I recently stumbled across this article on the Telegraph online talking about “Yellow fever” and was absolutely appalled by the content. For those of you not familiar with the term, “Yellow fever” is basically a sexual fetish where men prefer women from East Asia (Japan, Korea, China…etc.etc). I admit that the fetish exists and that there are a few websites that cater to people who are “afflicted”. It’s really annoying because I worry that my boyfriend might get labelled as a creep just because I’m from Korea but I always make sure that people hear me speak. I’m pretty loud, really British accent, you can’t miss me easily – especially with my platinum bleach blonde hair that I’m rocking at the moment!
Not tooting my own horn here but I have been stopped in the street by random strangers who want to know me simply because I’m Asian. I do feel offended and uncomfortable that people I don’t know are thinking of me in that way but to be honest, its a problem with all men and not just those that are into Asians. There are plenty of girls that aren’t Asian that suffer casual sexism every day just because they look a certain way so I don’t feel unique in my position.
As a result, the author of this article has come to the conclusion that because of this hyper sexualisation of Asian women, we are not being represented properly in politics or popular culture.
I disagree with this since the South Korean president, for a start, is female. If asian women aren’t being represented properly, it is their own countries that are failing them. Here in the UK, I don’t feel that I am at any disadvantage or advantage by being an Asian female. This is because I watch Lost, JPod, Harold and Kumar, The Walking Dead, Marvel’s Agents of Shield…etc. in which the actors and actresses don’t play to the typical stereotype at all and are well written and important characters.
In fact, the opinion that Asian females only get certain roles is quite dated. Films from about 5-10 years ago, of course they were a bit racist. Memoirs of a Geisha was written by an American author in 1997; clearly Arthur Golden loved Japan and its culture but in terms of the storyline and context, much of it was made up. Look at all those Kung Fu movies! It isn’t REAL Kung fu! Many people only think of these films and books because for a lot of people, this was the first time they were exposed to Asian culture.
MOVING ON from Kung Fu movies, Hollywood and TV have embraced Asian actors and actresses in a variety of different roles. Also, you have to think of the initial language barrier. It isn’t hard to imagine that immigrant Actors and Actresses will have a hard time getting a job if they have a strong accent or are only able to fill certain roles. Now that we have such a strong population of Asians that have grown up in English speaking countries such as the UK or USA, more and more opportunities are opening up because we are now part of the fabric of society.
To say that we aren’t represented in the media or politics is fundamentally wrong because there are so many examples of Asian women in powerful positions right now and it’s only going to improve over time. Margaret Cho, Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs….I could go on and on and on.
We need to be realistic about what we can and can’t achieve. Yes, we will always look a certain way, but individuals certainly aren’t the same cookie cutter personality and whining about it makes us look lazy. Get off your ass and be somebody if you want to be someone!