In parts of the US, such a notion has become so pervasive that last year, Debbie Lum, an American filmmaker of Chinese descent, sought to capture the madness in her documentary “Seeking Asian Female”.“I like to joke that San Francisco is the epicentre of the yellow fever phenomenon”, says Debbie, who describes a general awareness of being looked at by men because she’s Chinese.The tale of the tragic love story between a young Vietnamese woman and an American soldier paints a heartbroken and helpless image of Miss Saigon that remains one of the most poignant and visible depictions of Far Eastern women in popular culture.Yet this portrayal epitomises what many see as a narrow perception of East Asian (defined as Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc) women.“And let’s not forget Hollywood’s global influence”, says Dr Sandy To, who specialises in gender studies at Hong Kong University.She notes the sexy Geishas, femme fatales and Kung Fu fighting seductresses in place of what she calls “ethnically neutral roles”.In the BBC’s official response to BEA’s letter, it stated its commitments to diversity (in a rather patronising, verbose manner). But Asian women are understandably in a rush to change the status quo.A quick browse on the Internet for “yellow fever fetishes” brings up a host of websites, articles and videos, mostly from the US, that express humour, distaste and offence at the sexualised objectification of East Asian women, with some equating yellow fever to racism rooted in colonial ideas of power and submission.
One acquaintance told me in wonderment that Chinese women are great in the bedroom – as if I wasn't one – to being casually asked if I’d be interested in a guy “who has been with Chinese girls and likes it”.
Remember, 100% of your purchase fuels the fight for LGBTQ equality and makes you an active member of the Human Rights Campaign.
No, not the disease you can pick up when travelling to certain countries.
I’ve been left puzzled by the insensitivity, and the lack of awareness that such comments may cause offence.
It’s as if the Chinese are so foreign it doesn't count.