result of growing diversity and tolerance in society or are these men simply hoping that the Asian submissiveness stereotype holds true? The answer is both. The acceptance of interracial relationships has certainly become more prevalent in recent years and the relationships themselves have become quite common. Yet this does not explain why out of the many single women out there, Asian women have been increasingly sought after. Some call it Asian fetishism; others call it “Asiaphilia”. Either way, I can’t help but feel that the submissiveness stereotype plays a huge role.
What I mean by the submissive stereotype is the belief that Asian women are somehow innocent and meek creatures who will do anything a man says. The label is that these women feel their role in life is to please their husband and to always make sure he comes first. In films, we see many examples of this: The Asian wife cooking a meal and then setting it on the table for her husband to eat when he gets home. The Asian woman bowing her head while serving the male guests tea. The Asian wife not speaking much, or even arguing back when her husband berates her.
A simple definition of stereotyping is that it is the process of reducing somebody to an oversimplified category. The way our society depicts Asian women in films, music, and media does just that. We categorize them into a sector of females who don’t have personalities. They are one-dimensional characters whose actions are decided upon by what a male tells them to do. Most people know stereotypes are wrong and don’t apply to everyone, but this doesn’t always stop them from placing these same stereotypes on other people. Society will only learn from what we are exposed to and if the media continues to portray women in this light, there will be no stopping these misguided beliefs from spreading.
People must learn to look upon others and their relationships on a case by case basis. Don’t automatically assume that a person is dating someone just because you feel that person probably fits a stereotype you’ve heard of. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard another person say something along the lines of, “He is only dating that Asian girl because he can’t handle an independent woman like me.” People, remarks like this will only show your naivety. Consider the fact that maybe the male is dating the female because he is attracted to her and they have common interests. How can anyone judge a relationship without even delving into who the people themselves are?
Last week a woman saw my boyfriend and me walking down the street together. She made a very rude comment that I will be kind enough not to repeat. Needless to say, she quoted something that she heard a submissive Asian woman say in a film. Her remarks weren’t surprising, but I did find them highly offensive. In the end, I’m sure the woman was surprised when I spoke back to her in the most non-submissive manner possible. You see, Asian women are portrayed in such a stereotypical light that my own personal relationships are often judged and looked down upon. People think that if I’m dating outside of my race or even within my own race, my male partner must rule our relationship. He must be dating me because I do everything he wants and never speak up for myself. This is simply not the case. I have never considered myself to be a submissive woman and I don’t think my boyfriend would want it any other way. If anyone sees me cooking dinner for him or treating him with respect, please don’t judge me or categorize me as inferior. Look a little closer and you’ll probably see him washing the dishes or taking out the trash. We have an ordinary relationship just like any typical “American” couple has and I have no problem with arguing with him or telling him how I feel.
Let me just end off by saying that I have no problem with “Asiaphilia” or Asian fetishism. People have a right to be attracted to others with different races and cultures. This is what makes interracial relationships so beautiful. The only problem that I truly have with it is when people gravitate towards wanting to date a specific race due to a stereotype that isn’t necessarily true. What does it say about American society if men begin to put value on a sect of women that they believe to be submissive? A sect that they can dominate and make demands of that they wouldn’t ask women of other races to do. To put it bluntly, not all Asian women are docile, meek, and submissive creatures. We have our own personalities and traits just like any other woman in the world. Do not categorize and group us together as one because it may just be disappointing when we don’t meet those expectations.