Stereotypes are awesome if I get prezzies!

So there was Jenny An’s article about how she won’t date Asian men (or so she says) because she’s racist. As I said earlier, while I didn’t think An’s article was genius and I found her follow-up “Just kidding!” extremely lame, I didn’t really have a problem with the piece. At least she’s aware of her issues. Now there’s a new article at xoJane entitled “I am an Asian Woman and I Think Asian Boyfriends Are Superior (Well, Mine Is Anyway).”

Here we go again.

This new piece seems to have little self-awareness and is full of contradictions. For instance, in her second paragraph, the author writes:

According to the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men make the most money –- making $901 in median weekly earnings. Hard-working, humble, unwavering loyal to the family? Sounds like a recipe for success. Why the hell would you say no to that?

Then in the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH, she says:

I was sick of the conservative attitudes that seemingly plagued my predominantly Asian community in southern California. Everyone seemed to be set on being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or getting placed in some prestigious business school. Seriously, my parents literally cried when they learned I gave up a scholarship for pharmacy school to pursue journalism as a career.

So an upside to Asian men is that they make more money, but the author hates the “conservative attitudes” that pressure Asians into becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., ie. money-makers? She goes on:

I was hesitant to date someone of my own race — and not to mention that Asian men in my community seemed boring and had a tendency to be socially awkward.

But then I dated one — and have never looked back. He’s the epitome of an Asian man stereotype and proud: pre-med, good at math, Ivy League hopeful, obedient towards parents, grade-centric and not much of a partier.

At first I didn’t want to Asian guys because of one stereotype, not I want to date them because of another stereotype! And again, while the author hates feeling pressure HERSELF to become a pharmacist or whatever, it’s super-awesome that her boyfriend wants to be a doctor and fits all the stereotypes she herself hates??? While she rebels against her parents, she wants a boyfriend who’s “obedient toward parents”? Huh, what?

Next the author breaks down the reasons why dating an Asian guy is awesome:

  • he’s good at math
  • he’s a hard worker
  • he’ll be rich
  • he’s loyal (“divorce still carries a huge stigma in the Asian culture”)
  • “He’s not an arrogant douchebag”
  • “He bombards me with gifts and food”
  • “He keeps me fit.”

Okay. These are not bad things. They sound like great things. But then she substantiates each with the claim that these are inherently Asian qualities.


I’ve known plenty arrogant douchebags who were Asian. I’ve known people who are not Asian who were, guess what, good at math, hard-working, loyal, and fit.

And what’s with the focus on material stuff? Again, it seems the author wants to be able to rebel and be a low-paying journalist AND have boyfriend who is a rich professional who will give her lots of prezzies? And how is divorce still having a huge stigma in Asian culture a good thing? To me, it meant an extra year of a miserable marriage.

This article pissed me off a million times more than the An article (which actually didn’t piss me off at all), and it’s not because I think Asian guys are the worst or something. I’m a race doesn’t matter kind of gal. But to equate these positive qualities with being Asian, and to not even be aware that the qualities the author despises for herself are the VERY ONES SHE THINKS ARE AWESOME IN A BOYFRIEND is what drives me up the fucking wall.


  1. I hated that article too, it sounded so self-righteous and yes, as you pointed out, inconsistent. I feel like the boyfriend is being used badly and getting a bad deal out of it. Not that we know everything about then, not that doctors need to be with doctors or other high-paying professionals or anything. I feel like she’s trying to hop onto the “Asian couples are the trend” wagon with this article but I hated her execution and (I’m conservative), I hated the last line. He is what he is and, yes, the qualities aren’t only Asian. I don’t think you can have a lasting relationship with someone with his steady qualities without coming around yourself on your own values so either she’s blowing hot air about being the totally hip and cool and party and all and is really his match in steadiness at home or it could just be a thus-far short relationship that she’s gloating about. Grrr…makes me want to write my own response article!

    • You should write one! :) Yes, I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of the piece. If the author were aware of her hypocrisy – “I hate being forced to conform to Asian stereotypes, but I love a guy who’s stereotypically Asian” – that actually might have been a more interesting and honest article. And providing statistics and references for the stereotypes doesn’t make them any more true. For every statistic she provides, I can provide multiple personal experiences to the contrary. As for her relationship with her boyfriend, you’re right that we don’t know everything about them, nor do we know if this is actually how she feels, or if it’s all just for the point of her article. However, she has succeeded in reducing her BF to a stereotype, and I wonder how other Asian men feel about being told they are awesome because of these particular qualities and not others. If I were told I’m awesome because I’m Asian, who’s not to say that I’m not interchangeable with another Asian woman? If not this Asian woman, or man, why not another? What’s the difference?