Friday, March 31, 2017

TGIF FEATURE: Playboy - Dating sucks if you're an Asian dude or black woman

The calendar, Haikus on Hotties, was created to counter the Asian male stereotype.

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TEREOTYPES SUCK. An article in Playboy brought up that old, sad trope that Asian men are not desirable as romantic partners.


“We’re the product of a racist society,” Toronto-based matchmaker, Sofi Papamarko wrote in the Toronto Star recently, “and we’re going to have to work hard at being inclusive and open-minded in dating and in every other aspect of life if we’re set on making any progress at all.”


Papamarko, who operates one of the online dating sites that are so popular these days. Asian men, along with black women, she says in the Plalyboy article are the hardest ones for whom to find matches.

“When we see Asian men and black women having a harder time, part of it has to do with beauty standards and part of it has to do with the ways people are socialized to imagine how Asian men or black women behave inside and outside of relationships.”


This is pretty much old news. The only reasons to justify Playboy coming out with this  article this month is 1. that men's magazine might have seen the demographic data showing the growing diversity in the U.S, or 2. to boost the egos of its primarily white, male readership, (ie. Things may be bad but, thanks god I'm not Asian.)

However, it’s not just people on Papamarko's dating site who feel this way. The findings are pretty much the same as data taken from other dating sites. That doesn't mean that people are necessarily racist.

“Beauty is a cultural idea as much as a physical one, and the standard is of course set by the dominant culture,” writes OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder. In a 2013 poll, the website surveyed 25 million website visitors. The study came to the same conclusion as Papamarko.



Long Duk Dong was played by Gedde Watanabe
Unforunately, despite leading-man heart throbes James Shigeta, Bruce Lee, Daniel Dae Kim and Steven Yeun, the image that persists in American culture comes from Sixteen Candles. Yup, that sex-crazed nerd, Long Duk Dong. 


A small survey of 350 Asian American men from 2015 pretty much echoes these results. Nearly half of Asian men have heard someone say “I don’t date Asian men” in their presence and many reported this dating preference within their own ethnic or racial group: East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian. 

Another study at Columbia University tried to estimate how much men of different ethnic groups would need to earn to become as desirable to a woman as a man of her own race. With all other factors normalized, an Asian man would have to earn an additional $247,000 to stand on equal footing with his white counterpart. This statistic is less intimidating to a pediatric surgeon or venture capitalist than it is to, say, a freelance writer and part-time house-sitter.



Elliott Rodger and part of his journal.

Most recently, comedian Steve Harvey made a racist har-har joke based on the (in his view) the unattractiveness of Asian men. Harvey was mocking self-help books when he came across a title How to Date A White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men. He guffawed.  He found it laughable that a white woman could ever find Asian men attractive.

"That's one page, too!" he laughed at his own joke. "Excuse me, do you like Asian men? No. Thank you."

On the opposite end of the attraction scale were white men and Asian women, who are seen as more attractive dates. 

The role of media and pop-culture in shaping our concepts of beauty cannot be underestimated. From the time Renaissance artists began to reimagine Jesus in their own image to the time when David Carradine was picked over Bruce Lee to star in the Kung Fu TV series to the countless times when Asian men are not even considered for leading men roles in the movies and television. 

With that onslaught of propaganda that's so deeply ingrained into the American psyche, it is no wonder most Asian men in the U.S. are not seen as serious dating material. Getting over that self-hatred is like a rite of passage for Asian/American men. Some never dig themselves out of that hole and you end up with an Elliot Rodgers, who went on a killing spree.


“All of this centers on Eurocentric beauty standards, which privilege those who are white or are white adjacent in appearance—things like lighter skin, light colored eyes, thinner noses, certain jawline shapes,” Shantel Buggs, a PhD Candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, told the Toronto Star. 
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Oh, by the way, for you ladies ... and guys. Here's a link If you want a copy of, the  2017 Haikus on Hotties calendar at the top of this post. It was produce out by Dragonlady Productions.
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