Public Relations Manager
Ever since I was a little kid, my race is something I have had to consider in nearly every aspect of my life. For the longest time, I was ridiculed for my identity: from boys saying they wouldn’t sit with me because of my Chinese ancestors, to kids asking me for the chemistry homework because I’m “supposed to be smart.” Perhaps these normalized comments are what made me the most shocked when I started witnessing a recent fetishization of Asians, commonly referred to as “yellow fever.” There’s the usual stuff like white boys posting TikToks “longing for an ABG” (Asian baby girl), and there is a whole crowd of sayings that people use to rationalize their desire for an Asian partner. The fetishization of Asian people is not only racist, but ignorant and gross.
People commonly stereotype Asians as submissive and docile. I’ve heard of men fetishizing an Asian woman because they expect her to be their geisha, submitting to every request and serving as slaves to a man’s pleasure. This is a weird and disgusting assumption. Cultural heritage does not determine personal traits, and assuming that we will fill this role simply because we are Asian is derogatory and wrong. Worded by Chin Lu in her article “Why Yellow Fever Is Different Than ‘Having a Type,’” “someone expecting me to fulfill all the cultural stereotypes of my race that he’s infatuated with…is called prejudiced ignorance and a refusal to recognize me as a complex, real human being.”
In all honesty, I don’t know why race even plays a role in dating. Finding a significant other should be about understanding who somebody is, not judging them for not having almond shaped eyes. All races are beautiful, so deciding that one is more or less worthy than another is perplexing. Assuming that I will act a certain way because of my race is an unrealistic fantasy that will not help you find your soulmate. Those who stereotype to such an extent are falling in love with the idea of someone, and they must learn that humans are much deeper than the shape of their eyes.
Though it is okay to have a type, we must recognize that fetishizing Asians and pursuing them simply because they are Asian is much different than preferring someone because they have brown eyes.
Why is it different to fetishize Asians than to prefer, say, brunettes over blondes? As an Asian woman, I have been ridiculed for traits that are suddenly desirable, and it angers me that people do not see the significance behind the features that they think “fit their aesthetic.” The same people who used to call Asians slurs because of our small eyes are now expressing that they “like the innocent look of Asians’ eyes.” News flash: thinking a non-white person is beautiful does not mean you aren’t racist. It simply means you have experienced the beauty of humans and their diversity.