Yikes! Could the video be any more tone deaf?! Who at Tinder thought it would be a good idea to disrespect the market it seeks to serve?? And who decided their best bet was to reinforce the stereotype that Asian men aren’t attractive to the opposite sex??
Sure, gangly never-been-kissed Asian gamer boys do exist but they exist in all cultures. Same goes with drop-dead-gorgeous babes. (Check out these listicles by HuffPost and Buzzfeed for hard-to-deny proof that Asia has its fair share of babes.)
Fighting the Stereotyping
As a matchmaker, part of my job is to understand what are my clients’ preferences. I listen without judgment but ask questions to gauge where there is flexibility and what is completely non-negotiable.
One of the questions I ask is about ethnicity. Some women will tell me they don’t find themselves attracted to Asian men. Fair enough. But if I drill down, it often comes out that they would find themselves attracted to an Asian man if he had charisma.
My takeaway here is that the aversion to Asian men as boyfriends isn’t an esthetic or ethnicity issue. It’s about attitude.
Some women desire a man who is dominant, has swagger, and can take control of a situation. The stereotype that Asian men are quiet or subdued and don’t have presence has eclipsed the very real and simple fact that there are plenty of Asian men who are alpha, extroverted, charming and very in control.
The Cost of Being Asian
I wasn’t able to find Hong Kong research on the disadvantaged Asian men have when it comes to dating but I did find quite a bit relating to Asians in the US.
In Dataclysm, which was written by OKCupid co-founder, Christian Rudder, it says Asian women prefer Asian men. Asian-American women think Asian-American men are +19% more attractive than average. But black women think they are 34% less attractive than average, Latina women think they are 35% less attractive than average and white women consider Asian-American men 26% less attractive than average.
The American magazine Pacific Standard reported in 2015 on a study by Columbia University that “tried to estimate how much men of different ethnic groups would need to earn to become as desirable to a woman as a man of her own race.” And guess what? “With all other factors normalized, an Asian man would have to earn an additional US$247,000 to stand on equal footing with his white counterpart and US$220,000 to match up with an African-American suitor.” (I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of the recent Vice doc upon reading that.)
Another study,Leadership Perceptions as a Function of Race-Occupation Fit: The Case of Asian Americans, by Professor Thomas Sy (who is Asian and teaches at University of California Riverside), was able to show Asian-Americans, when compared with white Americans especially, are thought to be lacking in charisma and considered less dominant specifically because of their ethnic background. His study focused on Asian-Americans in the workplace but I think we can extrapolate the findings to the field of dating.
If charisma is what women want, I have good news for the men: It can be learned. If women want a guy who is a killer flirt, I have good news there too for the men: It can be learned. Interesting conversation? Impeccable manners? Chivalrous to a fault? It all can be learned as long as a commitment is made to learn and practice the basics.
But why should Asian men make the effort if women will still let stereotypes cloud their judgment? The first step we need is for women to be aware that this stereotype of Asian men not being BF material, not being charismatic, not having swag, etc. is interfering with their chance of finding love. These stereotypes need to be broken down and replaced with reality. You can count on me doing my part in the fight. I hope the big players (like Tinder) will do so too.
Related, here on GMP:
Yes, I love an Asian woman. It doesn’t mean I have a fetish.
Photo credit: Getty Images