The Common Stereotypes About Asian Women


I remember being asked for help in Maths, but Maths and Science were my worst subjects at school. When I gave help to other classmates, I knew my explanation could be wrong, but I knew that I was singled out for help because of the stereotype that Asians are good at Maths and Science. When I sat in Music, I remember a classmate would always sit beside me and try to look at my answers when we had tests. It’s common that Asians are thought of as the passive minority, in where many racism directed at Asians are often quietly tolerated or ignored. The general stereotypes about Asians that are very common are: hard working, studious, nerd, intelligent, striving for top marks, bad drivers, rich, musically talented, a doctor, engineer or lawyer and the list goes on.

However, there are also a lot of stereotypes of Asian women. I did a lot of research and readings on the perspectives of the East last semester at uni, and I feel that there are many stereotypes of Asian women (and men) from the West’s perspective. Many of these stereotypes become perpetuated, exaggerated and repeated in the media. Although, I would agree that there are many, many Asians that work very hard, but that goes for anywhere there are hard workers and lazy workers. The way Asian women are portrayed in films, literature, art and media can have a significant influence on how people view Asian women.

Asian Mother’s being strict and overprotective. You may have heard of the term Tiger Mum. It’s a parent that pushes their children to pursue academic excellence and excel in their career and life. They can be very demanding and over bearing. This is a common stereotype in Chinese parenting. Unfortunately, true for some, but definitely not for all. My sister and I were never overly pushed to be high achievers. We just did our best, and pursued what we’re passionate about.

Dating a white person means you have white fever. There is a stereotype that if an Asian woman dates a White man, she has white fever. Vice versa, if a White man dates an Asian woman, he has yellow fever. There are cases where that is indeed true, or the individual has a preference. However in most cases, such as my Mum and my Stepdad, it’s because they both love each other for who they are. The attraction is simply on personality, but unfortunately because Asian stereotypes can be so strong, some people will make assumptions quickly based on ethnicity.

Being quiet, submissive, mysterious and exotic. Unfortunately, I’ve had strange experiences of old white men talking to me for the wrong reasons. This is one of the most common stereotypes of Asian women. It’s also common in the sexual stereotype of Asian women, that we’re submissive and obedient. Sadly, this has been one of the ways the media views us. This is one of the reasons I feel put off by men who do have yellow fever, because they want to find an Asian woman who fulfills their Asian fetish of the stereotype of an Asian woman.

Slim, long black hair and almond eyes. Picture an image of a slender frame, porcelain skin, long thick black hair and brown almond eyes. The description makes me think of a Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways advertisements. It’s true that many Asian women are petite, but everyone comes in different shapes, size and shades. However, growing up I would often hear “How do you stay slim Katie,” and sometimes someone would say “because she’s Asian.” Genetically Asians all have black hair and brown eyes.

Always being seen as an “Asian” women. As a woman, I won’t ever be just viewed as a woman. I will always be an Asian woman. This is something I’m proud of, but I’m also aware that it comes with a lot of labeling, generalisations and stereotypes. I remember talking about how people seem to have to mention when someone is Chinese, Indian, Black etc when it’s not always necessary. It also means dealing with people from time to time who say certain things to you because you’re Asian, that can be insensitive.

In Asian American Women Faculty: Stereotypes and Triumphs by Celeste Fowles Nguyen, she writes “The model minority stereotypes Asians as hard workers who quietly achieve high results. The lotus flower, or geisha stereotype, defines Asian females as feminine and passive.” Asian women are viewed as uncomplaining, tolerant and passive. However, I want to challenge this view, and encourage people to speak more about it with friends of different ethnicity. We rarely see Asian women in the news media, and many other areas. Representation is important, and I hope that we will see more diversity and conversations about these issues.

What are some other stereotypes of Asian women? Feel free to share your experiences down below.

Photography by Sun Jun of Nini for L’Officiel China March 2016

The Common Misconceptions About INFJs

Daily Thoughts

d0eeeeb58da3ea45f3f60e2b964429d2.jpgIf there is something I feel that many INFJ’s may be able to relate to, it is the feeling of being different and sometimes (or often) misunderstood. Most of these points are from my own personal experience, and perhaps you have experienced it too. There have been moments where I feel I wasn’t able to clearly articulate what I was trying to express as much as it narrates in my mind. Other times I feel that others may make assumptions on who I am, because I don’t show a lot of myself. Many situations in daily life, cause me to feel so deeply inside and the world around me seems to feel heightened in its movement. Have you ever asked yourself “Am I the only one who feels this way?” or question the meaning of your life and the ongoing pulsating beat in your mind, striving to think how you yourself can make the world a better place?

Our way of talking in conversations. Most of the time, I am the listener. INFJs are very good at analysing certain situations and giving good advice. Call it the caring nature within us. I know for myself, the misconception is that we speak less in conversations. It is true that we spend more time listening. However, if we are passionate about something, we can talk about it with ease. Other times, it may take more energy. It also depends on who we are talking with.

That we think we are special because we are ‘rare’. Surely, everyone is special and different. Yes indeed. Although, I do agree that it is often overwritten in the online world in a way that can indicate that we are better, because we are not easily understood. There is this mystique in the way INFJs are often portrayed because we are generally more private.The thing is most of us don’t think we are any more special than the person beside us. We just feel things more internally and sometimes more intensely.

We aren’t able to have leadership roles. I believe this is from societies praise of the extrovert in social situations. However, I believe INFJ’s make great bosses because of their fair, empathetic and organised nature. They make good listeners and want their workers to always strive for the best within themselves. INFJ’s also value good relationships very much and are intuitive in understanding others feelings.

Relying on our emotions to make decisions. It is very true to some degree that I will follow how I feel more so as I view myself as a very emotional person. It is a misconception that in making important decisions, we don’t consider the logic and facts within. We do analyse those areas, however our feeling about it is often stronger. For example, if we don’t enjoy a job, we are likely to feel the need to leave. But we will consider the financial security during that time. If we don’t enjoy being with a friend, we are likely to go our separate ways. But we will consider the pros and cons for doing so.

Assuming we have a soft shell.  I’ve been told very often that I’m shy, quiet and soft spoken. In a few of my past jobs I had gone to the bathroom several times to cry. I am very strong about the misconception of having a soft shell, because of the way I have been treated in the past and sometimes even in the present. I don’t think many people realise how much INFJ’s hold within themselves, whether it’s from pain, hurt or people. We don’t tend to talk about others or engage in gossip, and we certainly don’t want to be involved in drama. Whereas most people are very commonly open to doing so. Sensitivity, being emotional and introvert are not weak.

We are too deep to enjoy the simple things. I’m sure many can understand the feeling of being a deep thinker. However, I am also someone who is easily amused if I really like something. I enjoy talking to people who are friendly and easy to talk to and as anyone else, I enjoy doing simple things from taking a walk at the park, going to the movies or sitting at the cafe with a friend. We do love our time alone at home to do our own thing, whether that’s reading, writing, listening to music or cooking, but we still need those small bouts of social interactions.

Being very nice and warm to everyone. This is from my experience. I’d like to think I am a friendly person. There are times however, I just don’t feel up to speaking to people or putting on a smile. I previously wrote about why being nice is not always so nice. I had been motivated to write it when I was tired of how many ‘nice’ people are taken advantage of. I like to think most INFJ’s are kindhearted and warm all the time, but the reality is someday’s (for myself) I just want to do my own thing and keep to myself.

INFJ’s are hard to make friends with. I think this comes down to how we are very selective. We want to be sure that we are friends with someone who we can trust. If someone hurts us, it’s more likely that we will cut them out of our lives straight away. In relationships, we generally take them more seriously and look for long term. In fact, most INFJ’s are super easy to get a long with and be friends with. But, in terms of becoming close friends, it often takes time to flourish and grow as we get to know someone more and more – we open up gradually.

That our personality type defines our personality. Everyone is different, even though we are sure to have many similarities possibly in values, the world and feelings. Some descriptions may apply to others and some may not. We may have all sorts of careers, and perhaps there could be INFJ’s out there who do enjoy their call service job (please let me know if you do!)

We always have our heads in the clouds. I do enjoy the feeling of being in another world and I am more connected with the arts if anything. I wouldn’t mind if someone called me weird or quirky. However, I do believe that many INFJ’s are dreamers and believers. But we are grounded at the same time. We want to make the world a better place.

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