What is Yellow Fever?
Other than the deadly disease prevalent in the 1700s and that book, Fever, that had the creepy jaundiced-looking face, Yellow Fever is also a micro- or even normal racial offense towards someone of Asian descent. You know that creepy thing guys say to you about how they really prefer dating your race? Well, yellow fever is like that. But ridiculously worse. (I’m not forgetting about jungle fever, which hypersexualizes black women, but today I’m focusing on Asians)
But what is yellow fever, really? According to Urban Dictionary, it is:
A term usually applied to white males who have a clear sexual preference for women of asian descent, although it can also be used in reference to white females who prefer asian men.
However, I think the next definition is more accurate:
A sexual obsession towards females of Asian descent.
Need more? How about this video made by producers of an upcoming PBS documentary. Yikes. (Side note: while I appreciate what the documentary seeks to expose, I don’t think it’s as effective as it can and should be)
Why is it a bad thing?
Most people who have never been on the receiving end of such a thing ask, “Why do you hate it? More people will be into you then. There’s actually a specific group of people who would date people like you!” or “Use it to your advantage! Date with the flow!”
First of all, it doesn’t work like that. Dating guys with yellow fever is guaranteed to give you the heebie-jeebies. And second of all, it’s not really flattering, is it? Basically, they’re saying “You fit my ONE requirement! I don’t really care about who you are because as long as you have that ONE requirement, I’ll just fill in your personality with all my preconceived thoughts about you and call it a day!” It’s just another way of stereotyping and the acceptance of this as a fetish perpetuates certain racial stereotypes. And the fact that the “Asian Prostitute” stereotype was birthed a mere 100 years ago during WWII, in which the objectification, over-sexualization, exoticism of Asian women came to be, is extremely disturbing. 100 years is not enough time to completely eradicate these deep-rooted beliefs.
In addition, very rarely are people with “Yellow Fever” able to distinguish between purely physical attraction and attraction because of the associated behavioral stereotypes. And believe me, it’s a hefty list of the grossest fanboy fantasies that ever existed. I’m not going to pull a reverse-racism thing here, but there is a general type of man that goes for Asian women—from experience.
Examples of Asian-associated behavioral stereotypes include:
- Submission: many people think that Asian women are more submissive than women of other races. This is not true; on top of being a secretly matriarchal society—Asian moms control the finances, the household, the children, etc—the strongest women I know have been Asian.
- Live-to-please: a subgroup of the “submission” stereotype.
- Virgin in public and a whore in the bed. This fits perfectly with the Madonna-Whore complex of society today.
Having a behavior-associated Asian fetish is like saying “Yo, have you noticed that all white dudes are awkward? I hate awkward people, so I’m just going to avoid that entire racial category from now on.” This kind of mindset is never ok even when it’s not overtly aggressive or violent. This is called a micro-aggression.
When someone tells me they have yellow fever/an Asian fetish or even the simple phrase “I’m really into Asian chicks,” I shut that shit down. You know why? Because you’re basically telling me that you will go for any Asian you can get. I’m no longer an individual but your access into this strange, exotic culture that you fantasize about. You know how desperate guys are kind of terrifying? This is like that, but these guys are desperate for a really specific thing. I say really specific because the kind of Asian girls they want, the stereotype that they’re buying into, is quite rare/nonexistent.
On a personal level, Yellow Fever sucks because…
Dating-wise, it’s completely different. It’s like I come with presets or something that people expect out of me. No, I am not quiet. No, I am not submissive. Sure, you’ll have fun in bed but don’t you anyways? How am I supposed to tell whether you like me for me or you like the idea of me? No one likes being an idea; no one likes being representative one an entire group of people. Tokenism. Good for jokes, not for realsies.
I can’t tell if I’m loud and rebellious because I want so much to get away from that stereotype. Whatever differentiates, whatever makes it clear that you cannot categorize me and chase me under your yellow fever. I have opinions and a strong personality. Do not dismiss me as an individual.
In social discourse
This stereotype has unfortunately been perpetuated by the media. Watch this amazing girl, Rachel Rostad, deconstruct Cho Chang in the Harry Potter series:
Sidebar: Along with that video comes a backlash of everyone against everything she says. One of the main concerns for Asian women was that she was misrepresenting Asian women. First of all, no one should ever be responsible for representing their own race, it is the American culture that forces people to think that when a minority is speaking, whatever he/she says can be generalized or taken as an overall opinion of that specific race. No.
This video here proves her amazing intelligence. You go, Rachel.
Here‘s a really good example of the type of shit we put up with.
Yellow fever = fetishization
Also, there are so many porn sites out there and a majority them cater to Asian fetishists. Why? Why is my race so fetishized? Why do I even have to ask a question like that? Not only does it negatively impact me and my ability to judge men on their interest, but it negatively impacts our society in general. You know, the one that claims to be so “colorblind” all the time?
However, there is a difference between preferring Asians and fetishizing Asians. First of all, preferring can be similar to… liking tall guys more, liking blue eyes more, liking blondes, etc. That’s ok because people understand that your preference isn’t dictating your actions; they understand that while you may have certain preferences, you’re not ruling out everything that falls outside of your preferences. If you were doing that, that’s a fetishization.
So here’s an idea. Why don’t we all start getting to know people on a case-by-case basis? Individualism… wasn’t that big back in the day? Stop generalizing. Stop assuming. Start learning.