Asian girl / Zheng Shi / Pixabay.com
If you’re reasonably in touch with the world, you may have noticed the rising sensation of KPOP, the rampant popularity of anime and manga, and, if one frequents porn websites (because – surprise – many women do) the racial tags on certain videos.
In the modern day, the fetish for Asian women manifests in gratuitous close-ups of female characters’ breasts and legs in many anime series. These frequent shots have been dubbed ‘fanservice,’ a tactic to titillate the predominantly male audience.
It manifests in the feminine, almost child-like styling of female KPOP artists, many of whom were teenagers when they first entered the industry that has millions of viewers, of all ages, from all countries.
It manifests in the popularity of porn featuring Asian women (‘Japanese,’ ‘Korean,’ ‘Chinese’ and ‘anime’ all rose in popularity in 2018, with ‘hentai’ being the second most popular search) and the stereotype that Asian women are ‘tighter’ and/or more compliant than others.
Most blatantly, it manifests when someone tells you outright that they like Asian girls.
And no, it’s not flattering.
It’s not flattering because I don’t like to be reduced to my race. I don't think much of people who insist on proclaiming that they find women of my culture attractive, because I could probably be replaced with another Asian woman and wouldn’t be missed (“you all look the same”).
One of the biggest issues with the Asian fetish is that it sexually objectifies women based on pure cosmetics.
It’s laughable that anyone could mistake it for an interest in one’s culture when most of the people who fetishise Asian women couldn’t tell the difference between Japanese and Mandarin if they heard it. Could they distinguish between a kimono and a qipao? Do they even know when and for what they’re worn?
The truth is, fetishisation has nothing to do with the nuances of culture. It’s a generic attraction to the phenotypes associated with East Asian women – like brown eyes, pale skin and sleek black hair – and the reductive ways in which women of Asian descent are often potrayed. That attraction comes from the misleading stereotypes around Asian women.
We’re thought to be shy, demure, submissive, petite and feminine. Asian women have been a canvas for men’s sexual fantasies since the Silk Road started, to the American occupation of Japan in WWII, right up until 2019 where countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia remain popular destinations for sex tourism.
It’s not a new thing, and it’s not a coincidental ‘preference’ that so many people happen to have. We need to acknowledge that these ‘preferences’ are products of colonialism and white supremacy, and they are making Asian communities more vulnerable to sex trafficking and sex tourism in the effort to satiate the global appetite for Asian women.
Additionally, the Asian fetish directly overlooks South Asians or Asians with dark skin, thick eyebrows and natural body hair. It’s an example of idealised, white-washed beauty standards. As a result, skin bleaching products, wires that supposedly crease one’s mono-lids into double eyelids and plastic surgery have become popular in Asia.
The type of Asian girl that is likely to be on the receiving end of the fetish is beautiful, but in no way representative of what the rest of our massive continent looks like. Asia stretches from Japan to India to Turkey, and the native phenotypes of women change from person to person, family to family, country to country.
I will never be flattered by someone with a white-washed, sexually-motivated and deeply harmful beauty standard that I happen to reach.Support Villainesse