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When I’m in China, I tend to turn a lot of heads, especially in the countryside — and that’s not just because I’m a foreigner.It’s because I’m often seen holding hands with my Chinese husband.It’s true — the sight of a foreign woman and Chinese boyfriend or Chinese husband is much rarer than its counterpart, the foreign man and Chinese woman.If you go to any major city in China, you will invariably run into the foreign man-Chinese woman pairings in any major tourist or shopping destination; not so with foreign women and Chinese men.
According to Sheridan Prasso’s book, The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient, Asian men in general have long been losers in the world of mainstream American media: If there are some admirable aspects of the portrayals of Asian women in Hollywood and on TV, it’s hard to say the same of the portrayals of Asian men.
Rarely have they been depicted with traditionally masculine traits.
With a few exceptions, Asian men on screen have been small, sneaky and threatening — or spineless, emasculated wimps, or incompetents who may well be technically proficient in martial arts, but impotent when faced with white man’s superior strength or firepower. Even today, Asian American men complain that action heroes such as Chow Yun Fat and Jackie Chan rarely get the girl.
As Leong, the author and UCLA professor put it: “Asian men can kick butt, but they can’t have a kiss.” It gets a little more personal in blogs, such as posts titled Us Bitter, Bitter Asian Men or Sucks to be an Asian male. I’ve had Chinese guys refuse me because they felt, as a traditional man, they could never see themselves married to a foreign girl.
However, the subtext is often that foreign women are a dangerous choice — too casual, the temptress, etc — or could not accept a Chinese way of life.
Generally, the pressure to split up comes from the family since, after all, in China, marriage is a family affair.