Fascinating assessment and history on how men and women of different cultures view each other. Attitudes toward different cultures formed by stereotypes based in history and economics. Very interesting.
I studied abroad at the National University of Singapore for a semester my sophomore year. I couldn’t help but notice a peculiar trend: My white male friends were fascinated with the idea of hitting on Asian girls. This “yellow fever” wasn’t shared by my female friends though.
Why these different attitudes?
The skew is not just anecdotal. In the United States, there are 529,000 white male – Asian female married couples and just 219,000 Asian male – white female married couples, according to the 2010 U.S. census. Similarly, the number of black male – white female marriages is 2.3 times bigger than the number of white male – black female pairs. With African Americans and Asian Americans, the ratios are even further imbalanced, with roughly five times more Asian female – African malemarriages than Asian male – African female marriages.
The phenomenon is not even confined to the U.S. In 2013, cognitive psychologist Michael Lewis at the University of Cardiff in Wales in the U.K. asked 20 females and 20 males to rate 600 Facebook pictures of British, sub-Saharan Africans, and East Asians. The participants consistently voted black men and Asian women as the most attractive representatives of each gender; Asian men and black women were seen as the least desirable partners.
“Darker skin is always associated with more masculine faces,” Lewis told me in a phone conversation. Difference in height can also partially explain the observed results, he said. Society imposes a “male-superior norm” that a man should be taller than his partner; and blacks are on average taller than whites, who are taller than Asians, he says.
I thought there must be more to the picture. I set off to answer the question, What informs our perception of beauty? Is there really something profound about face shape, height and body features that defines attraction? Or, is beauty merely a social construct amplified by popular culture?
After more than a dozen interviews, I found some fascinating answers that go back two centuries of history. This post is long overdue (two years after I returned from Singapore) but I want to share my findings with you.
Thanks to Lila Rajiva for her excellent article and work over at the MindBodyPolitic. http://mindbodypolitic.com/2015/02/11/how-the-media-promotes-racial-stereotypes/