WOMEN
06/01/2019 10:00 EDT

HuffPost Her Stories: Dear White Guys, Your Asian Fetish Is Showing

Plus: A love letter to my partner who taught me to be trans.

HuffPost

Dear reader,

“What is your nationality?” “What are you?” “I’ll eat your pussy like shrimp fried rice.” “I want to try my first Asian woman.”

These are just some of the messages Lillian, who asked us to withhold her real name, is used to receiving on Tinder. Lillian is a 20-something American woman who actively dates. She’s also Asian, which means she regularly encounters behavior on dating apps that her white peers couldn’t even conceive of.

“Most of my single white friends receive only a taste of what I get on Tinder,” she told reporter Brittany Wong, who took a deep dive into the history of Asian fetishization for HuffPost U.S. “No man has ever opened with how white women are so ‘exotic’ or opened with an assumption about how white vaginas are different from other vaginas.”

The history of fetishizing women of color is, of course, nothing new. “Yellow Fever” dates back to the 1800s, when the first Victorian men visited port cities in Japan and became transfixed by geishas. Stereotypes were only further cemented in early Hollywood movies. And it’s not just women who are pigeonholed.

“Asian guys today struggle to get dates and get swiped on, but meanwhile, Asian women are seen as highly desirable and fetishized. These sexual, racial stereotypes crop up at the same time, which I found so frustrating but also really interesting,” Brittany said. “Learning the history behind these tropes was fascinating. I knew all about the ‘Madame Butterfly’ tropes and geishas, but as an American, I had no idea some of our more lurid ideas about Asian sexuality were due to an immigration trend.”

She added: “Chinese men, fearful of bringing over their wives given racial tension on the West Coast, came over alone in the late 19th century. The only women who did make it over? Young women from poor families who took the only work they could as prostitutes.”

So is it OK to have a “type” when dating? Of course, said Katerina Jeng, co-founder of the Asian American magazine Slantd. But she added: “When you project the same kind of personality, behavior, and values across an entire ethnic group and don’t see nuanced human [beings], that’s a racial fetish.”

So take note, white guys. We see you, and your Asian fetish is showing.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition from our London HQ.

Until next time,

Lucy

To My Partner: I Didn’t Know I Could Be Trans And In Love Until I Met You

ELIZABETH CASTILLO GAMA / EYEEM VIA GETTY IMAGES

Rowan was the first trans person writer Florence Ashley had ever met. Just a few years before, they had barely known that trans people existed. But their meeting set Florence on an incredible path of self-discovery that irreparably changed their life. In this moving, first-person piece for HuffPost Canada, Florence puts pen to paper to thank Rowan, their fellow trans, nonbinary partner: “I finally get to feel like I belong on this mess of a planet.” Rowan’s support allowed Florence to understand it was OK to not like their body; it was OK to experiment with new names and pronouns; and ultimately to discover a side to them they didn’t know. Someone pass the tissues.

‘Booksmart’ Is Refreshingly Real On How It’s Hard To Be A Woman With Ambition

ANNAPURNA PICTURES

“Booksmart” is the new teen comedy everyone’s talking about. Like cult classic “Clueless” before it, it offers a sharp and dynamic take on female adolescence. But where this unabashedly feminist film truly excels is in how it brings into focus the ways women with ambition are often seen as a liability, according to reporter Marina Fang, who reviewed the film for HuffPost U.S. It crystallizes the sacrifices strong women are forced to make — from high school valedictorians to presidential candidates — and offers an important commentary on what it’s like to be a woman in this post-Me Too era.

In case you missed it...

Why Did Delhi Give Aziz Ansari’s Show A Standing Ovation?

Here’s What It’s Like To Be A Teenage Girl In Alabama Right Now

Women, Disabled And Homeless ‘Hit Hardest By Closure Of Public Toilets’ In UK

I Got Pregnant Despite Having An IUD And It Almost Killed Me

Dogs, Whistles And Personal Alarms: The Measures Women Take To Feel Safe While Running