Asian fetishes and the myths that perpetuate them.

I find most conversations with people about the fetishization of Asian women mind numbing. Even when people have the best of intentions with comments like, “you can’t help who you are attracted to,” or “Asian women are hot,” you begin to realize that often people are just trying to explain away their own or someone else’s racism. Myths such as Asian women are hotter, or they are more docile and therefore better wives, are not only mythical and generalizing, but they hinge on essentialist stereotypes that silence the voices of Asian women and Asian feminists that have been shouting for years about how they are not your fantasy.

Carmen at Racialicious
emailed me about this piece on Jezebel, that seems to be calling out the problematic reality that a lot of men have hard core Asian fetishes, but unfortunately ends up reinforcing the very stereotypes that reinforce this complex situation.

A bunch of economists are once again putting their decades of rigorous study to a societally optimal end and dispelling the “myth” of the Asian fetish. In studies of speed dating communities, it turned out, Caucasian men showed no racial preference at all for Asian women; in fact, male speed daters showed no racial preferences at whatsoever! To which I call, “bullshit.” (Remind me to tell you about my “Asian” phone sex persona one time!) And I know because I practically am Asian that when talking about the AZNs we are allowed to talk about stereotypes without regard for the numerous and glaring exceptions out there, so here goes: there are a few reasons some dudes prefer Asian women, and it starts with the fact that they are very rarely unattractive, and they are even more rarely stupid, and they are even more rarely than that fat. They have really nice skin and they’re not afraid to tell you yours looks bad.

Um, no. It is very difficult to talk about Asians as one whole group of people. There are a lot of different kinds of Asian people and sometimes, Asian also includes South Asian. And while Moe concedes that it is difficult to homogenize when there are so many exceptions, the reliance on still perpetuating the same myths that fetishizers use to justify their fetish, well that is not cool. I mean I am South Asian and you will not hear me say, “oh we are nerdy, tee hee, that is a positive stereotype, so it is OK!” Because in reality, the Indian nerd stereotype is often used to justify unfair work conditions or low self esteem in South Asians that are not “nerdy.”
The fetishization of Asian women by the media, by men, by women, by Westerners, it is not just coming from a few people. It is supported by not only myths and stereotypes, but the objectification of Asian women’s bodies through pornography that is focused on Asian women, the global sex trade that is disparaging in Asia and South East Asia and the culture of sexual tourism. It has somehow become OK to have racist sexual preferences, even in progressive circles. The thing is, it is usually one sided and that being white men, into Asian chicks. We are not operating in a vacuum. There is a long history of white men lusting after Asian women because of certain qualities they felt were “natural” to Asian women, qualities that make them more desirable than us loud mouth American gals.
I mean Asian women that are choosing to be with white men (even when they are racist or just into them because they are Asian) is their choice as well. I mean if they feel OK with it, who am I to say anything otherwise. But for the rest of us, that are sick and tired of white men being into us because we are “exotic,” well this shit is just tired. I am not your fetish, I am not your fantasy and, yeah, I might be good in bed, but my race is not why.

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  • Jonus

    This post definitely needs to have this poem by Suheir Hammad in the comments.

  • HoneyBee

    sojourner while I get your point I think hpunzel was simply commenting on with the large number of white male / asian female relationships out there, who are we to say that the relationship isn’t fully consensual, or even more so, that she doesn’t have her own fetish towards white men, since as others pointed out, that fetish definitely exists also.

  • Hyphen Blog

    Asian Fetish Myth, Part II

    One blogger defends Asian fetishism by saying Asian women are hot and smart.

  • catty

    Minorities fetishizing whites come from colonialism and racism.
    Take Asia- specifically, East Asia (Korea Japan, China). I have never gone to a country where they use another race (white) to advertise products when the majority of the population is not.
    As an asian woman, this whole asian-women-are-hot thing is new to me. when I was a teen, asian women were ugly. Now, it seems our vaginas are more wanted rather than the temporary pit stop of military penises stationed overseas.

  • Mary

    Wow, Asian women are docile and silent? I guess I better tell my stepmom what she’s supposed to be like before she yells at my dad.
    Blargh, stereotypes are ridiculous.

  • Pastor Earl Tackett

    Wow, it seems that everyone here is ignoring the big pink elephant in the room. You all seem to have a problem with white men “want to get with an Asian woman” or white men who “think Asian women are hot”. But what about all the black men who “want to get with white women”? What about all the black men who think that white women are hot?” And for that matter, what about all the white women who think that black men are hot?
    Of ALL the people in this world who are attracted to people of other races, white men are the ONLY ones who get mocked and pegged as having a “fetish”. Even when black men come out and say that they like white women because they are submissive, they do not get pegged as having a fetish like white men do.
    It seems to me that this whole double-standard serves to protect the pedestal that white women are on. For example, white women are always portrayed as the ideal of feminine beauty. When men of other races lust after white women, it’s only considered “normal”. But god forbid a man lust after a woman who isn’t white, because if this happens he faces the wrath of all the selfish white feminists and gets accused of having a “fetish” as if it’s not normal to find other women attractive.
    I find it self-serving that white women would plant such self-serving seeds in the minds of everyone in order to shame white men into only pursuing white women, and to plant fear and doubt in non-white women about getting involved with one of those “sexist” white men who only fetishize women. I find it even more disappointing that so many Asian women seem to be buying into it. It seems that Asian women don’t even realize that they are being manipulated by white women to protect the pedestal of white female beauty.
    If being seen as beautiful and graceful by men of other races is bad, then why don’t white feminists get angry when white women are portrayed this way? Why is it they only have a fit when Asian women are treated this way instead of white women? It sounds like jealousy to me.

  • XxD3nixX

    First of all i havent read all the posts obviously i just stumbled upon this site through google. love the last post the one above me
    Im From Europe (Bosnia-ExYugoslavia) 22 male Student
    The opposite sex seems to find me quite attractive ill explain this comment later in the post.
    To the majority of people and mainly to the person posting this thread no offence but never have i heard more crap in my life, so as to say. i see a Nazi regime where white men must only date white women each race keep to themselves so as to be pure. This is what i got out of it but not sure if this was your intention….
    I have had an array of girlfriends from an array of nationalities.
    What the poster of this thread said about the majority of white men liking asians been ugly is total bullshit,,this is where i refer back to my comment about me been attractive :)
    Moreover to the main point which i wish to state is:
    I like asian women, i like bosnian women, i like every woman from whatever part of the world. With that in mind yes i will say according to the poster of this thread that i have a fetish (prefernce) for Asian women as the majority i have met have been what i been looking for and we suit each other and my personality. Not excluding women of different races besides asians i have been in love or have liked and been in relationships and fantasised about them. keeping that in mind i dont find every asian woman attractive.(its a preference who you are attracted to …including features.etc)
    in general i like the majority of the ones i know , their personality, their attractivness, their culture, their history, their up bringing, their eyes and their dark hair which is like mine black. Hell im even learning japanese and korean guess thats a fetish of mine too, and also researching history about the asian countries, another of the caucasian mans sad and twisted fetishes. And finally i am living in a defacto relation ship for almost 2 years now with my partner and guess what she is asian,, and yes mrs. thread poster u are right i fell in love with her because she is asian and her body and managed to stay in love with her body and her asianess for these past 2 years,, give me a break u make it sound like we are monsters. why am i calling us ‘we’ as if people who fall in love with other races are not human ‘we’ according to you are excluded from the general population. Girl theres a thing called preference and some women and men find different features attractive.
    in the end it all comes down to preference to what attracts one to another….I guess i can continue to live my life knowing that people like you out there think i have a fetish somehow i can pull through
    and comments from anyone ,or further discussions please email me on

  • Cail51

    what i find is that everywhere i look its always about white men wanting asian girls. i have not yet once seen anything about white woman wanting asian men. i am a white woman and i find myself locked in an intense preference to asians… i cant explain it and i have had it since i was about 12 years old, around the time i started liking boys, it has just seemed to me that its getting stronger. is there any explination for me? because i cant find one anywhere… no matter how hard or long i search…

  • fetishpost

    I stumbled upon this on google. I just wanted to post my opinion. My “fetish” is known all throughout my high school because I joined Asian Club and I have several Vietnamese friends, most of them are girls.
    People assume I would date any Asian girl just because of her race, and this frustrates me. I have only been interested in dating one Vietnamese girl these first 3 years of high school. I never got to though, because her friend convinced I only liked her for her race, appearance and stereotypes. This is how I know I don’t have a fetish: because her friend is a attractive Asian girl and I hate her more than any human being I’ve ever met.
    I find White women unattractive. I don’t think they’re inferior human beings, but I would never date a woman of White descent because I don’t want to date a unattractive woman. The way I see it, I like Asian girls because of their looks, I could care less about their culture and stereotypes.