I’m gonna start this post with the exercise Stephanie Foo presents to the hosts of Reply All. Google Image search “____ girl” (fill in whatever example you would like, she gave the example of Jewish). Now, Google Image search “Asian girl”. Welcome to the internet’s perception of being female and Asian. We are sexy doe-eyed field nymphs in bikinis, and that’s about it.
This week on Reply All, Stephanie Foo brought us an insane story about a man who collects Asian girlfriends. Literally. He gathers as many as he can, lies to them all, lets it eventually implode, and then he starts all over again collecting Asian girlfriends. This is an extreme case, but I cannot tell you how sick to my stomach I got while listening. I actually wondered where this man is now, and if I was ever unknowingly one of his victims.
It’s a weird thing we have to navigate, being an Asian woman while internet dating, or even dating in general. We have to build up a particular sixth sense to sniff out who is actually interested in us as humans, and who just sees us as personal Barbie dolls. I have a plethora of reasons why I am not enthused about dating again, but this undoubtedly is a big one. Some may think it’s not that big a deal, and some may even complain that this is some sort of twisted humblebrag. But a lot of us who just happen to be Asian have had to build up defenses just to navigate this world that sees us as both more than and less than human. We have cues that become red flags, we have questions we ask that seem strange. We are essentially yellow fever detectives who have to look out for one another. This makes me both incredibly sad and angry. Yup, not jumping back into that pool anytime soon. Maybe I’ll take up a life of being single by choice.