how pervasive is “Asian fever”?

30 May

I went ahead and watched all of the They’re All So Beautiful episodes, which you can find here–they get more interesting, in my opinion. However, the focus remained on heterosexual couples throughout the series, with the exception of a comment in the first episode that “rice queen” is a term used in gay communities for someone with “Asian fever”.

I would be interested to know if “Asian fever” exists among gay people about as much as it does among straight people (or more or less). Maybe that topic is covered in the full-length documentary, Seeking Asian Female, that’s associated with They’re All So Beautiful, but since I can’t access that film, I relied on the OK Cupid by-race response rates instead.

Within the different-sex OK Cupid responses, Asian men receive relatively few replies from women:


In contrast Asian women receive the most replies from men of any group:


At the end of that article, there was a link to information on same-sex OK Cupid response rates. That post shows that the rates at which men reply to Asian men vary all across the board:


But women reply to Asian women at a very high rate (while Asian women are picky about who they respond to):


According to that OK Cupid post, “Asian lesbians are in demand”, much like their straight counterparts. Yet none of this explains why “Asian fever” is so much more commonly directed towards women.

Is it because the submissive and docile traits stereotypically associated with Asian people are considered more attractive in women than in men? That may be true of physical features, at least: an Asian woman pointed out in the third episode of They’re All So Beautiful (at 2:24), “When a woman has chinky eyes, it’s called exotic, but when a man has chinky eyes, they’re chinky.” It may come down to the idea that general “Asian” characteristics more appealing in women than in men, but there may be (and likely are) other factors at play here as well.

One drawback to relying on the OK Cupid data rather than hearing about this behavior in documentary format is that this data doesn’t tell us anything about others’ responses to “Asian fever” amongst gay people. Is it found similarly creepy by those around the couples in question? Are many lesbians candid about their preference for Asian women?


Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “how pervasive is “Asian fever”?

  1. xiaodiw

    May 31, 2013 at 12:33 am

    “Asian Fever” seems really interesting to me. I’m not very familiar with gay “Asian Fever”, but I can talk about my experience with “Asian Fever” among straight people. As an Asian, I firstly heard about this when I was introduced to a white male friend. He easily hit on Asian women than woman of other races. At first, I was really surprised that someone would prefer Asian women than other women, but then I realized that it was just the same as someone prefer a particular type of women than others.

    I guess, one of the reasons that “Asian Fever” exists is that Asians have some exoticness for other races of people because Asia is geographically distant from where most of these people live. This sense of exoticness can arise from both their physical appearances such as shallower eye sockets and smaller eyes and their historical and cultural backgrounds. These bring about curiosity and also novelty into the relationship if the person has never dated an Asian.

    I have also noticed an interesting phenomenon in “Asian Fever”. Those women who are successful in securing an American boyfriend or husband are usually not considered extraordinarily beautiful in Asian where people do a lot of things such as cosmetic surgeries and makeup to become closer to the “White Standard”. They are usually very “Asian”- shallow eye sockets and smaller, elongated eyes? I guess, this has something to do with American males’ expectation of Asian beauty.

  2. skytsutsui

    May 31, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Although I know very little (nothing) about “Asian Fever” amongst lesbians I’m just going to jot down some thoughts. Growing up I have been apart of several basketball leagues including an “Asian” League (what we call it back in California) which is a league that connects several Japanese communities throughout southern California with occasional basketball tournaments. I have also been apart of High school basketball and intense travel basketball teams. From my own experiences with these leagues, I noticed that the majority of the lesbians in the high school and travel basketball communities were frequently non-Asian. Also, you rarely saw a lesbian in the Asian league that I participated in.

    This is just a thought but, perhaps this rarity of lesbian Asian women plays a role into increased responses. The way that I see it is: the less frequent it is, the more I want it. So maybe people find Asian women as rare and therefore more desirable.

  3. yawen214

    June 4, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I have only heard of “yellow fever”/”Asian fever” among heterosexual relationship. While Asian men are many be less favorable in gay community, Asian women are not necessarily more favored in the lesbian community. Asian gay men are not as welcomed because they are usually not as masculine. As for Asian lesbian, I agree with Sky that there’s definitely way less of them compared to other groups.
    Notice that “yellow fever” applies to mostly white men. The power and privilege of white men are systematically different from those of white women. The submissive impression Asian women carry does not necessarily meet the demands of lesbians.

    I think the OK cupid statistics may not represent real life situations.


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