As I continued to date the locals in China and eventually married a fellow from Hangzhou, I would come to realize that most expat women in China agreed with my Zhengzhou colleagues. And sometimes, their dislike was just shocking. A European woman I worked with in famously told me that, while she found all Chinese men completely repulsive, she considered Chinese children so adorable.
My husband posing with our nephew. I think they're both adorable.
But some of my most fascinating and educative encounters with this idea of "Chinese men as undateable" happened online, when I came face-to-face with these opinions distilled into the cold, black-and-white reality of blog posts and expat forums. Back in , I discovered a post on a now-defunct blog authored by expats in Shanghai.
The post was written by a white American woman based in Shanghai and titled, "So, how's the dating scene? In the still, he's locked in an awkward slow-dance embrace with a girl an entire head taller than him, but that's not even the worst of it. While she leans her head on his in perfect contentment, he has his cheek buried in her bosom while staring at it with a prurient curiosity that surely would have snapped the girl out of her reverie.
At the time I was only beginning to learn about negative stereotypes of Asian men that American TV, movies and the media had perpetuated over the years: The woman who wrote that post never specifically said any of these things about local men in China, but she didn't have to. Long Duk Dong took care of that. Then again, her post appears downright classy in comparison to what I've read in the free-for-all world of anonymous expat forums across China.
There was a brief time when I tried combing these forums in search of discussions about dating Chinese men, hoping to gain some insights, but I soon gave that up. Whenever anyone dared to broach the subject, usually someone would quickly pounce on the thread and sully it with some juvenile comment about Chinese men that wasn't all that different from that Long Duk Dong movie still.
The worst of these threads generally devolved into a low-brow, expletive-laden conversation more appropriate for a bathroom stall. Whether in forums or blogs, the negative online discourse about Chinese men is consistent with Psychologist Zhang Jiehai's findings from surveys on "Chinese Men in the Eyes of Western Women" as reported by China's Xinhua News Agency in I provided an English translation on my blog. This Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences professor surveyed over Western women from diverse countries including France, Germany and the USA via questionnaires, and then interviewed over 20 of them in a focus group in Shanghai.
While respondents praised Chinese men for certain qualities -- "looking after one's family," "willing to spend money on women," and "relatively serious about relationships between men and women" -- the admiration ended there. Negative impressions ultimately dominated as the women criticized Chinese men as "not so gentlemanly," "poor physique, not enough exercise," "no personality, lacking unique opinions," even condemning them on perceived personal hygiene problems.
One American participant in the study actually blamed Hollywood for projecting a poor image of Chinese men around the world, and I couldn't help but wonder if she was thinking of Sixteen Candles at the time. Zhang's findings -- that Western women from around the world have consistently pejorative ideas about Chinese men -- remind me this isn't a problem confined to some insular expat circles in China.
It's a troubling problem, one that even gets me and my husband down.
Look across East Asia or, for that matter, any country in the Western world, and you'll notice a very revealing gap in the Asian interracial dating world: A Field Report from Hong Kong. A total of couples of Western men and Asian women versus only six couples of Asian men and Western women including him and his Brazilian wife. You could substitute Hong Kong with the name of any country or region in the world and end up with comparable results.
Even Chinese-American men don't feel the love from their fellow Americans, lamenting this in essays such as " Are Asian Men Undateable? In search of explanations for why so few Western women date Chinese men, some China expats have suggested cultural differences are the primary reason. I agree that culture plays a role when you're a foreigner in China dating the locals. I've experienced my share of cultural misunderstandings in my relationships in China, including my own marriage, and have even blogged about why it's actually harmful to ignore cultural differences in a cross-cultural relationship.
Yet when I think about the global reach of this problem, and the fact that it's even tough for Western-born Chinese to score a date outside of their own race, I know deep down that cultural differences -- as much as they matter in relationships -- cannot alone account for why few Western women date Chinese men. When I think about how a racist caricature from Hollywood gets tossed around among expats as a symbol of Chinese men -- and Westerners from around the world harbor consistently negative views of Chinese men -- I realize there's a dark side to this whole discussion.
So here's where the conversation gets a little uncomfortable.
Whenever expats discuss racism in China, we usually focus on Chinese people and their racist attitudes such as the experience of being black in China. These are very critical discussions that we need and should continue to have.
But what about the conversations about expats themselves and their own homegrown stereotypes and prejudices about Asians and Chinese people? When the time comes, they don't have the social skills and self confidence for dating. Ok, what do you think? Any truth to any thing he says? I doubt whether younger Asian men have such difficulties, especially if they are born here. I know a whole bunch of Chinese guys over 30 who have a heck of a time find a wife.
With that in mind, have you noticed the negative images constantly and consistently been dished out at the expense of Asian guys? I am telling you the truth. What i Love most about Chinese guys is that….. Yoyo Chinese Official Blog. Sign up for Free.
But I expect most men over a certain age would have trouble find someone, regardless of race. The dating scene can be tough for many people. Have a nice day! I think this applies only to Chinese men, not all Asian men. I have not noticed Korean or Filipino guys to be any different than white guys socially, while Chinese guys are a completely different story. Chinese guys, for the most part need to get a clue.
Perhaps it has something to do with Korean culture pushing so hard for Korean women stick with Korean men. While Chinese culture is more open-minded. Many Japanese men simply go back to Japan. With the economy there what it is, if you are an average looking guy with a job you'll find a woman over Also what does "white" mean? Anything past a certain "shade"?
It's your life not your parents.