Friday, June 27, 2008
On Asian Male Stereotypes
A friend just posted a link to this video which seems to have taken off on Youtube, and I can see why. It's an appealing homemade take on a question that constantly gets raised in 'Asian' forums. There seems to be two main responses to the issue of why Asian girls 'prefer' white guys: anger, or humour.
It took me ages to understand just what my guy friends were getting so het up about. Surely it was an overreaction to what is, after all, a matter of personal choice? But then after talking to a few of my friends I realised that it went deeper than that. It's not about Asian or white girls, romance, or even about rivalry. It's about identity and self esteem.
I mean, being an 'Asian chick' has its drawbacks for sure - the whole stereotype of being both innocent and good in bed. (arggh! what kind of sense does that make?) But at least those are, in the warped way of the world, seen as 'desirable' qualities. Whereas Asian men have had to put up for years with the (untrue)stereotype of being weak, nerdy, and small where it counts. This is simplifying things, of course - it's just the tip of the iceberG, and as anyone who has read my poetry will know, I tend to get a bit pissed off whenever people make assumptions based purely on appearance..... rah, rah. Anyway, back to Asian guys - no wonder they get defensive and angry and unsure of themselves.
Disclaimer: I realise I'm wading into very deep water here and risk getting shot down by someone who takes what I'm saying the wrong way. So I'll say that this is NOT a blanket statement, it's just a general comment, and I know quite a few Asian guys dating non-Asian girls...and there are definitely some Asian guys I find hot. And yes, I further agree that not all Asians can be lumped together and that it's derogatory to refer to girls as chicks....but I'm ditching PC in favour of clarity on this post. Happy?
Anyway, where I'm going with all this is that after having these conversations with my friends, and realising belatedly what they had been dealing with, I wanted to write something about it. This was one of the seeds of Lantern.
So, in answer to the video, I thought I'd post a section of dialogue from Lantern which segues into this whole discussion. BTW, this is the only bit of the play where I indulge in dick jokes.....
JEN: yeah, parents….just the whole Confucian thing, you know? Like my dad. We weren’t even allowed to argue, he’d just tell us he was right, just because he was my dad. My mum used to make us listen to him, how ironic is that?
STEVE: Saving face? (handing her a plate)
JEN: Yeah. Thanks, I’m getting full.
STEVE: But it wasn’t easy for him either, was it?
STEVE: Well, being a yellow guy.
JEN: What do you mean?
STEVE: To have people look at you and assume that not only are you weak, but you also have less balls, in fact that your whole – apparatus is undersized.
JEN: So what? It’s not size that matters. It’s techn-
STEVE: You’re missing the point. The point is that we don’t have small dicks at all –
JEN: Hey I didn’t –
STEVE: - that’s just in people’s minds! Some of us are actually quite large –
JEN: Whatever –
STEVE: Anyway, we fit the normal distribution of – of, you know, and we’re not weak, and just because we’re not hairy doesn’t mean that we –
JEN: - can’t act like cavemen when the occasion demands?
STEVE: Okay, yeah, point taken.
Pause. They stare at each other.