HomeAsian AmericansCan Asian Americans Find Their Prince or Princess while Digital Dating?

Can Asian Americans Find Their Prince or Princess while Digital Dating?

By Sophia Whittemore
AsAmNews Staff Writer

Dating’s changed a lot in the past few years. Everything seems to be going digital, from streaming movies and TV shows to virtual currency and dating. But how is the change from real-life to Tinder affecting Asian Americans?

According to the experiences of contributors from a Huffington Post article by Brittany Wong,, the experience of digital dating depends on three factors: the quality of the dating apps, the level of problematic fetishization, and the reasonableness of parental expectations.

As for dating apps, the statistics already look fairly grim. In 2014, an OkCupid study examined the interactions of 25 million people. Asian men scored the lowest, alongside African American men and women. It reaffirms a sentiment of anti-blackness and marginalization that’s poisonous in society. But that was 2014. Perhaps things are different in 2018?

In the Huffington Post article, Vicky N., a woman in her mid-twenties of Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese descent describes her experience with various dating apps.

She describes Tinder as being the most ethnically diverse while she says Bumble is “full of White guys.” In her personal experience, the biggest problem on these sites is the fetishization of Asian American women. “It was gross,” she says, explaining this prompted her to delete one her dating app accounts.

That fetishization isn’t only restricted to heterosexual couples.

Wynn, a young woman of Vietnamese, Indian and French descent, discusses her experiences in interracial dating as a lesbian. She describes her experience as feeling like her background and cultural identity are being ignored, playing the role of only being seen as a “hot Asian”. “It’s very rare for (the woman) I’m dating to show any interest in the cultural customs I grew up with or my race.”

As for parental expectations, it wasn’t easy for Wynn. Her mother managed to be both homophobic and racist at the same time. She kicked her daughter out of the house when Wynn came out to her. She also yelled at Wynn that at least Wynn’s partner was White this time, as opposed to the past African American she had dated.

Students at UPenn confronted this question of fetishization and parental expectations head-on by describing their experiences in a piece by Angela Huang and Ariana McGinn. 

Anshuman, a male student of UPenn denounced not only fetishization in the queer community, but also lewd and racist comments he found on Grindr denouncing his South Asian background.

Luke, a half-Asian young student, sums up a power imbalance by saying: “Asians are assumed to be submissive … so I know a lot of Asian men who are queer who make it a point to be the dominant one in relationships, especially when it’s a White partner… A form of decolonization.”

Yet, interracial dating also presents the problem of supporting Eurocentric beauty standards and the quest for total assimilation. ““In my East Asian experience, some families socialize you to think that dating a White guy is usually a good thing,” UPenn student Holly says. “It’s an aspect of the American dream… It’s this idea of social mobility by marrying into the majority, assimilating through romance.”

Various other accounts from the UPenn article detail constant comments Asian American women face, from being told that they’re “hot for their race”, to being downright sexually harassed on the way home with nobody stepping up to help them.

It seems that, at the end of it all, dating in 2018 still has a lot of progress to make in terms of racial, gender, and sexual identity equality. But at least, in addressing some of these problems, we can change more than just the app-updates for the upcoming year. Ultimately, these voices should help us change the dating landscape altogether.
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