By: Dorothy Wang
The first time I came across these types of messages I remember feeling shocked and caught off guard. In the past couple of years, however, this type of discourse and view has become more and more common. RICECEL* (Involuntary celibates due to Asian roots) and MRAsians** (Asian Men’s Rights ACtivists) discourse has seeped it’s way into Asian centric online forums.
Before anyone accuses me of white worship, I just want to preface this article with, I have never actually had a white boyfriend- I’m just tired of seeing Asian men shame Asian women for their dating preferences. It’s misogynistic, problematic, and just gross. Okay. Let’s begin.
According to the PEW research center “Asian women are far more likely to intermarry than their male counterparts. In 2015, just over one-third (36%) of newlywed Asian women had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, compared with 21% of newlywed Asian men.” This is a trend that isn’t seen in any other race.
Pew then breaks down the statistics further by age. More than half of newlywed Asian women in their 40s intermarry (56%), compared with 42% of those in their 30s and 46% of those 50 and older. Among Asian newlywed women younger than 30, 29% are intermarried.
Intermarriage is also more common among those who are U.S born rather than foreign born, a theme that is common among all races and is, in my opinion, easily explained by shared cultural values and more openness towards diversity.
Ok. So why do Asian women date outside their race?
Specifically, why do they like to date white men?
Well, first of all, women are not a conglomerate, and you do not get to group all Asian women into one category and expect these stereotypical archetypes to be accurate for all of us. There are systemic factors that contribute to the data. You have to be able to discern systematic factors and individual accountability.
Historically, Asian women have been victims of Asian fetishization, a result of white sexual imperialism. White Europeans have centuries of colonization in Asian countries to promote the narrative that white is best. Colorism is rampant in all of Asia and often women are encouraged to use chemicals to bleach their skin. White is automatically associated with wealth and success. The imperialistic views were not only political, but also included sexual domination. Soldiers brought home stories of demure, submissive Asian women, who were probably terrified human trafficking victims. White men wrote stories about conquest- but also about going to Asian countries to search for an Asian wife (see; Miss Saigon, Madame Butterfly, the World of Suzie Wong). Books turned into movies, music videos, lyrics, TV shows- all promoting the Asian fetish. Yellow fever spread.
These stereotypes are incredibly damaging towards Asian women. In the US, up to 61% of Asian women experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner during her lifetime. 35% of Asian victims of violence reported the race of their offenders to be white. Each race of women is most likely killed by their own race of men, except Asian women, who are most likely to be killed by white men.
Pull up facebook groups and search “Asian women” and you’ll get groups promising relationships between Asian women and Foreign men/Western men. Look up any other ethnicity and you won’t see nearly as many dating groups.
Yet, the dating realm doesn’t flow both ways for Asian men and Asian women. Asian women are fetishized all over the world for being submissive, quiet, docile, deferent, obedient, etc. Asian men are emasculated- a trend that began during the Yellow Peril movement, a period of extreme anti-Chinese immigration, when American propaganda painted caricatures of Chinese men and portrayed them as a threat towards the beautiful, blond, American women. (??)check. Asian men were not always portrayed in media the same way they are today. In fact, the first Hollywood male sex symbol was Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa. Women swooned over him on screen. But even Hayakawa’s career wasn’t immune to the fears stoked during yellow peril or the anti-Japanese sentiments during WW2. Since then, Asian men have had incredible difficulty making a dent in the industry- no one has yet to reach Hayakawa’s level of fame.
More and more recently, I have seen a rise of Asian men’s involvement in the discourse originally provided by ricecel and MRAsians. Just last month, I came across one such man who insisted that all Asian women contributed to white supremacy and white worship.
Here are some highlights;
“Asian females are just asking for it by the way they behave. Have you seen online dating statistics? Asian males are being bred into extinction, and even the most accomplished Asian guy is just competing with some average white dudes- never mind average asian guys who are probably cucked into oblivion. Asian females have been upholding white supremacy within the Asian domain for the past half century.”
“You don’t deserve asian males as your allies because all asian females do is throw asian males underneath the bus, or attempt to virtue signal for Asian men while holding hands with a white male. How seriously can anyone take an asian female vouching for asian males when they’re engaged with a white dude- literally a walking stereotype that deserves to be mocked. Asian females have ZERO agency in supporting white sexpat behaviors? Oh wow, muh colonialism means I have zero agency, and literally makes me a rape victim wowzers. There is a reason why self-proclaimed white male incels go for asian females… No one needs to defend asian females and their white worship. Everyone sees it for what it is”
This whole conversation only ended once my ex-boyfriend, who is Korean, noted that we had once dated, so his whole crusade against me as a white worshipper was completely invalid.
The online harassment from Asian men towards Asian women is completely unacceptable. I am not saying that an Asian woman who explicitly says that she only wants to date white men and doesn’t like Asian men isn’t problematic. But that the anger you feel towards her is misplaced.
Stop the targeted harassment of your Asian sisters! We have the agency to date whoever we want. It’s our personal choice. Yes, there are problematic WMAF relationships out there- but unless it is clearly a case of an imbalance of power (ex. Much older WM with a much younger AF), it is none of your business. And even then, it is not the woman who you should be attacking. Punch up not down. When a white male with money, intentionally goes to a developing country to look for a poor POC woman, who he fetishizes and has little to no financial security- you should not point the blame at the woman.
The actions of these groups often mimics white supremacists, the alt right, redpill, and incels. MRAsians often create fake accounts to “mob” and harass Asian women online.
Author Celeste Ng, put it best, “The issue here isn’t “internalized racism.” The issue here is men thinking they get to control women, especially women of their own ethnicity. It’s misogyny hiding behind the mask of anti-racism. And it’s bullshit.”
*Ricecel- Man who is involuntarily celibate because he is Chinese or of other Asian descent.
**MRAsian- Asian Men’s Rights Activist
***WMAF- White male Asian female