A good number of Asians tend to look way younger beyond their years. Glance at an Asian person in their mid-twenties and chances are they look like a teen. Or at an Asian woman in her thirties and she’ll look like an early-twenty-something graduate.
Perhaps Asians have good genes and that’s why many of us look young. Or perhaps it’s because we eat rice/noodles so often, food that has yet-to-be-discovered anti-aging properties. You never know.
These Asians can pass off as teenagers. Asians often look young from behind. Perhaps it’s because of their short stature and the way they dress? Photo: Mabel Kwong
I can relate. I’m one of those Asians who look young for my age. I’ve talked about this with my Asian friends who are in the same boat, and we agree there are pros and cons to this phenomenon. But the latter seems more outstanding.
One of the few pros of looking young for an Asian person who is say, twenty or thirty something, is, well, looking young. One doesn’t have wrinkly or saggy skin. Youthful, fair complexions are constantly sought after by many Asians through anti-aging beauty products, so looking naturally young would be a blessing for these people, maybe even equating towards more self confidence for them.
Another plus looking young is the opportunity to get meal discounts. I’ve dined at buffets in South East Asia and there have been occasions where the waiters charged me child price without question. An unethical way of saving money for the eternally penny-pinching Asian.
On the flipside, appearing younger than one’s actual age instigates repetitive, sometimes annoying questions that are distractions from daily plans. When I shop here in Melbourne, Caucasian salespeople exclaim, “You look so young! What do you eat?”. I always find it hard to respond because I eat three filling meals a day just like any other food-mad (Asian) person and I really want to get a T-shirt in my size.
Another downside for an Asian person who has an eternally youthful face includes exclusion at times from social activities. It is common for adult Asians who look young to get mistaken as very young teens by Caucasians; these Caucasians see the former as “kids” they’d rather not socialise with. When I meet Caucasian-Australians here in Melbourne, quite often I get the impression they have no intention of hanging out with me. I’ve been in situations where we meet for the first time, and they would look me up-down and struggle to say to something me. And I can see them thinking, “Oh, so Asianly cute. So innocent. Let’s leave her alone.” And then they amble off to do adult Aussie things such as getting a drink sans me. But maybe it’s a race thing?
Such discrimination also extends to the workforce. When an Asian person in their twenties who looks like they’ve barely finished high school goes for an interview, there is every chance middle-aged employers will reckon they are simply too young for the job.
Such is how an image-oriented society operates today. I’ve been to interviews and upon making eye contact for the first time with my potential employers, they stop for a second in their tracks – looking surprised at how “young” I am. Once, one of my Caucasian interviewees greeted me with, “Hi, are you still in school?” when I walked through the doors. This generates the idea that looking fresh-faced can possibly instill in some narrow-minded Anglo-Saxon employers the stereotype that Asians are all young – naïve and passive.
At the end of the day, there are so many more important things than fretting over looks: focusing on achieving personal goals in life. Giving a donation to a starving kid in Africa.
And that’s my stance on this whole Asians-looking-young-issue: physical looks are just one part of what makes us us.
Embrace youthful looks. And learn to accept it in the face of all of the cons to looking young for a person of Asian ethnicity.
As dancing violinist / YouTuber Lindsey Stirling who now performs to sold-out crowds after being told that what she does would not catch on said, “When you do what you love, people are drawn to you”. Complaining about youthful looks won’t get us anywhere achievements-and-personal-development-wise. But focusing on improving and believing in our personal skills does.
What’s a young face without a hard-working character?