In the year 2000 the US Census Bureau recorded that in the United States there are 281,421,906 single people and out of that 10,242,998 are Asians. It is now eight years later and you still see dating ads (whether it be an online dating service or a phone service) cluttered on the broadcast airwaves and the Internet. In the year 2000 the US Census Bureau recorded that in the United States there are 281,421,906 single people and out of that 10,242,998 are Asians. It is now eight years later and you still see dating ads (whether it be an online dating service or a phone service) cluttered on the broadcast airwaves and the Internet. There are still a great number of singles out there, and by that meaning, not married. So imagine this, you are at a bar and you quickly scan the room. You see a plethora of individuals in all shapes and sizes, but then someone catches your eye and piques your interest. How that happened is that we all have a set of preferences that we adhere to when we choose who to interact with. There could be a long list or a short list of factors but none more interesting to examine than stereotypes.
You may say to yourself, wait a second, I definitely don’t have any stereotypes and if I did, well that wouldn’t even come up for me! But consider that stereotypes are just a way of representing and judging others based on limited or minimal information about a group. Like it or not, stereotypes may have an effect on who you choose to date, have a romantic relationship, have sex, and possibly marry.
I was recently confronted with this when a co-worker casually asked me if I only dated Asian men.
I was recently confronted with this when a co-worker casually asked me if I only dated Asian men. I was stumped for a moment because I hadn’t really thought about this before. A part of me was thinking, I’m not attracted to white, black, or Hispanic men because they look generic to me. Obviously, in reality this is not the case, the same way that not every Asian looks similar or that we are all related. In that moment, I was creating a stereotype for all men who weren’t Asian. This was a result of me only considering the surface features of these groups of men.
Meanwhile, my reasons were simple for only dating Asian guys: having similar backgrounds, culture, morals, values, traditions, and upbringing is important. Perhaps it is also the comfort of being attracted to someone who looked more like me than not. But these are just reasons, it’s not wrong or right, not good or bad, just a set of preferences.
It is easy to believe that my stereotypes of non-Asian men and Asian men are real. I can take one detail that is true and use that as a base for the entire group. In this instance all Asian men are similar to me meaning “good” and non-Asian men who are not are “bad”. On the other hand, individuals can say that having Asian men who are like them are bad because it becomes boring and that having the variety of a non-Asian partner is good. Clearly preferences are subjective. Having these stereotypes can severely limit our options because it is unlikely that these others outside of our preferences are even considered.
Here are some stereotypes noted from a small survey I conducted involving westernized (American and Canadian) Asians. The questions posed were what stereotypes came to mind of various Asian ethnicities in the realm of dating, relationships, and sex.
- Chinese women are the most conservative and inexperienced in sex among all Asian ethnicities.
- Japanese women, though seen as submissive to their male counterparts are the most wild and adventurous in the bedroom.
- Korean women are high maintenance in a relationship but there are contrasting views on whether they are submissive in the bedroom or wildly uninhibited. There were generally equal respondents who noted both.
- Filipino women are highly sexual, even using sex as a weapon.
- Chinese males are more effeminate and inexperienced in sex.
- Japanese men have a large sexual appetite and are dominating over their women in sex.
- Korean males are aggressive in their relationships and are not shy in approaching women.
- Filipino males are effeminate.
This survey was conducted to only a small group of respondents (23 in fact) and was meant to show what kind of stereotypes people held in regard to various Asian ethnicities. The questions were very basic and were meant to have the respondents write out their own responses without preset multiple choice answers. Therefore, individuals were given the freedom to think about their views and not just pick an answer that seemed to fit. They are also given the opportunity to express no views on that particular group of people.
Stereotypes exist in the world because it is human nature to judge or be judged. We constantly relate to our world by what we prefer and what we don’t prefer.
The stereotypes above are not reality. Take for example, Chinese and Filipino males are viewed as more effeminate. According to Dictionary.com the word effeminate means “(of a man or boy) having traits, tastes, habits, etc., traditionally considered feminine, as softness or delicacy.” But the standards for femininity vary from person to person, culture to culture, and place to place. What constitutes a habit, trait, or taste is even debatable. Filipino women are viewed as being highly sexual. Does that mean that they just like to have a lot of sex? Or is sex with them more intense? Perhaps they are open trying various sexual acts. The vagueness of this description shows two things: first it must be vague enough to encompass the entire Filipino female population and secondly how can this stereotype not be vague when it is born from limited information about this group.
The adjectives used in these stereotypes are subjective; such as conservative, inexperienced, submissive, high maintenance, aggressive, dominating, wild and adventurous. The moment you read those words, you immediately use your stereotype in order to judge the word in context to the individual ethnicities.
Stereotypes exist in the world because it is human nature to judge or be judged. We constantly relate to our world by what we prefer and what we don’t prefer. Having small amounts of information and using it in how we interact with people sounds premature and judgmental but it happens all the time. Not everyone uses stereotypes as a factor with whom they are dating or having a relationship with, yet undeniably it exists in some form or the other. Maybe we’ll see it in the kind of friends we have, who we sit next too on the bus, where we go to eat, which neighborhood we live in, or even which side of the street we walk on. Next time you decide to date or not date someone ask yourself if your decision is based on some preconceived notion of the person based on their ethnicity. In the end each individual is unique to themselves and even if they may fit into some clear cut category they are human beings and capable of limitless possibilities.