This article was originally published in Mochi Magazine under a pseudonym “Seiryun Song” to protect my privacy and safety — due to the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes (and given the nature of white supremacy and fragile masculinity) at the time. Mochi Magazine is an online destination for Asian American women to share their stories, experiences, and passions. Click on the link to read the entire article.
6 Ways to Know Your Date Has An Asian Fetish (And How to Respond!), March 15, 2021
You’re sitting in a cute bar with a cute Parisian you met on Tinder. He asks if you’re Japanese. You’ve only heard this question a bajillion times, so you simply say no, you’re Korean American. An hour later, he begins whispering sweetly to you… in Japanese. Maybe he just switches languages whenever he’s drunk? The next morning, you find a photography book of Asian women licking doorknobs on your soon-to-be one-night stand’s night stand. And finally, it clicks.
Dating outside of our race can be complicated for a variety of reasons, but that nagging question comes up over and over again: do they like me for me, or do they like me for what they think I represent? Nearly every Asian American woman I know has been fetishized in one way or another, and we’re exposed to it now more than ever thanks to social media and online dating apps. Christina*, 30, says, “When I was on Tinder a few years ago, most of the messages I would receive would be from white men who seemed to be only interested in the fact that I was Asian and therefore ‘exotic’ in their eyes.”
Also known as “yellow fever,” the Asian fetish is actually rooted in colonialism, military occupation, and sexual violence against women. And, of course, racism: These strong “preferences” are based on stereotypes about Asian women as docile and submissive, yet hypersexual. And although there are certainly people who exoticize Asian men, more often than not Asian men are desexualized, while anti-Blackness pervades and white men are put on pedestals.
Of course, people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds can and should absolutely have genuine relationships with each other. The problem is that Asian fetishes are slightly more nuanced than the racialized catcalling and sexual harassment so many of us are subject to on a daily basis. The dating scene often leaves us frustrated and paranoid, and unfortunately, society continues to gaslight women of color and insist these are simply “preferences, not fetishes.”
We’re here to tell you you’re not being paranoid! Here are some common red flags you can watch out for when dating, as well as some ways to respond. (Keep in mind that not everything on this list is automatically an indication of fetishim, and that there are varying degrees of severity.)
Read the rest here.