But for those whom it affected, the public perception that being an Asian man inherently makes him sexually and romantically undesirable is an all too painful reality. Despite the fact that Jet Li and Aaliyah were reprising the roles of the most classic love story in history, the two characters end the movie not with a steaming hot bone sesh, not with a passionate kiss, and not even so much as a peck on the cheek, but rather, a tight embrace.
The genesis of the explosion of AMBF couples? What if I told you that a hundred years ago, things were the exact opposite?
Along with being portrayed as ruthless, physically violent savages, Chinese men were characterized as sexual deviants that lured women into opium dens and ran train on them , and Japanese men were reported to be cunning weasels with an insatiable sex drive that seduced white women with their unorthodox sex appeal.
Oh yeah…Asians are soooo violent. I need that juicy D in my life! But the sexually-oriented portrayal of Asian men was more than just a phenomenon on print and on screen.
You see, long before the time of JT Tran, SquattinCassanova and SimplePickup, OG Asian playas were mackin on white, black and latina chicks as early as the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though most early Asian immigrants stayed within their communities, records show that many of them dated and married outside their race, and particularly unsettling to the public was the intermarriage of Asian men with white women.
Chinese laundrymen in the inner city were marrying Irish immigrants. Young white girls fell so head over heels in love with Japanese men they met in public schools that they eloped and accepted eternal exile from their families. Numbers of white American housewives had affairs with Japanese men, both of the houseservant and wealthy aristocrat type, and some got so jealous of their Japanese man having other lovers that they shot and killed them see pg Filipino farm workers charmed middle class white women by the dozens.
Even the first Siamese twins who came to America from Thailand married two white sisters in North Carolina and had 21 children with them. White men were alarmed by what they perceived to be a sexual threat, and became triggered because they found themselves actually competing in the sexual marketplace with men of a race that they deemed inferior. Gunjiro Aoki and Gladys Emery: They were wed in in Seattle after traveling up the entire West Coast through California and Oregon.
They had five children together. Filipino men pimping out with white wives and girlfriends in the s Chang and Eng Bunker center , the original Siamese Twins, whose descendants in the American South number an estimated 1, Before black boxer Jack Johnson made headlines for marrying a white woman in , the only publicly known instances of interracial marriage were between Asian men and white women, and these stories seemed to be some of the juiciest and most controversial of the time, regularly published in the newspaper.
Because the human psyche, above all, is a barbaric one. The success of Asian men in courting western women, both on screen and in real life, was just as alarming as the Japanese defeating Russia in the Russo-Japanese war and Chinese nationals killing Western colonialists in the Boxer Revolution, because both were indicators of an oncoming overthrow of a social hierarchy with whites at the top and were an affront to the predominant ideals of Social Darwinism racial hierarchy and eugenicism racial purity of the time.
Women, in the barbaric mindset, are property, and when one tribe successfully invades another, they not only kill the men of the defeated tribe, they take their women as wives.
The West feared another invasion like that of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. To the white male psyche, this was unacceptable, and had to be prevented at all costs.
Anti-miscegenation laws, which prohibited blacks from marrying whites, were expanded to make the message very clear: Fu Manchu, the evil villain who plotted to overtake the West, essentially an on screen embodiment of Yellow Peril became the next prominent Asian character to take the stage.
Also both characters were played by white men, the beginning of whitewashing which continues to this day. If the hypersexualization of the Asian man was a result of Yellow Peril, perhaps their emasculation was the result of the end of it. The Philippines became an American territory. Once seen as a threat, the great powers of the East had been conquered, and droves of white men, as all conquerors do, married women from these vanquished lands.
Asian men were seen as undesirable because the Asian race itself was considered inferior. Did Asian men collectively become less sexual and less dominant over the past few decades, was their undesirability always a complete myth, or did Asian men unconsciously adopt the asexual and subservient role given to them by society? Maybe, as the East continues to rise out of the ashes and into global power, Asian men will once again come to be seen as competitors in the sexual marketplace in the West, in a manner reminiscent of Hayakawa: