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21 Feb

These critics also note that it is the saddest irony when Asian women either allow themselves to be objectified and fetishized or when they buy into and accept these demeaning portrayals of Asian men and eliminate them as potential partners.

As one particularly stark example of the "cultural penalty" that many Asian American men face when it comes to dating and overcoming the cultural stereotypes against them, a team of economists at MIT recently analyzed the dating preferences of users of online dating sites (PDF of the study, 1.5mb).

The point is, dating and marriage decisions can be complicated but they don't have to be.

It's hard enough to find a person with whom you are completely compatible.

However painful or grating they may be, it is necessary for us to look at how both Asian American men and women can become the targets of objectification and how this reinforces and perpetuates ethnic stereotypes against both.

Fortunately, that is not always the story for many, even most interracial relationships.

Although the Census Bureau aggregated the different Asian ethnic groups into a single "Asian" category, the results of this table basically correspond to the intermarriage results and show that Asian women are much more likely to be living with an opposite sex partner who is White, Black, or Latino, compared to Asian men.

In other words, these outdated beliefs can be very restrictive and stifling when it comes to the range of options Asian women have in choosing a marriage partner.

These critics point out that in most areas of popular American culture, rarely do you see the opposite happening -- Asian males being the subjects of infatuation or sexual desire by White women.

In fact, these critics point out that Asian males have been and continue to be purposely portrayed as non-sexual martial arts experts, nerds and geeks, or evil villains and that this portrayal serves to eliminate Asian males as potential rivals to White males for the affection of Asian women.

In Table 5.6 (page 49) of the study, they found that when it came to the dating preferences of White women, their first preference was to date a White man, which is not suprising nor uncommon.

But their data showed that the White women in the study would also consider dating men or color, but only if he made As I noted, these theories and criticisms can sound rather one-sided.