Bowie, Iggy or Bo-ggy combo ran the boozy argument. My friends and I were debating who penned the track 'China Girl'. A quick internet search later and we were none the clearer. The mysterious algorithms and search bots, which are supposed to know our wants better than we do, had conjured up an array of quasi-pornographic dating sites and adverts full of Lolita-esque Chinese/Asian women offering love for the price of a plane ticket, which had pushed our desired result far down the rankings. And before you start crying out about search trends and history influenced results pages, I'll take this moment to inform you that the computer's owner is gay and had never accessed such sites!
On the internet, regardless of your own good moral stance on gender issues or indeed your sexual orientation, it's a frequent occurrence to encounter this hyper-sexualised imagery of young Asian female identity, created by and for a Western male audience. Perhaps it is this or some complicated cultural echo left by the levels of prostitution which occurred during the horrors of the American-Vietnamese war and other 20thC Asian conflicts with Western fingerprints. Whatever the cause, a fiction exists that many female Asian-male Caucasian relationships are mercurially motivated. The sight of a Chinese girl with a white Westerner in a bar, especially if she is younger, is likely to lead to a derogatory thought or comment somewhere in the room. Deanna Fei, in a recent New York Times article, writes eloquently about being subjected to such interpretation when she lived in Shanghai with her American journalist boyfriend (who is now her husband).
These are real concerns for Chinese women to live with. But what about the Western male partner in all this? If you're white and dating a Chinese girl, you too face a barrage of prejudices, which are just as likely to affect an otherwise happy relationship. OK, you're no Johnny Depp, but it's not fair for others to assume that the only reason you came to China is because you couldn't date girls back in the West. And no, you're not some Asian fetishist either...you're just an average Joe who happens to be dating a Chinese girl who he likes or possibly even loves! The simple answer would be to say don't pay any attention to other people's opinions. But negativity towards cross-cultural dating in China can come from some strange quarters, and it's not always easy to make light of the various associations and assumptions.
1) Fellow laowai
By far the most common source of comment is likely to be from your fellow cultural compatriots, probably some racial-cultural slur along the lines of 'yellow fever', 'take away' or some variation on the theme of prostitution. I've also heard a vulgar alliterative couplet; passport (and something you might call a cat...). How you wish to respond is of course up to you but you might like to remind them that such attitudes only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes and encourage very real problems of sex tourism in some Asian countries!
2) Other Chinese
Sticks, stones, broken bones and something about names not hurting you might say, but this isn't always the case. A friend of a friend was once hit in the face with a wooden mallet by his girlfriend's Chinese ex. A potent mix of unrequited love and Chinese nationalistic impulse had combined to spur him to such violent action. This case is extreme but as a Westerner dating a Chinese girl, you should be aware that some Asian men might vaguely construe your relationship as a modern manifestation of Western colonial appropriation. If you encounter someone who might be sensitive on this front, behave conservatively in public limiting your physical contact (and while you're at it, check if your Chinese partner has any angry exes!).
One unlikely quarter of derogatory comment or open hostility towards your relationship might come from your girlfriend's parents. Their generation's assumptions about Western men's sexual lasciviousness and unfaithfulness might be more strongly developed as a product of old school anti-Western Communist Party conditioning in the 60s. If a long term faithful relationship with their daughter can't change their mind then there's probably only one sure fire solution to ease their worries – marriage!
A Final Thought
Cross cultural/racial dating in China will continue to be viewed with certain assumptions, misconceived or created through the bad actions of a minority of Westerners and sometimes, yes, Chinese girls driven by their financial circumstance. However, if this is enough to deter you from a relationship with a Chinese girl then it probably wasn't going to work out anyway! On the up side, in modern China it seems attitudes are softening and certainly in cities such as Guangzhou, relationships of many different race combinations are a common sight and rarely provoke comment.
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Keywords: Western men dating Chinese girls stereotyping of Western men in China opinions on Chinese-foreigner dating expats dating in China cross cultural dating in China
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I would like to add as a footnote to my OPINIONS, in my experiences of dealing with people in china and in my country of origin, while i do feel on the whole most people are deep within themselves selfish, uncaring, and basically kunts, there is equal chance of meeting kind and courteous people in both places, which leads me to suspect perhaps cultural differences are only skin-deep, and therefore, there are enough humans who wish to co-exist pleasantly, that in fact we're not doomed to paranoid solitude.
Mar 12, 2016 17:40 Report Abuse
seems like some mixed opinions here. I'll start with the epithet we should all be using : IN MY OPINION: there seems to be a severe lack of trust between people in China. i don't mean between strangers, that is apparent all over the world. You could trace it back to the hardships of the cultural revolution, or perhaps even further back. you could ascribe it to the hyper-importance of face, meaning that people (even those who are close to you) may (and are perhaps likely to, at least in some cases) lie to you rather than reveal the truth, thereby losing or causing someone else to lose face. you also could say It is to do with the massive number of people whose fortunes have changed in china over the last 25 years, and those whose fortunes haven't changed observing those whose has. it could be linked to the idea mentioned, the message that 'all devotion should be paid to the state as the government will protect us' being spread deeply, and being rebuffed, as many Chinese now believe they cannot rely on the party. This lack of trust is to me most obvious in relationship that are supposed to be ones of closeness, and of love. I'm not saying in other countries lovers, brothers, sisters, parents, offspring, or best friends don't ever fuck each other over, I'm just saying it seems its much more commonplace in China. I have heard so many stories of people (family members are the stories that shock me the most) betraying one another, just to simply gain a few thousand yuan. How would you feel if you grew up in such a society? feeling like you can't trust anyone, even doubting your own mother's desire to look after you before her bank account? And especially coupled with this Chinese men's thing about, you don't talk about prostitution, but if men are going and one guy says no, he's not a man, which i'm pretty sure most chinese females over the age of say 25 are aware of. similarly i find it very difficult to be friends with chinese guys as i either feel they are using me to show people they are awesome with a foreign friend, or they are too embarrassed or ashamed to hang out with me. (haha or somehow I'm just unappealing to chinese guys?) When people hold onto pain, or deny its existence, it makes people behave in a much more bitter, less considerate manner. There is also a scientific study which suggests that people are generally less likely to be selflessly helpful (even for a tiny amount of help) when they focus on money. So, when trust of anyone around you is ruined, what are you gonna believe in? the one thing you can rely on: money. if all you care about is money, how can you ever have a harmonious society?
Mar 12, 2016 17:10 Report Abuse
More than half of you are making up crap on this website. A word of advice, people aren't stupid. Chinese people aren't stupid. You think just because they can't speak English well or have an accent they are stupid. That is far from the case. Many are smart and can see through your lies. You people need to quit making up stories. It's not believable!
Dec 13, 2015 17:55 Report Abuse
here is a scenario what if a never married 50 yr American man is in a realationship with a 22 year old Chinese never married lady? We are both virgins wont make love till we marry so its not about sex ok? I am unable to work because a accident years ago,i don't have my own house I do get a income of less than 1000 a month! I have physical limitation im very average looking so no, she don't want me for money! she and her parents know about all this are ok with it accepting me a I am Because my income is half that's required by immigration to support a Chinese wife I cant marry in my country but, its allowed that I can marry in china and now as her spouse and sponsor our incomes are combined as a 1 house hold income now being she is a boss at her parents company she is wealthy makes about a 100,000$ a year my government sees this as proof she wont be a burden can financialy support herself and with my income we now are qualified can marry in my country! She wants to marry me our ages or age differences she don't care about! After she gets her visa meets me then she will take me to china to meet her friends and parents! And if we have chemistry we hit it off after she meets me then we go through the immigration process which can take a year long She knows I cant afford a house she can and is willing to buy us a house after we marry! She don't mind paying for most things she knows im limited financialy! My question is what do I need to bring and do to marry her in china? Like how long to get approved by her government to be allowed to marry her in china!
Jun 14, 2015 08:41 Report Abuse
I have been married for 16 years from a Chinese woman. She is the love of my life. We brought up two intelligent kids multi-talented very good in their studies, music, sports. Well mannered, polite and know the limits to everything. They have been taught to work hard and nothing comes easy. Taught how to care for others but not being taken for granted. As for my wife we have our ups and downs like any other couple but the love, harmony and respect exist since I have met her. The moment I met her (met her outside China) I knew she is the one. Then later we went back and lived in China for several years. Marriage is like a closed watermelon you will not know how it looks like from the inside only when you open it and only when you get married then you will know whether your marriage will succeed or not. Marriage is a partnership and needs a lot of sacrifice and compromise. It is not a picnic. It is luck but for sure what is not luck is getting to know her for few months and meeting the family is very important to see what kind of environment she lived and/ still living in. You have to examine so many things from all aspects especially if you are willing to get married to a girl from another culture. Your comments is not limited only to Chinese girls (these comments not appropriate at all and you are not being fair) but can be found anywhere in any country. There are good and bad people everywhere whether in China or outside China. Your comments showed ungratefulness towards the country that is hosting you in their own country. One man's bad experience in marriage doesn't make the whole people bad.
Apr 23, 2015 21:24 Report Abuse
I am married to a chinese lady for the past 4yrs, and to tell you the truth they are much more responsible and better than most western women. those guys who are complaining probably went in for some sluts, and sluts in every country have the same rules. so why are you crying? if you can't just leave the country and go back to where you come from. Chinese women are not into laowais just because you are from different country doesnt give you a green pass. my wife never thought of moving to any other country, because she has seen the ugliness of those so called western country.
Sep 17, 2014 11:38 Report Abuse
Hello: I am new on this site. I am online datng a Chinese women of 59 years old. She lives in Canada but recently returned to China to be with her friend who is dying of cancer. My son is married to a Chinese woman for ten years and they recently had a daughter. I envy their long marriage and time together, but please note she too is a Chinese/Canadian. Her family and friends totally adore him as they not only attended the wedding traveling to Canada from China, but gave them the downpayment on their home. So I am on this site getting a feel for what it will be like to be married to a Chinses woman. I am an American with Canadian Landed Immigrant status. Thus I can live in Canada or the US. I receive a lot of emails from women on other dating sites. The older females tell me they are looking for a man for love; that money is no object, they have plenty, can I relocarte to China? The younger females, the ones I choose to read about between 30 and 45 state they drive fast cars, have two to three houses, can fly to the US and make me a rich man. For what? I am retired and not interested in materialistic things. I have done more in my lifetime than most will in three lifetimes. I just want L O V E! My goal is to marry this lady, but if she is not what I hope, then I'll just keep looking. I was stationed in Thailanad many years ago and loved the people. I don't think their culture is much different than that of the Chinese. And a final note, I see there are English teaching jobs available. I don't have a degree in teaching, but I am a writer with four published books, thus I do know somehing about the Engllish language, afterall it being my native language. I also know Russian, Spanish and Thai. So I feel I could be a fit someplace. I've got 44+ years in IT. Maybe someone could point me in the right direction. Thanks
Aug 25, 2014 21:25 Report Abuse
Loving the mature responses here. Hoping I found the right girl now. my current girlfriend has none of those money-grabbing traits, quite the opposite in fact. That being said we experience cultural differences and conflict of views all the time, this is part of the reason I am here, to learn about another culture and take the good aspects of it to enrich my own life and that of my lover as I share my culture with her too. However, I have also had some circumstances where ex girlfriends have expected a bit much and I call them ignorant. They quickly learned however that I am not the guy they were looking for so we broke up. There are a great deal of ignorant people in all countries and we seem to highlight those people and use them to generalise on an entire race far too often. This people, at it's simplest description is racism. Learn about the person you are with and the people you are around or remove yourself from their company.
Feb 01, 2014 11:36 Report Abuse
You do need to be careful though because the Chinese have two different concepts of love, "Romantic" love which is the same as the western concept of love in an adult heterosexual relationship. But then there is "real" love which excludes any romantic attraction but is based on a desire to achieve financial or social advancement. Do your homework and don't be a naive fool.
Aug 07, 2013 09:30 Report Abuse