It’s only when I started dating Hitomi that I realized we have a lot of stereotypes about Asian men here in the West. The comments people would sometimes tell me were really mind-blowing — in a bad way.
Those people usually think it’s just a normal conversation with normal questions, but really all I see is either ignorance of other cultures or a big ego that hides a superiority complex underneath.
Why do some people see Asian men the way they do, as if they were less worthy than Caucasian men? Where did it all come from?
The concept of “gayness”
I think, as a North American person, that in the West we are very quick to label things as being “gay”. What we have to understand is, in another country, there’s good chances that the idea of masculinity will be a bit different than ours. In Canada, we were raised up in a way that if a man cries in public or takes care of his appearence a bit too much (according to the society), then we label him as being “gay”, even if it only means that he’s close to his feelings, which is considered as being feminine (gay = feminine, which is also wrong in my opinion). But in Japan, a man that doesn’t take care of his appearence at all will be considered as being somewhat dirty — at least that’s how I understand it. The idea of feminity is very different there than here in Canada.
So I understand when people say “That’s a man?” when I show them some pictures of (hot) male Kpop stars, because I honestly was exactly the same a couple of years ago. But the more you get in touch with other cultures, the more your tastes and your idea of what’s masculine and what’s not will change. I think that men who act like jerks just for the sake of being “manly” are very repulsive. A masochist is not really what I’m seeking in a man. I prefer a guy that is not afraid of showing his feelings and takes care of his general looks instead of a caveman. But that’s just my opinion.
The representation of Asian men in the media
So yes, I think that our preferences are socially conditionned by the society we live in. We get those ideas about other cultures hammered in our heads without even noticing it.
For example, in the West, the representations of Asian men are very limited, especially in movies. Usually, an Asian actor will either be considered as unsexy, will get killed or will be the nerdy one. Just look at roles like “Mr. Chow” in the movies Hangover and you’ll understand what I’m trying to say. So of course when all your life you’ve seen Asian men being represented like that, you have some prejudices when you finally meet one.
I also think that the reason why “Psy” has become so famous in North America is because he fits in the image the West has about Asian men — not sexy, but funny in his awkwardness while trying to get girls in his music videos. There’s a great deal of good Kpop songs out there, but Gangnam Style was the only one to break through the American market for now. Coincidence? Well, it’s certainly not because the song is better than the others.
There’s also an increasing amount of so-called documentary about Japan and theories on why the birth rates are slowly going down. Japan is pictured as being a weird country full of fetishes and awkward people by many of those documentaries. I think most of them are not scientific, but they get many views because that’s what’s trending right now. It’s all so unfair.
So when we think of Asian men, this is the stereotypes that come to our mind. I just wish we could have a more positive image of Asian men such as Glenn in “Walking Dead”.
The superiority complex
But what I really want to know is, what’s so terrifying about Asian men that some of the “white” men feel threatened like this?
Well, I think it’s a way for them to reaffirm their “race” superiority. Or else, why would they always have the need ask about Asians’ penis size? Why does it matter that much for them? The way some guys ask me about my boyfriend’s private part, I should think that it’s them who are a bit on the homosexual side. Why bother talking about that if that’s not the case? What’s the point? Either they are gay without admitting it, or they want to be superior to someone they don’t even know yet.
They tell themselves “Yeah, maybe Asians are smart, but they look like girls and they’re sexually awful”. They’re just trying to reaffirm their own confidence by the way they know best; sex.
What’s sad is that the average penis size has nothing to do with good or bad sex. That women still need to assure that to men in 2014 really baffles me. Honestly, if their “skills” in bed only hold by the size of that part of their anatomy, then I’m sorry but they’re probably already bad at it.
I know some of the people who ask me these kind of questions or talk to me about sex with my boyfriend were only joking. But what I find miserable is that some men (and women!) really think average penis size has an impact on the quality of a sexual life.
And the worst of it all is if I had never met my boyfriend, I would have probably never realized how much we have stereotypes on Asian men. I was very sad because of it for the first months in my relationship with Hitomi. I didn’t feel supported at all — I was even being laughed at.
But now I’ve got a thicker skin, thanks to that. I can see my own culture with new eyes and try to understand where all those stereotypes come from.
And anyway, the most important thing is that Hitomi and I are happy together. The rest, who cares!