Desexualization of Asian American Men

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In a study examining relationship involvement among young adults between the ages of 25 to 32, Dr. Balisteri et al found that, “Asian men were much more likely than their same-sex counterparts from other race/ethnic groups to be unpartnered. Asian American men are at the bottom of the racial hierarchy when it comes to the different-sex dating market” (2015).

And, according to statistics collected by the dating website OkCupid, Asian men typically receive less matches and messages from women of any ethnicity/race compared to all other men of any ethnicity/race. While these studies are primarily focused on partnership and dating, I would argue that this information falls in line with societal hegemonic discourse of Asian and Asian American men being unattractive, undesirable, feminine, etc.

The data exhibits the racial biases that individuals have when first meeting other individuals and making decisions—which is applicable to any first impression, not just in situations of dating and partnerships. With this information, it is not to say that individuals themselves are racist, it is to say that the structure that perpetuates this discourse “trains” individuals; therefore, the structure needs to change by involving the voices of marginalized minorities instead of solely white folks.

I argued that Asian American men are desexualized in Western film and cannot play the role of the love interest, because it makes American uncomfortable. As a result of the absence of romantic subplot between Asian American men and women of any race or ethnicity, Asian American men are undesirable and are subject to symbolic annihilation. First, I explained the historical background behind the feminization of Asian American men and the construction of the yellow peril discourse. Second, I explored significant concepts and the theoretical framework.

Third, I discussed and analyzed modern media examples of three common Asian American male stereotypes in film: the martial arts master and protégé, the goofy sidekick, and the nerd. Fourth, I completed three case studies on the films Romeo Must Die (2000), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018).

Finally, I explored the implications of feminized and desexualized Asian American male tropes on Asian American men in modern society. You should have a better understanding of the feminization of Asian American men and other Asian American male stereotypes in Western film, gained a greater sense of the contextual information and common ideologies challenged by the exigencies of society during the 19th century, and understand the implications of these tropes in film. By simply understanding the magnitude of the problem and the importance of amplification of marginalized voices in media, it helps to change the continued yellow peril discourse and call for accurate representations of marginalized bodies, as well as properly and authentically help young people construct their social identities.


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Desexualization of Asian American Men. (2021, Jul 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/desexualization-of-asian-american-men/

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