Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of a single author, and doesn’t necessarily represent the viewpoints of Amped Asia magazine. We believe that these viewpoints should be voiced, and we won’t censor this author’s opinion.
UPDATE: Cindy wrote a response to the negative backlash of this article, which can be read here.
A long time ago, in a university library far, far away, I put off studying for my biology final so I could witness the hilarious glory that launched the career of Asian America’s most well-known film crew, Wong Fu Productions.
For those of you who remain blissfully ignorant of what yellow fever is and why that video hits so close to home for the characters, allow me to enlighten you: yellow fever is the unique phenomenon attributed to a non-Asian man’s preference for Asian women.
But why? Why are Asian women so popular?
Take yourself back 200 years. Asian immigrants poured into the US by the thousands to work in mines, on railroads, and at shipping docks. When American men observed what they didn’t know from the outside — they thought they saw Asian men being treated like gods by small, delicate, docile, obedient, exotic-looking women (though anyone who has ever dated an Asian woman knows that our fiery personalities could scare even an Irish woman).
Beverly Swerling’s Novel “City of God” captures it best: a fabulously wealthy New York merchant travels to China, purchases a toddler from her parents for a box of opium, and has her groomed to be the perfect, docile, submissive spouse his American wife can never be.
Historically, Asian women were seen as an obedient, submissive alternative to White women.
All the beauty with none of the hassle of a fiery-tempered White woman. If I didn’t know any better, I’d want in on that too. (White) American guys thought they had won the lottery when they discovered Asian women, and having an exotic Asian mistress who were more obedient than their White female counterparts gave them a feeling of power. Asian women were suddenly en vogue, the newest, coolest accessory.
World War II and the proliferation of Asian prostitutes magnified the stereotype
World War II and Vietnam didn’t help, with thousands of clever Asian prostitutes who started draining soldiers’ bank accounts with ease by playing the coy, submissive part to get the cold, hard cash. If your country is being obliterated, food is scarce, and the only way you can feed your family is by letting some big-shot soldier think you’re a delicate Oriental flower, then stereotypes be damned.
The present day
Fast forward 200 years, past a Hollywood that continues to portray Asian women as little more than exotic handbags, and that stereotype is here to stay. White guys salivate at the thought of Asian women. Some hunt their prey (yes, prey) here. Some go by mail-order. And, curiously, White male tourists in Asia outnumber female tourists TEN. TO. ONE.
Hmmm, I wonder why? (Remember this sick guy molesting women in Japan?)
It’s funny to think of the sad, Asian-obsessed White guy with no social life and a serious case of cystic acne watching Bible Black and dreaming about his Asian princess. But it’s also hard to be an Asian woman and wonder whether a guy actually likes you any time you get asked out, or whether you’re a sick fetish.
But what are the implications of yellow fever for Asian men?
It means that Asian guys are portrayed as weak and effeminate (since Hollywood is run by White men).
It means that Asian women marry outside of their race more often than Asian men do.
And it means that up to a fifth of Asian men might never marry as a result.
Wong Fu’s video is only the latest installment in the “Realistic Misadventures in the Life of Asian Men Everywhere,” but it’s the truth. So let’s be realistic — Yellow fever is here to stay. White guys love Asian women, and that’s going to continue for a long time.
But before you lament the fact that non-Asian women rarely have yellow fever for Asian men, consider three things:
1) Asian men are getting more and more attention — and that’s because Asian men are starting to find themselves a lot better within American society.
2) If you do get a white girl, you’ll probably never be treated like an object. That’s always a plus.
3) If you harness your inner Grant Imahara or Eugene Jang and pursue the girl of your dreams with the confidence of white guys who place no limitations on themselves, you too can bring home a smoking-hot girl of any race.
Written by Cindy Young