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Yellow fever in the online dating world
December 10, 2013 10:12 PM   Subscribe

The results of a recent study using data from a dating app revealed certain racial preferences when it comes to online dating-- in particular, that men of all races (except for Asian) "preferred" Asian women. A tumblr site provides a more detailed picture of the stereotypes and comments that Asian women frequently get on online dating sites.
posted by gemutlichkeit (31 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Lots to discuss here and for all the right reasons, but upon reflection this not all that different from "look at these people being assholes" posts we've had before that have pretty much never gone over well. Maybe this could work if it was fleshed out with a bit more context and not centered around the Tumblr? Sorry to have vacillated on this. Contact us if you've got questions. -- goodnewsfortheinsane



 
hey baby just thought you'd like to meet a racist guy who will sexually harass strangers hit me up
posted by klangklangston at 10:21 PM on December 10, 2013 [7 favorites]




Nice to see the data confirms what we all thought already.
posted by wuwei at 10:26 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The connective tissue appears to be that race definitely matters when it comes to online dating. And that general idea is not necessarily something to get our backs up about, since even studies on babies indicate we might be wired to prefer our "in groups" to whatever we perceive as "out groups." (A Yale study of babies showed the infants that prefer Cheerios over graham crackers favored their fellow Cheerios-lovers and were not as nice to graham cracker fans.)
Race doesn't matter when it comes to online dating. What matters is being true to yourself and honest with others. And the in/out group generalizing (backed up with Random Yale Study) just takes me back to what percentage of statistics, on average, consists of high-octane bullshit.
posted by carsonb at 10:34 PM on December 10, 2013


Do people still stereotype Asian women as subservient? Most of the Asian women I know (20s/30s/40s, NYC/Bay Area) are really driven. I wouldn't call any of them subservient.
posted by evil otto at 10:34 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Most of this is anti-information (I.E. you know less now than when you started) without the full data. When you're talking about five possible choices just saying "and this one was first" is woefully little information.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:37 PM on December 10, 2013


Holy crap, men really write things like that to women they want to date?
posted by oneirodynia at 10:37 PM on December 10, 2013


Here is a 2009 report from OKCupid that has similar results but with a lot more data.

I don't think subservience has that much to do with how driven one is in their career. Besides, "driven" doesn't necessarily mean assertive or independent.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 10:40 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I want to date women of other races, but not enough to break up with my white girlfriend.
posted by klangklangston at 10:42 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Man, how come the white guys are taking all of our girls??"
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 10:44 PM on December 10, 2013


Do people still stereotype Asian women as subservient?

I know one lady who apparently does!
posted by rhizome at 10:46 PM on December 10, 2013


Do people still stereotype Asian women as subservient? Most of the Asian women I know (20s/30s/40s, NYC/Bay Area) are really driven. I wouldn't call any of them subservient.

A tangential anecdote: I remember once having an argument about Asian women as portrayed in Hollywood movies. Although I'm not an Asian woman, and thus am less sensitized to their portrayal than an Asian woman would be, I couldn't think of a single example of the submissive stereotype that I had been told existed. As far as I could tell from the sorts of movies I watched, the dominant stereotype of Asian women in Hollywood movies was that they were passionate, untamable martial arts experts.

Some time later, I watched The Bridge on the River Kwai and said "Oh, so that's what they were talking about."
posted by baf at 10:52 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, men really write things like that to women they want to date?

Search google for: OKCupid awful tumblr

There are at least 30 hits for different tumblrs chronicling just how horrendous men behave on that site.

The upside? If you're a decent male human being, you don't have a parasitic twin growing out your forehead, and you're capable of writing even a single semi-interesting paragraph, you can get laid like there's no tomorrow, because 90% of your gender is devoting it's time to making itself look bad, thereby making you look like Gael Garcia Bernal by comparison.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:57 PM on December 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't know what this subservience thing is. I've dated women of all races and I don't recall any of my girlfriends being subservient. Doesn't seem like the kind of stereotype that would survive even the slightest brush with reality.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:58 PM on December 10, 2013


Do people still stereotype Asian women as subservient? Most of the Asian women I know (20s/30s/40s, NYC/Bay Area) are really driven. I wouldn't call any of them subservient.

I'm Chinese, and drawing from my family and my Chinese-Canadian community, I wouldn't exactly call your observations wrong. However, it's worth noting that a number of the women around me have explicitly told me that the reason why they drive themselves to such lengths is partially because they're pushing back against the Western racial stereotype of Asian women as subservient, and then on top of that, the further intersectional compounding factor that women in general are expected to act subservient.

For them, especially in a highly male-dominated environment such as business or STEM fields as many of them are striving to make it in as a consequence of the model minority conception limiting their options as Asians, acting aggressive and claiming responsibilities is their way of preventing the impact of racism and sexism from settling on them as much. If they were to act in "gentle" ways, or even neutrally, their mannerisms would be associated with Asian stereotypes - and as a consequence, invite inappropriate comments from their white male colleagues, or racist comments about how they're acting "too Asian."

I sometimes have this same pressure when I'm in the gay community, where Asian men have a similar stereotype and are approached in similar ways by white guys. And I really don't like it; it's definitely a form of white-washing. If I don't feel like posturing and acting aggressive all the time - or if my personality just isn't even suited to it, I should have the right to do so without inviting sexual harassment and racist comments. I'm not being quiet because I'm Asian, maybe I'm just doing it because I had a long day - but for some reason, I'm automatically othered when I don't put up the front. Even more irritating, it seems to provoke people into dropping casually racist comments about how I'm "not like those other Asian guys" or "not fresh off the boat". Well, thanks, but I'm not exactly acting this way because I completely want to, you know?

So I guess what I'm saying is that it's important to distinguish driven attitudes as a mannerism versus a mode of survival. I think for a lot of Asians integrating into Western culture, it ends up being a mixture of the two?
posted by Conspire at 11:03 PM on December 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't know what this subservience thing is. I've dated women of all races and I don't recall any of my girlfriends being subservient. Doesn't seem like the kind of stereotype that would survive even the slightest brush with reality.

I'm willing to bet an expensive meal that the folks writing stuff like this are not basing their expectation that Asian women are subservient on deep introspection drawing on their extensive experience dating Asian women. ← understatement
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:06 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here is one recent example where the expectation of subservience in Asian females is implied.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 11:09 PM on December 10, 2013


My boyfriend is Chinese. Previous boyfriend was Filipino...prior to that African-American, Indian, African American...In spite of the fact that I have a vagina, I seem to be a white man.
posted by apis mellifera at 11:09 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Data like this and the OKCupid report strike me as a really significant thing to pay attention to. We're living in a society that at least some misguided people consider "post-racial", owing to there not being a lot of open displays of villainous, exaggerated racial animosity. And yet PoC are insistent that race affects just about every aspect of their daily lives in incredibly granular ways. How can this be? It's because race is wedded to all sorts of considerations and dealings in systemic, sometimes unconscious, not necessarily villainous ways. As an individual, it may not be particularly noteworthy that you messaged 5 asian women, 3 white women and zero black women in 2013. But on an aggregate level, we get a picture of desirability as it relates to class as it relates to race. There aren't a lot of other ways to get data like this - it's unique in that we have this mix of big social media data mapped to behavior, and the means to gather and process it. We have these grand behavioral experiments with the metadata already naturally placed there, it's fairly airtight. And yet still people want to dismiss or marginalize these reports. There's also a lot of people (as in the previous MetaFilter thread on the OKCupid data) who vigorously claim that there's really nothing here - that you're attracted to who you're attracted to, you can't help it, it's something innate to your being, and that's the end of the story (as if there's nothing deeper to analyze here, as if it's not a window into all sorts of things.) Personally I find this stuff super depressing - a glimpse into how race is of tantamount importance even among otherwise progressive, open-minded liberals engaging in mundane things like figuring out whom to meet for drinks on a Friday night.
posted by naju at 11:12 PM on December 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


Amazing. It's 2013. How long is shit like this going to go on?

Oh well, I asked this question back in the 90's as well.
posted by VikingSword at 11:25 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I spent about a year on OKCupid and Match. It was thoroughly depressing to have my undesireability (as a black female) absolutely and openly confirmed, when well over the majority of the men I might otherwise be a match for (based on politics, interests,values, education level, etc) specified an interest in every possible race/ethnicity EXCEPT black. It was particularly striking with Match, where often 7-8 of the 10 "quick matches" shown to me upon login would exclude black women from their desired matches. (This is also why I dumped Match before my 6 months were even up).
posted by TwoStride at 11:28 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Things like this make me cringe, mostly because I'm a living breathing stereotype. I am a white guy, balding, with a goatee, married to a Japanese woman. I didn't plan this. It's not something I sought out. I live in Japan (I came back here because I thought it was a pretty awesome place, and stayed longer than I thought). It turns out that most people in Japan are Japanese, and the law of averages ended up that I married a Japanese woman.

Here in Japan, when Japanese people find out I'm married, they express surprise that I'm married to a Japanese person, to which I point out there aren't many other people around, and yeah, foreigner.

When I go home, I've had friends of friends give me shit, as in five minute long diatribes about how awful I am, how I perpetuate all kinds of horrible stereotypes, to which I reply, I live in Japan. There aren't a ton of foreigners there.

There's just about nothing I can say or do that will make people think I am anything other than a racist scumbag who got married because I don't think of my wife as an person, I think of her as an objectified concept of racist sexualization. It's a game I can't possibly win.

So I don't play. I go home and spend time with Mrs. Ghidorah, who is fucking awesome, who constantly challenges me, who makes me laugh, who makes me work hard to bridge the areas where we don't overlap. I don't think of her as an Asian female, I think of her as a person who I happen to have fallen in love with, and I've been lucky enough to be loved by.

Sadly, there are guys who come here, and that's why their here. They're here because of some outdated stereotype they got from stupid movies or racist uncles. They're pretty damn loathesome, and lord, I'm tired of being lumped in with them.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:31 PM on December 10, 2013 [16 favorites]


When I go home, I've had friends of friends give me shit, as in five minute long diatribes about how awful I am, how I perpetuate all kinds of horrible stereotypes

They're the ones perpetuating the stereotypes.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:37 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The sample isn't random.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:53 PM on December 10, 2013


Nor does it express anything other than "more likely to get clicked on and interacted with."
posted by Ironmouth at 11:55 PM on December 10, 2013


I don't know what this subservience thing is. I've dated women of all races and I don't recall any of my girlfriends being subservient. Doesn't seem like the kind of stereotype that would survive even the slightest brush with reality.

My take on it has always been that it's been based on a power differential between immigrants and natives, or Americans abroad in developing countries, and the locals. I've always associated that particular stereotype with American soldiers stationed in Japan, Korea or Vietnam.

If you're an American in a war-torn country and you earn many times more than the locals do, it's pretty easy to find 'subservient' people wherever you look.
posted by empath at 11:56 PM on December 10, 2013


But doctor, I am Gael Garcia Bernal.
posted by biffa at 11:59 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, men really write things like that to women they want to date?
No, they write things like that to women they feel entitled to date.
posted by gingerest at 12:13 AM on December 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


The sample isn't random.

Why would you need a random sample? The sample size is the entire heterosexual population of the site who actively engaged with it: "AYI analyzed some 2.4 million heterosexual interactions—meaning every time a user clicked either 'yes' or 'skip'—to come up with these statistics."

Nor does it express anything other than "more likely to get clicked on and interacted with."

And it's not a dating site, it's a clicking-and-interacting-with-things site, right?
posted by naju at 12:17 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do people still stereotype Asian women as subservient? Most of the Asian women I know (20s/30s/40s, NYC/Bay Area) are really driven. I wouldn't call any of them subservient.

It's a very popular stereotype among MRA/PUA types and weeaboos.

source: Nietzche was completely right about staring into abysses, don't do it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:17 AM on December 11, 2013


Echoing empath:

The subservience thing is a pretty common stereotype in relationships between Western European/American men and Eastern European/East Asian women - based on the difference in wealth.

Lots of men look for this. I've known a couple who actively sought it and who found it too challenging to sustain relationships with women from their own country who didn't behave like subserviently. In Thailand, the women were known as 'butterflies' because of the way they attended to and hovered around the men they were with. The men, more often than not, were known as 'FUGs' (fat, ugly guys).

The irony is that it's often temporary: these women, obviously, don't wake up every day wanting to be subservient. The men they marry often aren't beacons of pulchritude, natural leadership and charisma to whom one would ordinarily defer authority.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:23 AM on December 11, 2013


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