Asian girl and Caucasian guy. Hand in hand walking down the street. It’s a sight that’s becoming more and more common in public these days.
Sometimes these are scenes of true love. Sometimes these two people of different heritage are attracted to each other purely because of the “exotic cultural difference aura” hanging in the air between them.
Just how do both these kinds of Asian-girl-white-guy relationships work?
The idea of Orientalism offers an explanation as to why the latter type of relationship exists. According to Professor Edward Said, Orientalism is a system of thought in which the West think of themselves as superior over the East in terms of economic and social development, fostering unequal power relations.
As the documentary Seeking Asian Female shows, there are cashed-up, “yellow fever” white men out there who splash out on so-called instant “mail order Asian brides” whom they reckon are submissive enough to be doting wives and cute with their China-doll bangs. It’s worth noting there are many Chinese, Vietnamese etc. women in Asia who voluntarily sign up to become Asian brides, willing to be objects of objectification, not true affection. Not all of them do so to swindle a white man’s money, but do so to escape poverty and put their homemaking desires into action in today’s modern society. In a sense, both parties end up satisfying each other’s perverse pleasures and domesticating fantasies, so creating workable relationships.
Also, in Asian cultures maintaining “face” is much esteemed – having a well-to-do spouse or simply a spouse is admired greatly and lusted after. Definitely a viable proposition as to why some Asian women don’t mind being an “accessory” hanging off their white husband’s arms.
And how do some Caucasian men come to fetishise over Asian women and vice-versa? It’s no secret the media constantly perpetuates notions of Orientalism today and as pretty much daily media consumers, we are often susceptible towards buying into endless stereotypical, often sexualised constructions of Asian women/Caucasian men on TV or YouTube. Or perhaps some of them have lived in secluded towns all their lives where only one Orientalist-drenched train of thought towards other races goes around and that’s all they know.
Then there are Asian girls and Caucasian guys who are sincerely in love with each other. The well-traveled, well-educated Gen-Y individuals appear to be more receptive towards stepping into this kind of relationship. Take for instance this couple: Beijing girl Hannah and Australian guy Alex meet in China, help one another speak the other’s language, come to accept their cultural differences with an open-mind and today reside loved-up in Sydney.
For such a relationship – and any other inter-racial relationship – to last the test of time, mutual respect for each other’s cultures is a natural necessity. Mutual respect goes beyond simply acknowledging each other’s traditions; it’s also about cultural tolerance. Like he taking his shoes off in her house and she going out to barbeques under the sun with him. In line with Hannah and Alex’s story that explains how Alex puts up with Hannah’s “sajiao” tantrums, making the effort to question the importance of and even partaking in the significant other’s customs warrants a stronger understanding of their not only their heritage, but their heritage-influenced personality.
It’s always heartening to see such couples learn each other’s language, especially from scratch. But maybe this is what keeps these relationships going. Don’t we always stop and stutter when we’re speaking to someone in a different language? It can be frustrating, but also fun and amusing – someone’s always saying something in a funny accent and it forces the two people to communicate. Not to mention learning a language and being able to speak it fluently takes time, just like how love often takes time to blossom.
Recently, there was a brief discussion about Asian girls going out with Caucasian guys in the comments section of one of my posts, and Shunlake mentioned:
In the context of love, sometimes heartfelt actions speak louder than words.
What do you think are the foundations of Asian-girl-Caucasian-guy and inter-racial relationships?