And like most of the harassing messages I receive, it came from an Asian man. In frustration, I shared the message on Twitter, and most people were appalled. Targeted harassment from Asian-American men toward Asian-American women over choosing a non-Asian partner or having multiracial children, I discovered, is widespread, vicious, and devastating. For instance, actress Hana Wu was targeted on Twitter after she tweeted a film trailer in which her character has a relationship with a white man, and she soon began receiving misogynistic messages on Instagram.
Other times, the implied violence is more subtle. The volume and venom of these messages has real-world consequences for these women. They told me they reduced their internet presence afterward — making it harder to share their work and get new work.
Some writers told me they shied away from writing about race, relationships, or identity. Some quit altogether. Although the messages come from many users, one particular subgroup on Reddit seems to be the root for most of this harassment. But the outlook of the Asian men behind messages — and posts — like those above also echoes another group: white supremacists.
The reverse, however, is not true — relationships between Asian men and white women are celebrated, with AZNidentity even crowdfunding a porno based on such a couple. If Asian men lose out in jobs and in dating, the logic goes, the result will be the extinction of Asian men — in cultural relevance, and possibly literally. The problem is that even legitimate concerns end up entwined with these more extreme views. However, most speak not about cultural representation and activism, but about what they perceive as a dearth of dating opportunities for Asian men.
The most toxic posts come from men who argue for racial purity and refer to Asian women as if they are commodities rather than people. Yet men all along this spectrum of opinions engage in similar harassing behavior, using similar misogynistic language and similar bullying tactics — and placing the blame for the entire array of complaints squarely on Asian women. I know this all too well myself. They have a valid complaint here: My tweet fed into those stereotypes that Asian men are unsexy, and when people pointed this out, I rethought my own biases.
Growing up, the only Asians I knew were my cousins — so, as I admitted, when I see Asian men, my first instinctive feeling is often kinship rather than sexual attraction. They send a screenshot of that tweet repeatedly at me and anyone who tries to support me, passing the. But for the women I interviewed, the opposite was true. Nearly every woman acknowledged how hard it was to be an Asian man. Several women had hesitated to speak publicly about the harassment, fearing it would make Asian men look bad.
Lillian , a something who lives in New York and Boston, is a single Asian American woman who actively dates. Needless to say, her Tinder inbox is a hot mess. Those creepy-crawly experiences on dating apps led Lillian to create The Fleshlight Chronicles , an Instagram account where she showcases the worst offenders on Tinder and other apps.
She posts screenshots of their messages alongside photos of herself looking stoic, fierce and totally over it. She posts those, too. We have our own inner lives. We marvel and we create. We work through shit with our families. As writer Audrea Lim pointed out in a recent New York Times opinion piece , figures from Richard Spencer to Andrew Anglin , the founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer , have touted their Asian girlfriends or partners at one point or another.
Many Asians have dark skin. In the U. Traditional Chinese cultural and filial values played a part in this, but so did fear of racism. As xenophobic immigration laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act of were being passed, many Chinese men feared bringing their wives abroad given the racial violence they were subjected to. The only women who did make it across? Early Hollywood movies did the rest of the work.
Asian women in s films most notably the American-born Anna May Wong were depicted as exotic femme fatales, weaponizing their sexuality to the detriment of the men around them. Asian men, meanwhile, were cast as scheming, effete villains in silk tunics, intent on bringing down the strong, capable white protagonists.
When the U. Obviously, genuine love matches do happen between Asian women and non-Asian men, from the GIs who brought home Korean war brides in the s to couples meeting on Hinge and other dating apps today. Jeng is happily partnered now, but in her single days, she and her friends developed a funny, fast-and-loose litmus test for Asian fetishes. Operating from a scarcity mindset , the harassers expect women of Asian descent to date exclusively within their race, and they attack those who marry outside and raise multiracial families.
Sometimes these women fall in love with Asian men.
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