I’m An Asian Woman And I Think Blog Posts Defining That Identity By Who Someone Like Me Would Or Wouldn’t Date Are Bullshit

September 26th, 2012 | 16 comments | Posted by Jen

Is there a worthwhile discussion to be had about interracial dating and relationships?

The answer seems to be no, if you’ve paid any attention to posts written on the subject that have been blowing up my little patch of the Internet lately. Of course I’m referring to “I’m An Asian Woman And I Refuse To Ever Date An Asian Man” by Jenny An, and the clickbait-y response to An’s clickbait-y call, “I Am An Asian Woman And I Think Asian Boyfriends Are Superior (Well, Mine Is Anyway),” by Clarissa Wei, both published on xojane, a site to which I’ve contributed.

Simply put: I’m An Asian Woman And I Think This Conversation Sucks.

First things first. I don’t give a fuck who these women fuck or, really, what any woman chooses to do with her own vagina. Because it’s her own vagina, get it? And because it’s her own vagina, she doesn’t need to justify what she does with it. It should go without saying that a woman can do whatever she wants with her own body. But when she feels the need to explain why she does what she does with it, which is what these posts boil down to for me, she’s just playing into this very old and very male idea that a woman needs to justify what she does with her own body because, ultimately, she doesn’t have authority over, I repeat, her own body. Sound familiar? It should (see: “the war on women”).

The other problem with these posts is that they put race and gender at odds with one another, like they have this mutually exclusive relationship, and you have to choose one or the other to have some kind of cohesive identity. If you believe An’s argument–which she later backpedaled on, calling it “a character” designed to provoke discussion–as an Asian woman, in order to reject “patriarchy and cultural sexism,” you have to be a racist dick and hate your people. And if you believe Wei’s argument, which asserts that Asian boyfriends are the best because they make “a lot” of money, shower their girlfriends with gifts, and point out when you’ve gained weight…wait, what? Pause for station identification:

He helps me keep fit. Being fat is not okay in a stereotypically Asian community. My boyfriend works out to stay fit and frequents the gym on a daily basis. And when I’m packing on the pounds, he notices.”

So, like I was saying, if you believe Wei’s argument, as an Asian woman, in order to love your people and not be a racist dick, you have to morph into some kind of pre-feminist, rich husband-chaser who’s totally okay with her man telling her what’s wrong with, I repeat, her own body. (It should be noted that Wei, in the pictures accompanying her post, looks thin and quite improbable as someone who would “pack on the pounds,” which makes her argument even sadder.)

The idea that you have to be racist to throw off sexual oppression or sexist to throw off racial oppression–but that you can’t fight both at the same time–is a very old and very stupid one propagated by–you guessed it!–racists and sexists. As a wise woman of multiple identities once said, “I simply do not believe that one aspect of myself can possibly profit from the oppression of my other part of my identity.”

What concerns me the most at the end of the day is that these discussions about race and gender–happening on a women’s site, no less–are discussions initiated by women that are, nevertheless, discussions being had on other people’s terms. And using the language of men, racists, and sexists is no way for Asian women, women of color, or any women for that matter, to define themselves.

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16 Responses to “I’m An Asian Woman And I Think Blog Posts Defining That Identity By Who Someone Like Me Would Or Wouldn’t Date Are Bullshit”

  1. trybeingfairforonce says:

    Give Clarissa Wei a break. Please for dignity’s sake. She was just giving a vote of confidence to Asian dudes out there…

  2. BenEE says:

    The first thing that I noticed about both articles is how utterly immature both women seem to be. If their writing is anything to go by, then I would have to say that their thought processes are childlike and, frankly, embarrassing for adults with advanced college degrees. But it is not just these two women. Peruse these articles and you might notice the same dizzy immaturity….




    I find this childishness to be completely annoying and wonder why it is that people with the thought processes of pre-adolescents always seem to be the ones who take it upon themselves to write on the Asian-American experience.

    Which brings me to my second point; does anyone think it problematic that for all the issues that Asian-Americans face (endemic racial baiting and abuse of Asian children in America’s schools for a good example) the one subject that Asian-Americans (women mostly – I hate to notice but I would be happy to be shown to be wrong on this)are given the most mainstream press is the ridiculous and juvenile “issue” of who to date.

    In and of itself this could be viewed as mainstream society limiting the scope of the Asian voice. It is disturbing to me that an Asian-American would be given an opportunity to write may choose to write about serious Asian-American issues but instead would write about their own minor “dating issues”.

    And this is issue number three. This article seems to be saying that there is a dichotomy that these Asian women were offered, but the fact is that none of the women who wrote these articles were forced to do so. I think that it is a stretch to claim that either of these women are, somehow, victims of circumstance. It was entirely their own choice – the fact that they wrote mostly inane trash is not the fault of racists or sexists but is their own. They just don’t have much to say.

    Finally, it should be noted that no other minority of colour is given so much mainstream media space to wax poetic about their own dysfunction. We would struggle to find many examples of a black woman or man being given so many opportunities to write about how shitty Asian people and cultures are – because that would be racist.

  3. Snake Stabler says:

    Both of their arguments are horribly flawed. But hey, we live in a free country, so engage in whatever relationships that makes one happy. And I don’t really understand why there are people out there that finds a reason to justify the relationship they are in. If they are happy, then why does it matter what others think?

  4. Joseph says:

    I think people should date someone who they are happy to be around and who respects and loves them as a unique individual. But I guess I’m just new-fashioned.

  5. [...] Defining That Identity By Who Someone Like Me Would Or Wouldn’t Date Are Bullshit,” at Disgrasian Tagged with: Clarissa Wei • Clickbait • Jenny An • Vagina • XO Jane  [...]

  6. e. leigh says:

    THANK YOU. This was a cathartic read after having been ruffled by the two xojane articles.

    I took major issue with both xojane articles, which did NOT AT ALL resonate with me, an Asian Am woman who has been in relationships with non-Asians and is now in a serious relationship with a progressive, somewhat “feminist” Asian American man who defies a number of stupid stereotypes.

    The only goodness I squeezed out of the xojane fiasco is that I was glad for (1) my non-sexist/non-racist interracial relationship (because whereas he and I can be classified under the same “race” phenotypically, we are ethnically and culturally interracial, folks) and (2) the fact that I don’t have to spew bullshit on the Internet to draw attention to my writing.

    I’m glad you don’t either. Remind me to buy you a stiff drink if we cross paths.

  7. saysomething980 says:

    The two articles sound to me like they’re supposed to be tongue in cheek.. caricaturing certain attitudes that some women have. I don’t think they’re trying to make logical arguments because that’s not what the women they represent do. I agree that it shouldn’t matter who anyone dates but I don’t think those articles were meant to generate discussion about that specifically. I think they’re supposed to generate discussion about how the thought process behind these characters develop and the greater social structures that reproduce those ways of thinking. Maybe it was poorly executed but it sounds like they were trying to go for something similar to what you’d read in the Onion.

  8. eddgie says:

    I do notice that chunk of asians like to talk loudly about their issues while a number of asians like to tell them to shut-up. I for one liked the fact Jenny An came out with her self-professed, but not for a minute believable, satire. It is my opinion that she believes what she says but has resigned to the fact that her internalized racism is so ingrained into her psyche she is incapable of parting with it.

    You have the illusion of free thought and thus free choice, which you do not. At this stage in our collective Asian history (in the context racial identity), who asians choose to and choose not to date, have sex with or marry form how asians overall are viewed by everyone.

    Sorry to break it to you, but in the still very racialized global society, where racial preference, social hierarchy, white hegemony and the acceptance of the western beauty standard is essentially the rule, your choice of romantic partners will inevitably form a large part of your social identity. Doesn’t matter how loud you shout to argue the contrary.

  9. Jen says:

    @e.leigh YES, please, to the stiff drink!

  10. Jen says:

    @eddgie And I’m sorry to break it to you, but “who asians choose to and choose not to date, have sex with or marry form how asians overall are viewed by”…Asians, almost exclusively. Who else do you think is actually talking about this? Who else is publishing the majority of blog posts and newspaper articles about this?

    My point is there’s a disproportionate focus on this one issue. You may not agree with that point, but the facts do, no matter how much you gild your argument with Cultural Studies 101 terms to the contrary.

    In 2010, 28% of Asian American newlyweds married a non-Asian spouse [link]. In other words, not even a third of Asian Americans are currently marrying outside of the race. The fact is, historically and still to this day, the majority of Asian Americans across both genders marry (and presumably date) other Asian Americans. And between 2008 and 2010, the percentage of Asians born in the United States who married outside of their race actually declined [link]. But you’d never guess interracial dating and marriage in the Asian American community is something that does not and has never affected the majority of Asian Americans given all the discussion publicly devoted to it.

    And most of that discussion is garbage. Garbage designed to exploit insecurities and gender rifts and to thinly veil personal axes to grind. There are all kinds of issues affecting Asian Americans, issues of health, wealth, education, immigration, employment, and discrimination in the workplace, to name a few, that have a profound effect on the formation of our racial identity but don’t get anywhere near the amount of attention dating and marriage receive. [link] We got 99 problems, but this ain’t one.

  11. [...] who we date. But both are still missing the point. It doesn’t fucking matter. I commend Jen for shitting on both of these girls’ weak, close-minded arguments. Asian-American [...]

  12. trybeingfairforonce says:

    “We got 99 problems, but this ain’t one.”

    Utter bullshit.

    It’s funny how you cite that bullshit NY Times article. Can’t take that seriously..

  13. [...] written by Jenny An and Clarissa Wei regarding their dating and relationship preferences. Although Disgrasian already did a nice job of chopping down both posts, I still thought it was extremely necessary to [...]

  14. Le says:

    Xojane is supposed to be a site by and for women? That would be ironic cuz I’ve noticed that most of the people reading and paying attention to women who write about whether Asian men are good mates or not, those readers are mostly men. Shit I guess I’m one of em!!!! *hides in shame*

  15. [...] American women are being led by Asian American women in insightful, challenging ways. Here here and here are some more examples. We are neither helpless nor in need of male supervision. Our struggle [...]

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