When I was in my second year of university, a stranger approached a friend and me on the streets of Melbourne, asking to photograph us for his website about interracial couples. A little taken aback, we told him we weren’t together but had friends that might fit the bill. He went on to explain that many of his friends were Asian men who thought Anglo-Australian women just weren’t interested in dating them. His website was his way of showing this wasn’t true. After a fittingly awkward goodbye, I never saw that man or, concerningly, his website again, but the unusual encounter stayed with me. It was the first time someone had given voice to an insecurity I held but had never felt comfortable communicating. Get our newsletter for the best of ABC Life each week.
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Written by Andrew Kung. All opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. Beauty is a new section of CNN Style. I always knew that, as an Asian American man growing up in the United States, I wasn’t as desirable or “American” as my peers. As a kid, I never saw Asian men dating outside of our race, or with white women especially. Non-Asian women felt inaccessible, fueling a preexisting feeling of invisibility — one driven by micro-aggressions, a lack of representation and, ultimately, stereotypes that painted us as passive, emasculated boys lacking sex appeal and a voice.
When I think of what it means to be “all-American,” I imagine a prototypical white male — physically well-built, outgoing, charismatic, liked by everyone. This traditionally masculine person represents the ideal man reinforced by what we see on TV, in movies and across the broader mainstream.
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In a speed-dating study conducted at Columbia University in , Asian men also had the most difficulty getting a second date. My parents grew up financially unstable in China. They look back at it and laugh now, but my mother recalls having to share one bowl of rice for dinner with all her siblings. Whenever the rice got too low in the bowl, they would add water to make the illusion that there was more food.
Everything I want, I get on my own. Like my mother, I am resilient and I am a go-getter.
As a kid, I never saw Asian men dating outside of our race, or with white person represents the ideal man reinforced by what we see on TV.
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Should only Asians be allowed in? How does having white partners affect Asian spaces? Are East Asians too dominant? Though I missed out on the Asian Avenue craze during the s, I do remember the popularity of that site. Xanga filled a similar need as well. Then throughout the s, Asians worldwide mostly met up in the outposts of forums, all disconnected from each other.
This racial dating behavior on OkCupid actually trended worse for Asian men over a 6 year time frame. Now, I know what you’re thinking.
By Madelyn Chung May 27, But it was also partially about me. During my teens and early 20s, I was vehemently against dating Asian guys. When friends tried to pair me up with the one Chinese guy in elementary school, as if we were meant to be because I was the only Chinese girl, I quickly became annoyed. I scoffed and walked away, irritated at the unspoken expectation that I should to stick to my own race.
Now, I can see that I was surrounded by many, many problematic messages about the desirability of Asian men or lack thereof , which in turn led me to believe that they were socially awkward, passive, unattractive—and therefore not dateable. But I also thought being paired with an Asian guy would make me seem more Asian, which I definitely did not want. Being with a white guy felt like stepping stone to being less different, or like it would make me more like the white girls I wanted to be like.
Then, of course, Hollywood and pop culture reinforced this idea.
The challenges of dating as an Asian-Australian man
She seemed to really like the fact that I was Asian. She grew up watching K-pop, and said she would always think, Asian guys were so cute. The “cute” had the tone one would use when describing a baby. I joined and saw thousands of Asian men and black women engaging in a rich cultural exchange. They were posting photos of themselves, discussing social justice, sharing viral videos. Some of them advertised real life meet-ups and dating events.
Subscriber Account active since. Abe Kim downloaded TikTok one month ago, but his content has already racked up over 2 million likes and his account has accrued nearly , followers. The model and college junior recently achieved viral fame for a video he posted addressing an issue he faces in his dating life in California.
In the tongue-in-cheek video, the college student lies on a bed, spotting Totoro-themed objects around an unfamiliar room “My Neighbor Totoro” is a Japanese animated fantasy movie with an enthusiastic and dedicated fandom. The TikTok video immediately received thousands of comments — from people who could relate to the experience of fetishization, defined as making someone the subject of a sexual obsession, to those defending their love of “Totoro.
Kim told Insider that reading the comments on the video sparked had been an “interesting experience,” and despite some of the critical comments, he stands by the point he was making in the video. Link in bio. Kim says that he’d tried to have conversations with his friends about his experiences with racism in dating — from feeling objectified to being outright rejected because of his race.