What’s Wrong With Asian Men?

A Chinese friend of mine is getting married to a German guy next year. I’ll call her Sophie.

When she sent me the invite, I asked Sophie if she prefers interracial dating. She didn’t mince her words:

“It’s not that I haven’t tried dating Asian men, but in my experience they are judgmental, narrow-minded, and passive aggressive.”

Now, it would be easy to just brush off my friend’s statement as a racist generalization. Obviously not all Asian men are not like that. But as in all stereotypes — there’s an element of truth. Recent data corroborates that Asian men aren’t very desirable to other races. Whereas Asian women and White men are extremely desirable.

So what’s wrong with Asian men*?

Let’s look at the common stereotypes.


1. Asian Men Aren’t Masculine

The stereotypical Asian man is not manly.

Sure, if you watch Asian movies (where the whole cast is mostly Asian anyway), the hero is portrayed as the epitome of manliness. But internationally, Asian men have never been portrayed as overflowing with testosterone. Say Asian guy — and we don’t think of a macho guy like Hugh Jackman. We think of a socially-awkward, bespectacled, nerdy programmer.

What are traditional Asian values that don’t gel well with masculinity? How about these?:

  • Keeping your head down and working hard. Not self-promoting.
  • Being humble, often to the point of false self-depreciation.
  • Emphasizing education (and grades) above everything else.
  • Being subservient to authority.
  • Being soft spoken.
  • Avoiding conflict with others.

I’m not saying that to be manly, you need to be a loud-talking, conflict-seeking jerk. But look at some traits we normally associate with manliness: confidence, assertiveness, and speaking boldly. Aren’t they almost polar opposites to stereotypical Asian culture?

The irony is that some of these values which make Asian men less masculine — are the exact same values which make Asian women very desirable.

Is Asian culture the most feminine of all the racial cultures out there? I’m not sure — but I’ve never seen any man other than than an Asian carry a ladies handbag. Neither have I seen boybands from anywhere else in the world as feminine as some of the Asian boybands.


2. Asian Men Are Patriarchal

Asian culture is male dominant. Sons are favored over daughters. Men hold substantially more power. And women are expected to be subservient to men.

While I fully agree that there should be fixed gender roles in a male-female relationship (i.e. a man should be the leader in his relationship), the power balance is extremely lopsided in traditional Asian families.

Patriarchy causes men to be insecure when they see women progressing. Think of all the putdowns you hear from chauvinistic men when they see a strong, sexy woman. And the horrible names that insecure men call women who aren’t interested in them. Or in tragically extreme cases, the women who are hurt and killed in the name of “family honor” — when they decide to marry someone their father doesn’t like.

What does patriarchy have to do with why Asian men aren’t attractive? Well, men who grow up in a patriarchal environment find it difficult to understand modern women. And if they don’t change their antique mentalities — they’re just going to repel them.

Instead — in an increasingly globalized society, women flock to men who give them freedom. Who treat them as equals, rather than servants. Who woo them with sincerity and charm, instead of expecting to own them because they’re the “weaker” sex.

Plus here’s one more thing that’s unattractive about chauvinistic Asian men — they don’t open doors for ladies.


3. Asian Men Are Closed-Minded

Asian men have a reputation for being unadventurous. For being unspontaneous, unromantic and boring too.

Perhaps it’s the long-term implications from growing up in a culture of risk-aversion. Asians (at least not the annoying ones) generally don’t like to stand out from the crowd. Wesley Yang’s brilliant article at nymag.com puts it this way:

“The loudest duck gets shot” is a Chinese proverb. “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” is a Japanese one. Its Western correlative: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Or maybe it’s the negative side of an emphasis of family. Yes, Asians think the world of their parents and want to uphold family honor. But what happens when Asian tiger moms are overprotective and get overly involved? What if the timid Asian father holds his son back from fully exploring the world?

Right. Our Asian male hero might just remain stuck in the sixty-year-old thinking patterns of his parents. He might view anything out of the ordinary as too much. He plays safe all the time.

And what about the all-important topic of sex?

Not the Asian man’s forte for sure.

It’s not that we all need to be promiscuous freaks who use Fifty Shades of Grey as a playbook. That’s for every couple to decide for themselves. But Asian culture makes sex all hush hush and taboo. It’s not healthy. And it doesn’t encourage Asian men (and women) to be good lovers.


* * * * * * * *


Is there hope for the Asian male? I think so. But instead of getting upset at why the world’s women view us as least attractive, we need to accept there’s certain parts of our culture that should be improved. And to work doubly hard at dispelling negative stereotypes people have about us. Women will love us for that.

Here’s my beliefs: It’s possible to be assertive, without being arrogant. To be academically proficient, without being socially awkward. And to be fully Asian, while being fully man.

I’m biased of course. After all, I’m just another Asian man.

But at least my friend Sophie — who’s getting married internationally soon — used to like me too.


Do you agree that modern Asian women prefer internationals to Asian men? What are some of your pet peeves about unattractive Asian men?

*I use the term “Asian” very loosely in the article above. I realize that there are huge differences in different countries i.e. Japanese culture is very different from Indonesian culture. But for the purposes of this article, “Asian” represents my knowledge and experience about Southeast and East Asians.

The original version of this article first appeared at Emmagem

Pic Credit: “CNBLUE in Thailand” by Fizhasan

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  • Um no. I’m a Vietnamese guy raised so fuck en white I can’t even relate to Asian women anymore. I work as a software engineer and I love technology. I work with a lot of white guys in tech and yes many of them love Asian women. I guess its because they love being caretakers and having a traditional lady. Me on the other hand, I find Asian women too materialistic and boring. Yes they are beautiful but they come across as too me as passive and easily startled. Most want a nice stable Asian dude that they can bring home to impress Mom and Dad. So when they meet me, they can’t handle my personality. White girls like me though, I am loads of fun.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment about Asian men. I am a Chinese woman, and having dated a few Asian guys- boy, are they hard to deal with, sometimes! The number 1 issue that led to my recent relationship breaking off, was precisely what you mentioned: how judgmental and narrow-minded he was. After giving it so many chances, his ideals, his thoughts, how he extrapolated certain things (and yes, during a heated argument, he used the word “extrapolate”) blew my mind. In my opinion, they seem to have this rather narrow “tunnel vision”…A very logical path, one-track minded – that if it veered off the equation of A+B must equal C, everything is off-set…They spiral into thinking, “OH NO! That can’t happen!” To me, Asian men are raised with super high expectations, and growing up in an Asian family myself – parents are highly judgmental, we don’t talk about our feelings, we don’t have time to be vulnerable or open up to people. Heck, my parents to this day don’t like when there is conversation at the dinner table. It is all about 1,2,3 efficiency – eat your dinner, and skip all that fluff….Life needs to move steadily along. The emotional side of us is completely non-existent. And I think that’s the biggest problem. As women (let’s not even talk about Asian women) can’t connect to them; they’re taught not to speak about feelings (or else they’re viewed as “weaklings”), have opinions, and are just taught to just stand there and be this “silent warrior.” In addition, the primary emphasis all of our lives have been placed on academics, financial stability and status. So, that is most important to them (as ingrained into our skulls by our traditional parents). They’re (or should I say, “we”) taught that if we’ve reached all these goals in such a linear fashion, then life is “fulfilled.” But, after dating such a judgmental Asian man, and witnessing his linear way of thinking COME TO LIFE– I only reached 2 conclusions: That he was judged harshly as a kid, and that he might have some insecurities/ have been burned in the past. Not to keep knocking on Asian men, but my observation on them is this: They haven’t done the work/placed emphasis on their personal lives to DEVELOP, PROGRESS, GROW their ability to establish deep and loving relationships. Relationships means how well they relate to another person, not just on themselves. Of course, this is only spotlighting on Asian-Americans, who tend to have a more Westernized outlook. Asians in other countries, might have very different ideas about what it is to be a man, but here in America – I’ve gotta say that while they have big houses, several academic degrees, a few cars in their driveways….all of this MERIT to their name — the biggest obstacle in their lives, is their failure to do any personal work …Doing work on becoming more emotionally intelligent, becoming more aware and in-tune of how to grow and develop a successful relationship with members of the opposite sex, becoming emotionally aware of how to navigate and show their feelings — because these are all the foundations towards creating a bond, or connection with us females. And, after dating a few of them recently …I’ve just found time and time again that – yes, their “judgmental-ness” “narrow-mindedness” all stems from the Asian culture in general, but more importantly, a failure to recognize, develop, and grow interpersonal relationships, strengthen verbal and non-verbal communication skills, allow themselves to FEEL for just a second – whatever that emotion is, at the moment. The “silent warrior” is hard to emotionally connect to, their consistent (and sometimes unwarranted) criticisms and failures in keeping an open-mind is what stops them from creating deeper relationships with females – which means, likelihood of being successful with us Asian gals decreases. Like a commenter said above, Asian men are great on paper – their resumes look great, you can count on them to do any job right – BUT — the deeper emotional connection isn’t there. They’re hard-wired to believe this formula: Go to school, get the degree, make money, buy a house, invest, etc = The love of my life falling straight into my arms. Merit does not necessarily mean keeping any lady. It sure helps, but that’s not keeps them there. What I’ve said to my Asian guy friends, and even my brother: Stop it with this madness – Dare to go out and do something that scares you. So what if you won’t get up early the next day for work, or if your boss yells at you?? Do something a little crazy, dare to speak up, and dare to allow yourself to feel something. Judgment is only a reflection/projection of how they’re feeling inside and I think it’s a defense mechanism they use to prevent themselves from getting hurt. Linear thinking gets you nowhere, and that’s what I found so frustrating with them – I couldn’t be myself, without him “extrapolating” things from a single isolated incident…. The judgmentalness, narrow-minded statements just didn’t make me feel good. It made me feel unaccepted and simply discouraged from sharing my deepest thoughts and feelings. And guess what happens? You move further away from each other, relationship doesn’t work because the emotional bonds aren’t strong enough to keep the woman in (vice versa). It sure was frustrating, but this guy even criticized the fact that I didn’t hang out with large groups of people! I am more of an introvert, and get socially anxious, therefore I have small groups of friends and would prefer to be 1:1 with them. Now, THAT was even something he picked at. Good riddance.
    As a lasting note – Yes, I agree 130% with your stereotype of Asian men, and I think they can come out of this rut. I really do. But the golden questions are: Are they willing to do the work that is necessary? Are they willing to work on themselves personally (and not professionally, for once?) The personal work is the most scary, and hardest thing to work on….It’s intangible, unpredictable, and filled with ups and downs — maybe that’s why it’s easier to focus on your professional, rather than personal downfalls, missteps and weaknesses. Take the road less traveled, the unknown. You might have a little more fun, and that just might crack the code.

    • Wow, I actually sometimes hate myself for falling to stereotypes so much in this article, but I guess there’s some truth in it too. Still a lot for me to think about. Loved this line of yours: “Stop it with this madness – Dare to go out and do something that scares you.”

  • Reflecting back on the way my parents relationship was and growing up in that, and having been around and shown interest in Asian men earlier in my life. I think overall women are not really treasured or taken seriously as much in Asian cultures. Though this does exist in Western world as well, I have found the good men to be more generous and loyal. I think White guys are generally able to accept more things about a woman and not take things personally than an asian guy can, like if she has some weird quirks that don’t follow mainstream society, or pursuing some life purpose/goals, wanting/not wanting kids, or things like bisexuality, etc. There is more acceptance of the woman as a human being rather than how she “should be”. And I think that is so liberating to be around, feels like you can breathe and not have to pretend to be someone you’re not to win approval. The best way I can put it is you treat each other like real people. And I think no matter what gender or culture background, we like to be accepted as who we are authentically.

    • “The best way I can put it is you treat each other like real people. And I think no matter what gender or culture background, we like to be accepted as who we are authentically.” <-- Amen to this. Thank you!

  • Asian woman here…where to begin? First off, I find it incredibly hypocritical that your friend labels Asian men as “judgmental” and “narrow-minded” despite clearly exhibiting these same behaviours herself. Secondly, I’m surprised that someone who calls herself your friend would say that to your face. It makes me incredibly embarrassed when I see other Asian women openly insulting Asian men (which is unfortunately a rather common occurrence within Western countries…not sure what the situation is like back in Asia).

    As for what’s “wrong with Asian men”…there’s nothing wrong with you guys at all. In my experience, Asian women who prefer white men simply do so because of internalized racism/the belief that white people are superior. It’s as simple as that.

    Finally, as someone who was raised a very white neighbourhood, I laugh whenever I hear Asian women state that white men are more gender egalitarian. Having listened to many white men explain the rationale behind their preference for Asian women, I can confirm that the number one reason that gets cited is that we’re supposedly sooo submissive and docile. Or that we’re just easier to get with (ew). Either way, not a good look.

    Are the people commenting on this blog mostly Asians from Asia?? I’ve noticed that many of the recent immigrants I know tend to have idealistic views of the West and its people. Take it from an Asian woman who’s grown up in Canada, white men are not all that.

    • Hey Anita,

      Hmmm… I think the comments come from a wide variety of locations. Thanks for pointing out that sometimes people have an idealistic view of the West. Hopefully people today are well adjusted enough to know there’s issues with every culture. The older I get, I sense the problem is more in men just being patriarchal and sexist in general; not bounded by culture.

  • QUOTE “It’s not that I haven’t tried dating Asian men, but in my experience they are judgmental, narrow-minded, and passive aggressive.”

    It is just an opinion, and everyone is entitled to harbour their own opinions… Humility is a very important trait, IMHO

  • carrying a womyn’s handbag makes you un-masculine? i’m white and hypermasculine, therefore i don’t give a f— what people say or think if i cross my legs, say “awwwwwww” at baby llama videos, kiss my cat on the mouth, or walk around with bae’s handbag and/or luggage if she needs the help (for the record i insist we only travel with carry on). https://i.ytimg.com/vi/1pT0cpO2FaE/maxresdefault.jpg (lookup “schooly d aqua teen handbag” if the link is down)

    but lol it’s true, you see couples in hong kong and 4 times out of 5 the womyn has her arms crossed and looks angry and the guy is following behind subserviently with her shopping bags and purse. lol

  • Confucian value… obey your parents like a robot, give up your free will, worship your dead ancestor or else they’ll disown you, be paranoid superstitious, be good-person and humble without realizing you’re the hypocrite, be hard-worker without any vision/dream/purpose.
    Family Value…. education/moneys/materialistic is everything, no affection, get high paying job, no one care about your struggle, no hugs, goodnight kiss and “Love” 🙁
    Sorry for listing negative thing in Asian tradition has been degrading the lifestyle of Asian men. In my own experience as Vietnamese-American in Houston, Majority of Asian men are materialistic and close-minded like in your article section 3. The sad part they’re “selective hearing” and “favoritism” If you’re rich and powerful they’ll take on your side (it can be same apply to Asian women). If you’re poor and unpopular they’ll look down on you with cold mean looking eyes and walk away treating you like nobody.
    Family lifestyle is another root of problem to nowady how they treated male children, like for eldest they should be more responsible to holding the family and fill up with false hope assurance that someday their children will taken care of them. Tiger Mom mentality is huge issue today how they keep pressure the kids in education getting good grade, what is missing for Asian family culture is giving “unconditional love” and “respect”. They only care about make the kids to be biggest star to show off the world how proud of my child is, but the kids cannot able to live with their expectation. Yet there are many successful Asian men, but what about their marriage life? wife beating, abusive father, no tolerance to disobedience child, Do as I said attitude.
    Overall this is my thought insight and opinion. I believe there are some “good” very very “few” Asian men are not fall into this category because they know the truth and lies they live through in lifetime experience. They able to free themselves from mindless, shackle tradition been hold onto them. Someday if you have a family and raising kids always tells them the truth to get away of this dreadful Godforsaken generation. No, you cannot change those mindless, delusional, hard-headed arrogance prick, but only GOD can break and change them. The only matter is ‘yourself’ and your future generation if you decide to change. God Bless
    Lastly My opinion about Asian carry a ladies handbag. My respond is what the hell wrong in this world… just let lady carry their own bag. Its that the kind of false chivalry they’re practicing on? Afraid of mugger & burglar taking lady handbag? Why not do holding a door and welcome with nice smile. Say a kind words and compliment (Please correct me on that is it true that Asian men are very poor in vocabulary of saying nice words, don’t want to assault you guy or anything.)

    • Hey Anpan,

      Thanks for your comment. There is certainly a little bit of truth in stereotypes, and as Asian men ourselves I definitely uphold our right to talk about the not-so-good things. That being said, I don’t think there are “some” or “few” good Asian men. I have met tons of good Asian men everywhere. Definitely not perfect — but definitely good men.

  • You don’t know how happy I am to finally see an article written by an Asian male that actually addresses the issues Asian males face WITHOUT shaming Asian females. [Usually, articles written by Asian males about that topic end up using sexist remarks against Asian females to “uplift” Asian males while choosing to ignore how misogyny and patriarchal beliefs and practices negatively affect Asian communities. (This is especially true with how Asian-American males treat Asian-American females.) I also noticed that those kinds of Asian guys tend to be the same guys that reject Asian girls that are interested in them just because those girls were either not attractive enough, too tall, not thin enough, too dark, not curvy enough, too heavy, too smart/educated, not feminine enough, too athletic/muscular, and/or a feminist.] I have seen way too many Asian males that completely deny that they get treated better than their sisters and/or refuse to acknowledge how toxic their parents’ relationships are (if their parents don’t have a healthy marriage/relationship). It’s rare for me to see an Asian guy actually acknowledge that there are aspects of the Asian culture that needs to be fixed in order to improve the relationship (not just the romantic kind) between Asian men and women.
    I personally don’t agree with your opinions about how gender roles are needed, how men shouldn’t hold their girlfriend’s purses, or the implication that all Asian men should look traditionally masculine. I don’t know about other ethnicities, but in the Vietnamese communities, constant reinforcement of traditional gender roles contribute to the issues Vietnamese people face in regards to their relationships and families. (They also contribute to the issues Asian LGBTQI+ people face in the Asian communities, but I know that is not what the article is about.) Numerous Vietnamese females have witnessed their mothers getting emotionally abused and cheated on by their fathers. Also, I have never seen Asian guys carry their girlfriend’s purses; in the rare incidents I do see a man carry his girlfriend’s or wife’s purse/bags they are usually white. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a man that chooses to carry a “man-purse” and/or not dress in a traditionally masculine way. [Forcing someone to dress a certain way just to please you is never a good idea. I have heard a lot of sad and terrible things from men that were FORCED to dress in a traditionally masculine way and/or adopt traditionally masculine activities while rejecting the traditionally feminine activities they enjoy doing (e.g. cooking, sewing, etc.). A majority of them end up becoming too absorbed by the toxic masculinity and it has negatively and significantly affected all of their relationships and marriages. A lot of women would prefer if their boyfriends or husbands would use their own bags to carry their own stuff rather than constantly ask/force the girlfriend/wife to hold their stuff for them in her purse so that their purses would not be so crowded and heavy. (Also, the only men I’ve seen carry “man-purses” are white European men.) In spite of the fact that every country has their own unique standards of masculinity and femininity, gender expression is separate from gender identity and biological sex. I think there are several ways to express being a man/woman/person that doesn’t necessarily conform to societal standards. As long as it is not harming anyone, one can choose whether to dress traditionally or not traditionally to what is associated with their assigned gender at birth.]
    Overall, I think you mentioned A LOT of good points. (It’s not completely flawless, but you hit the mark numerous times.) Reading that article has reminded me of the SO MANY Asian men I have met in my life. I especially like how you point out how it is possible to be assertive without being an arrogant jerk. I know there are a lot of issues Asian males face, especially in Western societies (particularly American society). I wish that the Asian males who feel sad/mad from not being able to find a girlfriend would listen to articles that critique how certain aspects and beliefs of Asian cultures contribute to what they are facing instead of just shaming Asian women and/or listening to some scummy pick-up artist that is just using their insecurities and frustration to make a quick buck by teaching those “nice guys” how to be an “alpha male” (which the pick-up artist claims means an assertive guy but really just means an abusive jerk).
    {While reading your article, I remember seeing this documentary about leftover women in China and how it led me to an article about Chinese women dating white men. I remember in the documentary a lot of those women interviewed said they ended up becoming leftover women because they were either too educated, too tall, not thin enough, too heavy, too dark, and/or not feminine enough for the Chinese men they were interested in; other reasons included they were widows or have divorced from their previous husbands. In the article, I noticed that a lot of the women interviewed mentioned that they liked dating white men because they were not as macho (meaning more in tune with their emotions and caring rather than stoic and expecting women to serve them; yes the word “macho” was used by them). A good portion of those women interviewed in the article also mentioned they were leftover women. I found it ironic that a good portion of white men want to date Asian women for traditional values while Asian women that want to date white men do so for non-traditional values. I was not aware that China has a problem with macho culture, but I guess I should have known since Vietnamese culture is heavily influenced by Chinese culture (and though it may not look like that to Americans, Vietnamese communities definitely have a problem with macho culture, especially with the most toxic parts about it). Also, probably thanks to YouTube, there have recently been an increase of westernized Asian males that are actually tackling issues within the Asian communities (such as misogyny) while showing how there are various ways to be Asian (and Asian females are noticing this happily). However, depending on where you live and which ethnicity you are referring to (don’t get me started on the Vietnamese “nice guys” that complain about Vietnamese girls dating and marrying white or East Asian guys), there are just not enough of those kinds of westernized Asian males in Western societies (I’m referring to America since I am not sure if it applies to other Western countries) right now. I think over time, there will be more of those kinds of westernized Asian males that eventually there will be enough to counteract the numerous types of misogynistic Asian guys Asian girls have to deal with. [I know your article deals with East and Southeast Asians. For my comment, I am referring to Southeast, East, and South Asians since their cultures do share a lot of the same beliefs and issues. I am aware that South Asian cultures are not as similar with East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. I am also aware that South Asians typically don’t look like East and Southeast Asians.]}

    • Hey L.T.R.,

      Thanks for your very long and detailed response. Yeah, I actually wrote this article when I was a little younger, so I’m probably a little softer on certain points now (e.g. It’s true that there’s no real harm in carrying a woman’s handbag — though I still think it looks damn ugly :P).

      I especially like your balanced view, and how you seem to have a lot of experience from multiple cultures. Done a lot of traveling I’m guessing?

      Loved this one too:
      “As long as it is not harming anyone, one can choose whether to dress traditionally or not traditionally to what is associated with their assigned gender at birth.”

      I have much to learn. Thank you for writing in!

  • I find your article is very delightful and right on point about Malaysian guys in general. I’m not talking bad about them, i just find most of them are like what you described. (although i don’t really care for not looking masculine, Hugh Jackman isn’t my type. i prefer James Mcavoy/Nicholas Hoult type of men :P) that’s one of the reasons i find it hard to date Malaysian guy. i can’t be with someone who wants me to be all pretty and empty inside. i need intelligent conversation, equal share of responsibilities and value me wayyy past my look (which is not that valuable btw XD) i can’t imagine spending half an hour with the typical guy, much less my whole life.

    I’m not saying there aren’t Malaysian guys as opposed to the article. they are. they’re just very hard to find. or married already. lols. no worries, i still have hopes in Malaysian guys. the search will continue for me i guess :)) Kudos for your writing though!

    • Thanks Swan,

      Yes it’s true that not all guys are like that. I was hoping to raise awareness so that us guys can do better!

  • I think women who stick with westerners wanted to go overseas. Moreover, their currency is more valueable and potentially able to better provide for the kids in future. Their social standing will be higher if their husbands is western and be equal as expatriate locally.

    • Hey Tag,

      There might be some truth in that. Some women seem to be “social climbers,” and marrying into certain groups of society would help with that.

  • Okay I’ve been trying to understand why the Vietnamese man I’m dating is so critical of me and judges me. Between your article and this one, https://www.washingtonpost.com/whats-so-great-about-judgmental-guy-nothing/2012/06/08/gJQAESsPOV_story.html?utm_term=.c2ac3f65dcfe#comments , I actually unlocked a truth from my unconscious. This is what I truly believe. I dont think I’ve ever really made a connection between my subconscious and and my life. Not on a scale this large anyways.

    Growing up I had very judgmental parents and I often felt like I was walking on eggshells with them. I bent over backwards to please them and do whatever for their approval. Once, we got a new treadmill and they firmly told me it was not a toy and to not treat it as such. So instead of just focusing on the treadmill, in the front of my mind is the fear of making a mistake. Of course I messed up and fell on the treadmill and sent flying into the couch because of the fucking pressure I was constantly under. I truly believe this childhood experience is why I’m going through this now, how I attracted this relationship, and why I couldn’t see how unacceptable and damaging this dynamic has been playing out in my life.

    • I’m really sorry to hear that Ash. I sincerely hope you’ll be able to get over the childhood experience, and have healthier relationships in future. All the best.

  • As generalizations go, your article may ring true, but let’s dig a little deeper.

    Just this year, I tied the knot with a German guy but my first serious bf was a Malaysian Chinese. We had a good long-term relationship, until I decided that I wanted to do something more adventurous. I blame the end of our relationship to timing than anything else.

    During and after my travels, I found it hard to connect with local guys (apart from my good guy friends), simply because they’ve no idea how to handle my unpredictable mindset and constantly prodding conversations. Our conversations became very stilted and one-sided because they didn’t contribute much to them. So you could say, I found them boring, uninspiring and stifling. They’d always reach for topics they know well–work, cars, food, vacations, finance–and rant about them instead of looking at these topics from a different perspective.

    Having said that, I believe this might not come down to just a Malaysian Chinese or Asian guy thing but rather, a general trait of guys who don’t venture out of their comfort zones. I’ve met many equally sheltered Americans, Brits, Australians, Germans, French, etc.

    And between my husband and I, I feel that I’m the stronger-willed, non-domesticated, louder-spoken version (when speaking in English of course) than he. So there goes the masculine stereotype of non-Asian men out of the window. 🙂

    And to an Asian guy’s defense, I think the women like their handbags held. Subservient nature but the Asian girls dig it. :p

    • Thanks Ying for dropping by! Always a pleasure.

      Anyway, the more people have commented on this article, and the more I’ve thought about it and opened my eyes — the more I’m convinced that it’s less of an Asian-problem, but more of a Patriarchal problem. Men living privileged lives in a man’s world.

      Thank you for saying this: “I believe this might not come down to just a Malaysian Chinese or Asian guy thing but rather, a general trait of guys who don’t venture out of their comfort zones.”

      I still think men carrying women’s handbags is horrible to see though. 😛

  • Hey Mr Stingy,

    I liked your observations. I’m a person from a country which shall not be named, because people when they hide behind the internet can be shockingly offensive with impunity.

    I live in Toronto, Canada. I have seen many Asian people in Canada around me, I mean, a lot. To the point where schools and colleges are known as “Chinada”.

    So when it comes to the listing of behaviours of Asian men in the first section (keep your head down and work hard, focus on grades, and avoid conflicts”, that is exactly what I have seen. It’s not only among the older, first generation immigrants, it’s also the same among the second generation Chinese as well.

    Now that is not necessarily a bad thing. The Chinese are very polite (the men I mean, the women are of course enormously polite) and well behaved, and their neighbourhoods are safe. They make good and efficient work colleagues (and I’ve heard they make good students, and the University of Toronto is so Chinese, that white guys shun it, saying that they can’t cope up with the Chinese pressure there), So the Chinese boys, they all become successful, so they all live in multi-million dollar houses and own more than half of premium cars out here. And their work ethic is good, and they are reliable (which is why they get all the well paying jobs so easily)…

    But as people, they’re unspiring.. I couldn’t make a single Chinese guy friend. They appear detached and uninterested in anything beyond the practical or the useful. Small talk is virtually non-existent. Casual banter? No no. And a political or religious discussion? Oh my God NEVER.

    Work, study, work, study, work, study, sleep. Extra-curricular activities are done for “achievement” and they often goaded into it by their parents, rather than by their own desire.

    Maybe sometimes an arbitrary discussion about the Blue Jays. It’s hard to break that Chinese mechanical, robotic, exterior and get into their minds. It’s like they are playing poker all their life.

    When they talk, it’s the same – mundane and practical and, in a word, boring. And in Toronto, which is the boring capital of the world (or at least the white world), this dullness becomes a contagious disease.

    I don’t want to offend Chinese men. I like Chinese people, and I respect them a lot and I don’t want to make a single hurtful comment about them. And I get along very well with Chinese women. But boy Oh boy, Chinese men? They are a hard shell to crack.

    I used to wonder why so many Chinese girls seek out non-Chinese men? Isn’t it insulting to throw themselves at white men (who just like to use them, because that’s all that those square-headed (and now mostly bearded) white Torontonians like, or so I’ve heard) like they do? But maybe given the dull personality (and likely lack of passion) of so many Chinese young men, I can understand their situation now.

    • Hey SB,

      Thanks for dropping the comment.
      It was painful for me to read it. I’m Malaysian Chinese (though not from China), but we still share many traits. Of course, racist broad generalizations (like I did in my article) are never 100% correct, but I will say there’s a grain of truth behind every stereotype.

      I am hopeful though that you’ll manage to crack the Chinese men shell, and potentially make some friends with them someday? Beyond the surface, I believe there are some really cool people deep inside.

      p.s. I hear that getting drunk together might help break the ice…

      • They’re “Hopeless”. Yet they have their point, that which the western culture does not value/comprehend. My 60 years of life experience:-)

        • Thanks Fire Monkey,

          Appreciate the comment and your sharing. Wasn’t my intention to bash any one race, but my point was that all races can learn from each other and improve.

    • You’re 99.9% accurate in your observation about Chinese (especially men) and women. And I’m a Chinese man. I used to reside in TO (Bayview/Yorkmills), now in sunny California (coast) . All my Chinese relatives/friends are EXACTLY what/how you depicted. Yet, I care less for them; but deep inside me, I always question myself, “what’s wrong with me”. Then, I’m happily married (30 years) a very successful, classy, old-schooled, yet atheist/agnostic, “white” lady, who is ALSO very conscious of her, personal hygiene/grooming, manners and etiquette. I rest my case:-(

  • Good to see this article. I don’t think this is culture related but family education and the exposure of person.

    • Thanks Foon. That’s why I think people of all cultures should mingle, and learn the best things from each other!

  • You are definitely not racist and narrow-minded. And I don’t agree that this is being fanatic to western culture. This has nothing to do with comparing cultures. My point of view is that this is just one piece of lesson some of us may find it useful and wanna pick it up as we go along our lives. I find it annoying how a lot of people remain to keep silent just because they thought it’s gonna be seen as some sort of biased views or provocation. Truth is, everyone has the option to think free and express thoughts. If one is contented in living the “asian stereotypes” and feel no desire to change, very well. What about the rest of us who dislike living under such expectations but are told to “follow the rule”, or you’ll be condemned or made guilty with remarks like “idolizing western cultures” or “disobedient”. I guess there are a lot of us, “slaves of stereotypical and limiting thoughts” living under the shadow of this culture. I’m one of them. Something needs to be done. People need to voice out. We are not being unappreciative of our born place or culture. We are just a group of people conscious about constantly learning and finding the best way we want to live our lives. We are not rebels. We don’t post bad words or look down on our own culture. We respect each and every human’s right of living and adopting thoughts. And to all the critics, we hope you do as well.
    *these are just my 2 cents. I’m not starting off a debate of any sort*

    • Hello Zhe Wei,

      Thanks for your comment. Yeah, I believe it’s all about learning from the best of each culture and becoming the most awesome world citizen.

  • I tend to agree with the generalizations in your article. I’m mid 30s Chinese and have diversed friends and work abroad before. I find dating Asian men hard because they don’t know what they want and they do not know how to deal with a woman who is of equal financial and educational standing. I don’t know if it’s itimidating to date a stronger woman or the fact that there is less role model around.
    When I was in the States, my colleagues had no problem accepting a wife who is the bread winner and the husband who is the home minister. I also find more Asian men are metrosexual to the extent that they will ask their dad to change a flat tire. I think the other issue is men don’t talk about all these things with other men like how women consult their girlfriends on relational issues. So we have a group of Asian men who are clueless about what women are looking for and also people who they can relate as role models.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Actually it sometimes pains me to go back and read this article. I wrote about (unfair, perhaps) generalizations about “Asians.”

      All I can say is I hope people from all cultures (Asian or otherwise) continue to grow and learn the good things from each other. No culture is perfect; but I hope we can all be global citizens.

  • As a Chinese woman living in Hong Kong mainly, it pains me to say that this article rings quite true to my experiences. While HK is already quite progressive in terms of gender equality in the Asia, and the guys I know are already the well-educated ones in a competitive professional program, I am time and again disappointed by how my fellow colleagues, -generally perfectly sensible and kind people- talk about females. While there is little (overt) skepticism in women’s capability here, slut-shaming girls who sleep around while boasting about a guy’s multiple conquest to crude laughter is not uncommon. While in reality no guy or girl would like a partner with a long string of “conquests”, it is apparently “cool” for HK guys (and more hearbreakingly, girls) to call these females “public toilets” (for semen deposition I suppose), and apparently my friend who goes out with a stable Caucasian guy “has a taste for exotic sausages”.
    It is true to my experience that when pursuing a long-term relationship, Asian guys are generally more invested than foreigners, both in commitment taking care of their partner. However that comes under the pretext of pervasive gender stereotypes, unwritten rules that both parties are not to break. It’s always sweet when guys (Asian or Western) treat women gently, be it opening the doors for her or paying for a meal, but then I can’t honestly tell when the behavior stems from respect and a simple show of goodwill, and when from the patronizing demonstration of an “Alpha male” towards His Woman, the weaker dependent he needs to protect and guard, like a coveted bird or jewel under his manly arm.
    Do Westerns get flustered and irritated and go “you are not supposed to do that” when I hold the door open for them too in return? Do you guys feel unnerved by a girl flirting or dating you first? Am I to bring men under my control by demurely stroking their man-ego? Am I supposed to *want* to bring men under my control? Will it make you more of a man if I am less of a person? Am I ungrateful to aspire to both career and intimacy?
    Do you guys prefer virgins? If I choose to loose my virginity do I loose some of my value as a human being too? Am I a good I should sell unsold, just as no one would use soiled napkins and second-handed shoes? Is sex is a something men take away rather than what I freely give, an equal and delightful experience I actively share and gain? Will you dump your love after *making love* to her, because the very fact that she yields means she is an “easy” girl? Would you need women to guard their purity jealously to save for the right guy to take? Do you call these things because this is “Respect” and “Protection” for women, do you call it “Chasity”? Am I a slut for liking sex too? Do you like sex? Is resistance just token resistance? Does “no” mean “yes”?
    The few relationships I’ve had the honour to have were all respectful and mature fortunately, but they are not the rule from what I see. I can’t possibly rant it to my guy friends or even most of the girls of course, or else I’m either a slut, a second-handed napkin, or have a taste for sucking exotic sausages and getting fucked by such. (No direct Cantonese translation for “fucking” a Caucasian man though -females can only get fucked. We can’t fuck.)
    Or maybe it’s just my internalized racism talking. But luckily racism is okay too I guess, given that I have a gloriously intact hymen shielding my feminine vagina from gentlemen dicks, and it’s the proudest badge I should wear on my not-too-revealing cleavage.

    • Thanks for your comment Alexis,

      I wish I had some of the answers. That being said, the more I re-read this article, and also the comments/feedback people send me about it (a lot of them negative 🙂 ), the more I feel like the problem is less with Asian men, and more of just men being patriarchal generally. I think this happens in most cultures…

      • That’s very true Mr-Stingy, I was worried that my comment might have come off as offensive -I kept assuming that a non-Asian wrote this article, and it just proves how blinding stereotypes can be.
        It just so happens many of us experience firsthand that somehow, patriarchal men are indeed vastly over-represented in the Asian locality @@ and it’s the one absolute deal-breaker that is very hard to shake off, unless these guys were abroad for significant periods of time.
        I don’t think most of the feedback are negative, given that criticisms are intrinsic to the nature of this (almost taboo) topic that deals with race, stereotypes, gender, tradition all in one go! 🙂
        It is a sensitive, humorous and uncannily authentic read! Thank you for writing it! The very fact that you are an Asian guy and men and women take the time to comment is, I think, already an applause to your insight.

        • Thanks Alexis,

          Yeah, to be honest I made some overly-broad generalizations, and some of that criticism was warranted. I’ve actually thought of taking this post down many times — but at the same time, if an Asian guy isn’t brave enough to “criticize” his own kind (Asian guys), then I’m just behaving exactly as per stereotype right?

          p.s. I’ve never lived abroad — but I like to think that the Internet/reading can open our minds up to new things!

    • Alexis… I’m worried about you. You sound like you have a lot of resentment and rage inside of you and you needed an outlet, and I’m glad this platform helped you to vent. But, take it from another Asian girl who’s born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and travelled around the world my entire life…. If you believe that many Caucasian men from all over the world don’t do those things you accused HK/Asian men are doing, you are really close-minded or just in-denial, and that will eventually cost you… Please travel more, and I hope you try to see deep down how much human beings are alike. There are good and bad people in every culture/race, and I hope one day you find the person you deserve.

  • I see a lot of truth in your assessment, and I think everyone prior to dating someone (cross cultural or not) has to go into a relationship honestly: what the hell are you looking for in this other person, and what should they recognize readily about you?

    I’m a very strong-willed, Caucasian female with a forthright personality, yet I’ve dated 3 Asian men seriously (a Korean for 1 year; a Chinese for almost 5 years; Vietnamese currently and will be married next year). “Dated” a white guy for a couple months in between the Chinese and Vietnamese guys; honestly couldn’t take it (ended up in the emergency room after enduring a massive stress migraine due to the whole debacle). I soon learned why I prefered Asian men, and I knew what I was looking for after that. I love the characteristics of a traditional Asian mindset….but I knew what to ask of my future partners: is the Asian guy looking past my looks and appreciating MY mindset? That was the problem with my first 2 boyfriends; they liked my domesticity, but my honesty and black-and-white way of thinking? Not so much….

    Of course not all Asian guys want a girl with a passive personality who’s going to keep her mouth shut (after all, my fiancée loves me for the fact I’m headstrong; he is still getting used to my stony attitude, but….); but I seriously think Asian males need to be honest with themselves and understand Western culture doesn’t demand of its women what many Asian cultures expect from theirs. It was heartbreaking to go through that with my first 2 boyfriends, and it was more upsetting that it was only I that picked up on this fact, not both of us.

    • Hey LuftWaffle,

      Thanks for dropping by. Every time I re-read this article I keep wondering to myself, “was I being racist and narrow-minded?” when I wrote it? The answer is probably yes, but I think there’s some truth in it as well. I think it’s folly in our globalized world today to not understand how different cultures behave (generally), and not adapt.

      Again, in my experience, “Asian” culture tends to be a lot less outspoken than “Western” culture, but I’m glad your fiance loves you for who you are (and is adapting to the parts that he doesn’t love so much). Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and I wish you the best!

  • This is why I hate the word “ASIAN” before deciding that asian guys are all those things listed, has your friend ever dated a bhutanese, tibetan (buddhist), indonesian( Muslim), balinese (hindu), filipino( Catholic), thai, cambodian, laotian, burmese guy (buddhist) before coming to conclusion that all asians share these stated characteristics? if no she has no right to brush all asians with the same brush as if we share the same cultures. There is no such thing as “asian values” or “asian culture” , Asian values was a word made up by former prime minister of singapore, Lee Kwan Yew to refer specifically refer to confucian values, which in know way relects all the diversity of cultural values through out asia. Also not all asian cultures are patriarchal, many infact, such as the minorities in southern china are actually matriarchal. By using the word asian is like using the word british to generalise how spanish, german, italians behave and act.

    • Thanks for the comments. Interesting to hear about the matriarchal minorities about Southern China. I know at least one minority in Malaysia that is female-dominant.

      That’s the downside of making broad generalizations (which both my friend and I are guilty of here). It’s never going to be true for every single person. The funny thing though about commonly-held broad generalizations: there’s usually a bit of truth in them too.

    • Lee Kuan Yew was a terrible man, he really was a “white banana” so he really had no right to use the term “Asian values”. He was definitely very patriarchal, and only now is Singaporean society recovering from the damage he has caused them and the Stockholm syndrome he had forced upon his people.

  • I have to say your perspective is almost completely from a western point of view. The real sign of a man, is going to work every day and providing for his family, not how much they can lift at the gym. Speaking boldly? I have no idea how that applies to being manly. A man who let’s his actions speak is much more like it to me. Being assertive? At what? At work in business, I think asian men are fine here. Being closed minded which I suppose goes along with being uncreative and boring, really? 3000 plus years of Chinese culture is closed minded? Japan home of so much innovation in fashion, food, technology is closed minded? Your thinking to me is assuming somehow that western culture is superior. Just because we live in a time and a place that western culture is prevalent doesn’t mean culturally it’s superior. I love the western origin of science and logic but no way do I think that what it values as a man is somehow better and especially in the USA.

    • Hey Eiji,

      It wasn’t my intention to compare Asian and Western cultures. Neither Asian or Western culture is superior to the other. There are obvious imperfections in both.
      What I was getting at is — on an individual basis — every man should learn from other cultures, the good parts of course. I was also picking on 3 specific issues which I see a lot in my Asian male counterparts, which are routinely criticized by my Asian female counterparts.

      Yes, definitely not all Asian men are like this. But that’s the risk of writing a difficult article talking about stereotypes. Because stereotypes are never fair. Broad generalizations are never fair. But sometimes, there’s a little truth in them.

      p.s. Thanks for dropping by and the constructive criticism. I really appreciate this: Even though you disagree with me, you wrote things out so eloquently.

  • I have to agree with you that everything boils down to mindset. I have a good bunch of male and female friends who are very socially capable and yet they are mostly single in their late twenties. Sadly, most men can’t refrain from being judgemental and appreciate the friendship of a woman. First question they cared the most, is she pretty? How old is she? Why is she single (ehem, you have never dated in your entire life) and finally, if she recently turned single, is there something wrong with her? If men can start respecting woman and appreciate them as a human being, perhaps, the number of women who chose to stay single or marry a non-Asian would be significantly lesser. Of course, to be fair, there are women with unrealistically long list of criteria for men before they will even befriend him. (^__^)

    • Hey Lee,

      Thanks for writing in. It takes both sides to tango really. Both men and women should be more open-minded and judge each other less. As Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge people, you won’t have time to love them.”

  • Agree with you on most parts. They are not unattractive looks-wise but their mindsets and attitude are such big turn-offs. My husband might be Asian, yes, but boy am I glad he’s been abroad for years and has adopted a more Western way of thinking; he still opens door and pulls out chair for me *starry-eyed*. Of course that’s not all but enough with the bragging heh. I have dated an Asian ASIAN before and my number 1 pet peeve? He’s endlessly timid. Can’t really blame him as it’s the result of his upbringing but damn, such a turn-off. He obeyed everything his father said and agreed with me on almost EVERYTHING (to avoid conflicts, I presume). So much so that I might as well date a robot and let’s not get started on the sex! Think overly selfless. Also wholeheartedly agree with Sophie on the narrow-minded and judgmental parts. Almost all the Asian guys I know were brought up traditionally are like that. :/

    • Always a pleasure to hear from you Yvonne,

      “Also wholeheartedly agree with Sophie on the narrow-minded and judgmental parts. Almost all the Asian guys I know were brought up traditionally are like that.” <-- This part makes me sad to hear though. Not sure what else to say except that people would do well to learn the good things from each others' cultures. Hopefully with globalization, we all become better.

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