• Being 'really into asians' can be based on offensive stereotypes, some women say. (Getty Images)
White guys who say they're into 'Asian chicks' might think they're super progressive, but some Asian women disagree – strongly.
By
Ben Winsor

23 Aug 2016 - 3:32 PM  UPDATED 25 May 2017 - 12:57 PM

Being ‘into Asian chicks’ is a preference many guys don’t seem to have a problem expressing, with some even wearing it as a badge of pride. 

It’s a trend that has become so widespread it’s got its own slang term: ‘Yellow fever’.

But while many see no issue with it, more than a few Asian women find it deeply frustrating.

In a recent article titled ‘I hope you die from yellow fever’, Caressa Wong pulls no punches.

Like many other Asian women, Wong is sick of pickup lines which zero-in on race.

"The most disgusting set of phrases you could ever utter to me are ‘I love Asians,’ ‘I’m only attracted to Asians,’ ‘I had an Asian girlfriend once,’ or any other variant really," Wong writes.

"If you’ve gotten to a point where all your suitors are coming at you because they’ve decided to stuff you into their ‘little Asian wife’ box, then it starts to hurt. A lot."

"I’m Chinese, and if you think that dating, say, a Korean or Filipino person somehow ‘qualifies’ you to be my significant other, then you really have to pay more attention to anything you might’ve learned while being with that person at all," Wong writes. 

"Of course white people are capable of having good intentions and being innocuous, but there’s a part of me that’s been socially conditioned to question if they see me or just sees an Asian girl."

“Asian women are people, and they’re not for your consumption” – Caressa Wong

For Asian women, the apparent attraction to their background can often be based on stereotypes which can be both racist and sexist. 

Internet chat rooms are full of often-offensive discussions about just what makes 'Asian women' so desirable for men – from being good with money to being good in bed. 

"There are three things Asian mothers hate: shoes on in house, checking their blind spot and chubby daughters," one online commenter on Reddit theorised. 

"Asian fat shaming has single-handedly saved generations of Asian women from the unf**kability epidemic experienced by whites and especially blacks."

Wong says that even less blatantly-offensive stereotypes are still hurtful. 

"I understand that in the West, we have the disgusting narrative of the foreign Asian girl who acts as a catalyst for a white man’s spiritual journey — but, please, in real life they’re not here to grind on you under artsy pink lighting in an apartment in Japan," Wong writes.

"They’re not going to lead you down busy Tokyo streets and smile enigmatically at you, and they’re not a plot device for your sick story."

"They’re not ‘real life anime characters’, and they’re not all ‘good little sheltered girls,’" Wong continues. "You’re not here to bring out this girl’s 'wild streak.'"

Insight – Asian women speed-dating night

Mabel Kwong, an Asian Australian blogger in Melbourne, shares similar frustrations. 

She says she’s used to having Caucasian Australian men hit on her by making an issue out of her background.

“We are more than just 'Asian' - while our heritage may play a part in the values that we upkeep, we also play many other roles in life that define us, just like the next person to us,” Kwong tells SBS.

She says that while everyone is entitled to their own tastes and preferences – "What turns you on, turns you on. Each to their own." – being viewed solely as an 'Asian woman' can be frustrating.

In a 2014 blog post she recounts one example of a guy coming on to her in a central Melbourne shopping-mall. 

“Where are you from?” he asked.

“I’m from Australia. Melbourne,” she replied

“But…you know. You’re…Asian,” he said.

“Of course I know. I am Asian. Chinese-Malaysian, to be exact. But I am also a person with a personality,” she remembers thinking. 

“These encounters are amusing and annoying,” she says. "They give me the impression some Caucasian guys are attracted to me because of my ethnicity."

“As Asian Australians, we’re more than just our heritage. We are Australian. We have lives in Australia. We’re familiar with shopping at Woolies, familiar with riding the trains and trams. We’re students, workers, parents, mentors and so much more every day in Australia."

"That ‘somewhere’ we’re from is Australia. Multicultural Australia."

The Melbourne-based blogger says that while there's nothing wrong with people having certain tastes, she gets the impression that some Western males see themselves as superior to Asian women, or view them as sex objects.

"It's a fact that many Asian women in Australia have the opportunity to attain a well-rounded education and are actively independent in the way they lead their lives. I am lucky to have had gone to university in Melbourne and today am able to support myself financially and lead my life according to my own choices," she says.

"I don't feel like I need to bow down to another race."

Insight – Dating Race [Full Episode] 

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Face Up To Racism #FU2Racism with a season of stories and programs challenging preconceptions around race and prejudice. Tune in to watch Is Australia Racist? (airs on Sunday 26 February at 8.30pm), Date My Race (airs Monday 27 February at 8.30pm) and The Truth About Racism (airs Wednesday 1 March at 8.30pm). Watch all the documentaries online after they air on SBS On Demand