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There is even a Tumblr blog that compiles messages from “creepy white guys with Asian fetishes.” Yellow fever was also depicted in Debbie Lum’s documentary, Seeking Asian Female, which takes a close look at relationships between white men and Asian women.

So the real question is not whether white men have a preference for Asian women, but why? Some argue that it’s because Asian women are more docile, submissive, and tame than their raucous and outgoing Caucasian counterparts.

Being Asian means that when I walk down the streets, I am catcalled with “Ni hao ma! ” And that’s why we can’t pretend that yellow fever is nothing more than an innocent preference for straight black hair and almond-shaped eyes. It began when the United States first established a military presence in Asia during World War II. Approximately 200,000 Japanese women were enslaved by Japan as prostitutes and serviced American soldiers after the end of the war under the “Recreation and Amusement Association.” This practice continued through the Korean and Vietnam Wars, with 85 percent of American soldiers reporting having sought a prostitute. Now white men and Asian women meet each other as classmates or colleagues, more or less equals.

This led to the creation of local sex industries around the military bases, where thousands of women were coerced into prostitution for the sole purpose of servicing U. As a result, some of the first encounters American soldiers had with Asian women were in the context of being sexually serviced. And when white men and Asian women begin dating, it’s often because they have a genuine romantic connection, not because he views her as a commodity.

Others claim that it’s a harmless preference on the basis of physical appearance, no different than a preference for blondes or girls with tattoos.

Being Asian means that men compliment me by calling me exotic.

After all, most men today are not even aware of this history.

The fetishization of Asian women hearkens back to an era when there was an enormous power difference between white men and Asian women, and Asian women were used as nothing more than recreational activity for bored American soldiers.

Obviously, Asian women are simply not any more docile or submissive than any other ethnicity.

It is egregiously misguided to assume that an entire ethnicity of women has one set of personality traits, and the fact that some men actually believe this reflects the limited experience they’ve had with real-life Asian women.

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