Earlier this year, I went on a date with a man who told me he had a thing for Asian women. We were sitting across from each other at a table in a fancy restaurant and he stood up to do a head-to-toe scan of me. I am sick of being fetishised because of racist stereotypes about "small and compliant" Asian women. Credit: Stocksy. I told myself to run. Here was yet another man with what is not-so-jokingly referred to as Yellow Fever: the lazy and discriminatory hyper-sexualisation and fetishisation of Asian women, primarily by white men, solely based on race. When I tried to break it off with him, he texted: "I hate you.
I wasn’t attracted to Asian men because of my own insecurities
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Journals Sophia's World. These stereotypes absolutely exist, and they are harmful. For me, it hits close to home. Conversations about racial stereotypes might not pop up in certain social circles in America, but they do in mine. Plus, I am a Korean American woman dating a blond, blue-eyed, German-blooded man born and raised in North Dakota to a baseball-obsessed, Baptist, Republican family. I grew up as a missionary kid in Singapore; David grew up in a middle-class suburban home with a pool in the Midwest. I watched Korean dramas and practiced taekwondo; he watched DuckTales and chowed pretzels at baseball stadiums and air-guitared to Blink But still, we somehow clicked.
Top collage: Marta Parszeniew. I once asked my first boyfriend what his friends thought about me. Apparently they were amused that he was dating a Chinese girl, and teased him about "riding her like a Kawasaki. Growing up in New Zealand, I often grappled with being different. I never believed in Santa and rice was my go-to starch. By my late teens, I realized that being Chinese also gave me a typecast sexual identity: bashful, privately kinky, and rumored to be in possession of an extra snug, sideways vagina. I first heard murmurings about "yellow fever" at university.
He hates it when I do this. So do I, really. We live in San Francisco, so this dip is as common as the hills. Shame is neither the wisest nor most mature part of oneself, but it still has a voice.