ASIAN AMERICAN ISSUES
Are AA Women the Real Victims of Prejudice?
sian women get a free ride at the expense of Asian men. That's the received wisdom here in the U.S. This belief appears premised on the suspicion that American society sees Asian women as sexy exotics in need of rescuing from the cold clutches of Asian men who don't know how to smile except evilly.
Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 05:11:13 PM)
The real victim?
Credit Hollywood for its tireless casting of Asian women as sexual accessories to white heroes while suppressing the very existence of Asian men except as unsavory paper tigers. Credit too the TV networks that uncover bevies of talking Asian women but rarely their male counterparts.
In fairness this media fantasy of the Asian race was partly inspired by recent history. Devastated and impoverished Asian nations sent tens of thousands of war brides and orphans, followed by several million desperate immigrants willing to hock their identities while toiling to build new lives.
Male-dominated societies toast new women as exotic sexual prospects while suppressing new men as an exploitable lower class or even enemy aliens. The women get all the breaks and the men get all the lumps. Even worse, the women have their heads turned and adopt a scornful attitude toward their own men. So goes the complaint of some AA men.
The women have a different take. Sexual predators bearing insulting stereotypes must be fended off while coping with women who see them as unfair competitors. Add to that the pain of being scorned as sellouts by AA men for no more reason than their apparent welcome by American society. Worst of all, complain AA women, is being begrudged the right to take simple pleasure in their own identities. How much easier just to face straightforward racial prejudice!
Do Asian women really have an easier time in America? Or do they suffer from the double-whammy of insulting stereotypes from non-Asians and unfair persecution from Asian men?
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WHAT YOU SAY
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Jack is right. It is class and perceived wealth. Tanning meant that you were part of the leisure class. Tanning takes time, time not working.
The tall dark and hadsome comes from the Crusades as the mideast sun tanned the armies of western Knights.
Monday, April 07, 2003 at 14:22:41 (PDT)
I don't really like speaking in generalizations, because it's unfair. Everyone's experiences are different depending on your looks, personality, geographical location, and people you hang out with. As an AF, I don't think I have it any easier than the white, black, or latin female next door. Females and males both experience tough times. Some have better luck than others. I do know that if you're better looking, make alot of money, and/or famous, it will always be easier no matter what race you are. That's the way it is. Life will never be fair. If we understand this soon, we will get over trying to make it fair.
Sure, I suffer from stereotypes, but so does everyone else around me. So, what should I do? Squirm in a corner and cry wolf? I know my own assets and use them to the best of my ability. There are two choices in life - whine or prove yourself right. I would rather choose the latter.
Monday, January 27, 2003 at 08:28:15 (PST)
You speak the very painful truth. Thanks for writing an intelligent post, it sounds like you have made some ugly observations about our "colorblind" society.
I would add, though, that in addition to race and gender, there are two other very powerful factor affecting these dynamics: money and fame. Both of these factors seem to balance out any inequality a person may have, and give them more options than the limitations of their race or gender would initially suggest.
For the record, I'm an AAF who has no problem with anyone dating/marrying whoever they choose, however, I am really disgusted by those that deliberately diss their own, male or female. Do those that put down their own race realize they are contributing to all of the negative images and sterotypes others have of them?
I'm in my 30s, and when I read the bitter posts from AM who can't get a date, or the bragging posts from AF who think they're something special, I'm hoping these posters will grow up. Believe me, when you finally meet the right person, other people's dating lives suddenly become less interesting.
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 19:32:35 (PST)
To Just Observing:
Your post is easy to dissect.
Asian guys don't care if they get dark (heck, I know I don't), and White women like to get tans because they want to look darker and more ethnic. (Which I don't get by the way)
Asian women are taught to take care of their skin and not to tan, and most White guys don't care about their skin tone.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 18:43:08 (PST)
hmmm, I'm not really light skinned, but my chinese boy-friend is very white compared to me...so what?
is that wrong???
As Latina I dont think skin color matters at all for having a healthy relationship....he loves me and I love him, so what??? He didnt choose me for my skin or my race, we just fell for each other....that's it...
Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 16:45:17 (PST)
What a dumb post you have.
It's people like you who say that they're open to interracial relationships b/c they are "color-blind" and then will turn around and note the difference in color between couples. Senseless.....
I agree. That's why you see mainly White people going to the tanning salons and buying up all the self-tanners off the shelves.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 14:41:18 (PST)
The preference didn't begin with simply color.
It began with class.
Women of the upper hierarchy did not have to work in the fields, thereby rarely exposing themselves to the sun.
Female workers belonging to the lower class however, were exposed to the sun and their look was consequently depicted as less desirable.
With class, we align the level of beauty.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 20:04:36 (PST)
"My impression (and this is where unconscious bias comes in) is that light female skin evokes a subset of erotic feelings that have proven to be adaptive in a wide range of world cultures"
I think this is why AF/WM couplings seem to be displaced or somehow against the grain. No matter how many times it's seen in public or in the movies/TV. There's something wrong with that picture because of the difference in skin tones you mentioned. Whereas I notice how AM/WF seem to go well together as the WF is just slightly lighter than her AM partner. Makes for a pleasing picture.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 14:51:45 (PST)
Usually light skin denoted wealth and status, because individuals with lighter skins meant that they did not have to work under the sun.
This is an elegant explanation. Since in the modern world everyone works indoor. Only those that can afford to go on long vacations in sunny area, will get darker. Hence, you see all these tanning salons popping up to make people darker.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 14:26:50 (PST)
To Proud 2 b Azn:
Life is getting interesting when a total stranger I've never seen identifies me as a "Nordic" (my father actually had black hair and a rather dark complexion). It's even more interesting to see people discussing a study that I and Pierre van den Berghe did a long time ago ("Skin color preference, sexual dimorphism, and sexual selection: A case of gene-culture co-evolution?", Ethnic and Racial Studies 9:87-113, 1986).
Our study found that traditional societies throughout the world prefer women to be lighter-complexioned than men. This finding is not terribly surprising, no more so than the expectation that women should be shorter than men or have smoother skin. In general, female skin has less melanin and blood, i.e., women are paler; men, browner and ruddier. This sex difference seems to be less pronounced in very dark and very light populations (because of "floor" and "ceiling" effects). But even among sub-Saharan Africans, the ideal woman is usually described as being "red" or "yellow."
This expectation that women should be lighter-skinned is attested long before the era of European imperialism. One only has to look at ancient paintings from Egypt, Greece, China, and Mexico.
None of this means, of course, that lighter-colored skin is sexier or more erotic. Eroticism covers a lot of very different visual/situational stimuli. Some people are sexually aroused by the idea of being eaten alive. Such eroticism, however, has a low survival value. People who indulge in it will live short lives and leave few descendants.
My impression (and this is where unconscious bias comes in) is that light female skin evokes a subset of erotic feelings that have proven to be adaptive in a wide range of world cultures. Why this is so, and whether it really matters today, is another question. I suspect that lightness of complexion, like smoothness of skin texture, is a neotenous (childlike) characteristic that reduces aggressive feelings in men and stimulates feelings of care and nurturance, thus strengthening sexual and family bonds.
But that is just my biased opinion.
P.S. For what it's worth, we didn't collect our data. We used the Human Relations Area Files (a database of information collected by other anthropologists).
Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 11:04:17 (PST)
You wrongly assume that it's all peaches and cream for AFs. As an AF, I've also been told to "go back to (my) country". And this was from White guys.
Hate sees no difference.
This is what we AFs have to deal with everday of our lives:
Non-Asian guys pigeon holing us into one of two categories: we're either bookworms, or sexpots.
Non-Asian women pegging us into one of two categories: we're either nerdy pushovers, or sexpots out to take their men.
An AM's struggle against racism and stereotype doesn't veer far from an AF's.
there r greener pastures:
My girlfriends and I here in L.A. have never felt that AM's had to "prove" their "worthiness". If you don't know already, Asian Pride is rampant on the West Coast. :)
Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 08:39:24 (PST)
you said it man. i live in SW houston, right next to sugarland. my sis's friend told her even now, from the time when he was still attending clemets high school(located in sugarland) back in the days(he's around 21 now), there have always been tension between asian and whites. its not big big tension but there're fights here and there. most attacks are targeted at the asian male. i'm not sayin there aren't good people in sugarland, becasue there are. its just that asian females are more accepted then AM.
my friends and i have been a target back in our high school days. it was a saturday night, we were leavin first colony mall, about to walk through the field to the movie theater, when 2 white males who were way larger then us, drove by us real fast as one of them screamed out "go back to your country!" we were pissed, but what can we do? those punks sped off. but, thats just one of our experience.
ride-ah, reading your post made me wonder would they have said that to us if my friends and i were females?
if only you asian females could spend a day in our shoes. you would be shocked.
Friday, January 10, 2003 at 00:48:29 (PST)
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