Reblogged from susurrations
Today I found out that this guy I dated shortly is in a new relationship with another asian person so I did a little digging and apparently his last few relationships have all been with asian people. When I was with him, I never felt fetishized but this does seem really problematic to me. The thing is that I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and I’ve had this fear that maybe some day, some of the guys I’ve dated will say something along the lines of “yeah, I dated an asian once, too. In college” as if I’m some sort of college experiment. But when it comes down to it, I don’t know if I’d rather date a fetishist or someone who thinks of me as some sort of “other” to spice up their otherwise perfectly unblemished, white, love lives.
I live in a primarily white town, and I’ve generally only dated white men, but reading this blog has made me ask myself some really tough questions, that I don’t really have the answers to. So I guess what I’m asking is, when dating primarily white men, what are we supposed to expect?
I’m going to take a crack at answering this, even though it’s an incredibly uncomfortable subject.
By racist standards, we’re supposed to be flattered by fetishist attention. Whenever I complained about that kind of behavior (e.g. men introducing themselves to me by saying “I’ve got a thing for Asian ladies”) even if I used mild language, the general response would be, “what’s wrong with you, that you can’t take a compliment?” I was accused of being a bitch, a prude, a racist, even a sexual fascist.
We’re supposed to expect, seek, and be grateful for this racist positive attention. But if we follow this standard, it’s also incredibly psychologically damaging.
So my advice is don’t expect it. Have a standard that anyone you date should not be a fetishist. You deserve better.
That’s easier said than done :-( so in practical terms:
1) try to weed them out early on. Say plain things like “I don’t like fetishists,” or “fuck, I hate yellow fever,” and see how they react.
2) expand your dating pool. Dating Asian men and other MOC can be difficult because there are also plenty of MOC fetishists, and even if they aren’t fetishists, we ALL still have to struggle with intra-POC and internalized racism. One of the most humiliating experiences of my life was explaining to an Asian man who was a close friend that I wanted to be more than friends with him… but he wasn’t interested, because he was getting into a relationship with a white woman who’d been a former friend. I don’t blame him, I don’t blame her, I don’t blame myself. It still hurt. But dating men who are not white can also be very relieving, in terms of knowing you’re not meeting racist expectations.
3) Stay far away from weeaboos. Don’t meet guys at conventions, anime clubs, almost anything to do with Japanese culture. Same goes for martial arts. Many male fetishists are obsessed either with anime or martial arts.
4) have high standards, but be pragmatic. Sometimes it’s impossible to tell if a person is a fetishist. Sometimes a guy is half a fetishist, but sees the light and realizes what a disgusting racist he is, and quietly changes. This stuff is really really really hard. Blame them, blame racism, but don’t blame yourself.