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In Britain, while significant rates of intermarriage between the Chinese and white Caucasian population have demonstrated social integration, the trend is nevertheless heavily skewed towards Chinese women and white men, rather than the other way around.
Part of the bias is down to aesthetics, it would appear, as a study by Cardiff University in 2012 on facial attractiveness showed that East Asian women scored highest, while East Asian men came bottom of the pile (interestingly, results for black and white individuals did not show discernible differences based on gender).
Furthermore, stereotypes around timidness, not being outspoken or politically active also mean people can make such comments with no backlash, she says.
Certainly, the idea of the “passive” Chinese is a well-known, but an increasingly misguided view – particularly given the meteoric rise of China and its achievements in women’s education.
But while some gendered biases exist in all interracial dating, few have gained as much notoriety as so-called yellow fever.
In parts of the US, such a notion has become so pervasive that last year, Debbie Lum, an American filmmaker of Chinese descent, sought to capture the madness in her documentary “Seeking Asian Female”.
In the BBC’s official response to BEA’s letter, it stated its commitments to diversity (in a rather patronising, verbose manner). But Asian women are understandably in a rush to change the status quo.In fact, the most recent figures from 2.4 million users of Facebook dating apps showed a clear skew in preference for women of East Asian descent by men of all racial groups, except, ironically, Asian men.As a Chinese, single woman in the UK - where I have rarely come across racism – my East Asian friends and I have encountered a fair share of men with telltale signs of yellow fever.A quick browse on the Internet for “yellow fever fetishes” brings up a host of websites, articles and videos, mostly from the US, that express humour, distaste and offence at the sexualised objectification of East Asian women, with some equating yellow fever to racism rooted in colonial ideas of power and submission.
Interestingly, however, many East Asian women aren’t bothered; some even play up to the stereotypes or entertain such fetishes, according to Dr. Indeed, websites like My New Chinese Wife – set up by Chinese women in Hong Kong, the UK and US, promote what it sees as traditional qualities of “Sweet Chinese Brides”, and assist westerners in finding their own.
She tells me how she was instantly associated with being quiet, analytical and nice when she started working in London, and describes fighting for opportunities to speak and chair meetings.