(Note from the Editor: Two weeks ago, AsAmNews ran a guest post from Ric about the new ABC series Mistresses and its portrayal of Asian American women and the absence of any AAPI men in the show. That lead to a discussion about Asian American women who prefer to exclusively non-Asians. This is John Chen’s response to that discussion. Note-the man pictured is not John Chen, just an AAPI man.)
I don’t expect anyone here to agree, but, in my opinion, there’s plenty of blame to go around aside from Hollywood, and I want to say much of that blame includes me—as in: us Asian males. There are two observations I’ve been wrestling with that I think holds us Asian males back:
1) Inadequate verbal/social skills. Simply put, we dominate in IT professions because success there doesn’t hinge on prolonged face-to-face interactions, and people/verbal skills. But the success gained here is a bit hollow in the larger social picture as we never learn to appreciate, nor cultivate, those “soft skills.” I think we all know how soft skills like putting a stranger at ease with storytelling or humor helps with the ladies, right? Yet all too often I see our brothers at social functions interviewing, if not interrogating, a girl of interest, instead of giving her reasons to smile, laugh and take in the guy’s company.
2) As highly, if not over- educated we are as a demographic, we’ve done zilch to apply our education and success in engaging our culture in public discourse about our centuries old preference for baby boys over girls. There’s no place for this in a modern society, especially if it seeks to be attractive to women. I can’t imagine much anything else upgrading our public-relations rating with women than this. And what women want, media responds to, and Hollywood produces for.
Western media and culture that puts the western male at the pinnacle of the universe is a freight train no one is stopping anytime soon. We can cite offenses and throw rocks at it til the cows come home—it might make a smidgen’s difference, but isn’t doing so simply affirming the status quo’s higher ground? Wouldn’t we be better off acknowledging our opportunities for self-improvement instead? Life is a competition. Mating is a competition. Winning a girl’s attention, in hopes it turns into affection is a competition. Are we asking “How do we measure up? And if we don’t, what are we doing about it?” as much as we’re saying “Western media hates Asian males?” Rather than throw stones at the Western media freight train, why not build our own freight train? It’s not as if they didn’t build their own.
My 2¢, and likely a measure of self-loathing.
(About the author: John lives and works in NYC as a User Experience Architect for a startup online retailer, and is a licensed uncle to nieces and nephews on both coasts and in Houston. To any unsuspecting ear, John is happy to ramble on about his Asian brothers’ challenges and opportunities to step up in the Western world. John is also longwinded.)