The Yellow Man and the Girl

Posted on Monday.4.27.2009



For about the last 10 years I have had this theory about Asian males and how we are looked at in American society. Basically my theory was that as a whole, us Asian males are not seen as desirable, sexy, or sought-after as our female counterparts. I would even go to say that even within our own race,  Asian women tend to find other races to be more attractive, more alpha, more manly. If there was a poll done asking women (of different races/ethnicities) to rank races/ethnicities of males in order of attractiveness, I would put a lot of money that the Asian male would be last. Asian females on the other hand…well you know how that goes. Some have agreed, some have disagreed, some have called me insecure, it’s just MY theory.

Part of this, is due to American history. In 1919, there was a film called Broken Blossoms (along with Birth of a Nation were probably the two most racist films ever), that perhaps started the perception of the stereotypical Asian man in America. He was a devious, evil, small, squinty-eyed, asexual male that wanted a (white) woman he couldn’t have. This film along with The Cheat were probably the two films that shaped who an Asian man was and has continued to be in America.

Now I’m not saying there’s been no progress, but some of the stereotypes and social constructs that have been put on us bring us to this place. We do now get roles in movies that are more positive, but are still relinquished to the stoner kid at high school who’s really smart, the guy who’s really into import cars, the chinese food chef, the doctor, the engineer, the piano or violin star. Daniel Dae Kim, of Lost, has one of the most progressive Asian male roles, partly because he’s playing an Asian (Korean) not an Asian-American, and will make some dent in the battle. We’re still a long way from alpha-Asian male protagonists and Asian male heroes. Is it really that there are absolutely NO attractive, manly Asian males or simply societal constructs that don’t value and appreciate Asian qualities in males?

The other day the OCRegister’s science blog posted a study done by UC Irvine, regarding this exact issue. The article argues that according to their research, there are indeed “racialized images of masculinity and femininity” in America. I thought I would not only bring this article to light, but write about my thoughts on the whole issue and subject. NOTE: if you scroll down to the bottom of the article, there are some fairly funny comments,  I recommend you read them.

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