My Social Experiment

by Marisha

We all have insecurities. My own have weighed heavily on me in the areas of race, body type, looks, talent, the whole package.ย  The biggest question has been “am I good enough?”ย  Even the most confident, the most outwardly outgoing people fall subject to this kind of poison. It runs through our veins without warning and the simplest trigger can turn our minds to self-destruction.

As I have grown older, I have learned how to deal with and respond to the insecurity poison that I have been so addicted to. I’ve transformed my old response into a healthy perception of myself, and this has affected how I deal with my personal and interpersonal relationships. It hasn’t been easy, a statement which anyone who has gone through this transformation can agree with.

My first big insecurity was wondering if guys would be attracted to me. I hadn’t seen many interracial relationships at my school, and the town I grew up in was very conservative. I have always been attracted to personality, so ethnicity never seemed to hold much weight for me. I suppose it was because of my upbringing and growing up in an interracial family.

I remember having a lot of guy friends who were said to have “crushes” on me, but I never felt like they were attracted to me. I believed I had a personality that they liked and that that was my money shot. I guess I took pride in it. Actually I STILL have pride in it. Most of my relationships or flings with guys have stemmed from friendship, which I appreciate, but I never had the guts to start things off with a guy romantically.

That said, I unconsciously started a social experiment that lasted for years. Every non-Asian guy (and let’s face it, I haven’t grown up around very many Asian guys) I encountered, friend or more, at some point always said the same thing to me. It was either:

1) Asian girls are either really hott or really not. There’s no in between with you guys.

Or

2) You know, Marisha, you are the first Asian girl I have been attracted to. I don’t know why.

Now, they seem like silly statements, but when you have heard them your whole life you wonder if they are compliments or something twisted.

The social experiment progressed when I started asking almost every guy I encountered the first question about no in-betweeners in the looks department. And like clockwork, their answers were the same. Funny because they thought that Caucasian girls could fall in the middle category. But why not Asian girls???

As far as the second comment, I have always been somewhat flattered because my money shot (personality) probably led to that attraction in the first place. Knowing that has given me the confidence to always be myself as it seems to show that, for most people, it’s not really about race. That it’s about your energy and the inner beauty. But, then, why mention race? Can’t you just be attracted to me, race aside?

This post might seem random, but I wrote it to see what you guys think. Do you think their comments are ignorant? Unknowingly racist? Or do you think they are compliments?

More to come . . . .

Comments

  1. Nina Schidlovsky says:

    This is a great piece Marisha! On the other end of the spectrum, have you ever had guys be interested in you just because you’re Asian? Some guys only like to date Asian women–but only the hot ones. Because there just is no in between with us. Haha. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • haha omg YES! there’s been plenty of guys who have said they have a “thing for asian girls.” Also, I have noticed it to be a theme with African American guys as well! It’s so interesting because to me and you- we are just girls and don’t define ourselves by a race. what a crazy world. xx

  2. Lisa DeNike Ercolano says:

    One of these days, I am going to write a blog post about the odd (being polite here) comments that people (usually white people … OK, *all* older white men) made about my Asian daughter’s attractiveness when she was a baby, toddler and young child.

    • Sorry, I read your comment here to Marisha and now I have diet Coke spit all over my shirt. Thanks, Lisa.

      • Lisa DeNike Ercolano says:

        Luanne, I think you and I have chatted about the incidents in question. I guess we need a blog post about what I think of (even though the country of origin is wrong) as the “geisha” complex that some white guys seem to have about Asian girls. I am sure Marisha knows what I am speaking about.

      • get it together, mum! hahaha love you

    • haha yes you should Lisa! I definitely know what you are talking about as well! As if us asian girls are all fragile and timidly over-sexualized…I’ve noticed that a lot in the media as well. I bet women of all races face this same situation at some point. But the comments can be so off putting even in the best intentions of phrasing it. x

  3. I loved this post – the guys you are talking about are being unintentionally racist, I think. Racism is so ingrained in most people that they don’t realize that they view people through these lenses. They don’t mean anything by it, so I don’t get excited about it, but I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point where everyone is colour-blind. I have a Singaporean Chinese friend who went to boarding school in Australia – she’s absolutely beautiful but she said the guys there were never interested in her, it was like being invisible. Their idea of an “appropriate object” was basically a white girl. She wasn’t quite human to them. Another friend, a tall blonde, went to India with her shorter, darker sister. The sister got hassled every step of the way but the Indian men left my friend alone – because again, she was off their spectrum of what a woman was. Essentially, an alien. My mother is Japanese-Canadian, third generation, and people still say things like, “you people” to her. I’m the product of an interracial marriage, as is my husband, and often that’s what people see about us, the fact that we’re half-Asian. We live in Vancouver where mixed-race people are very common, yet that is still one of our defining features, apparently. Our kids look completely white, oddly, yet they’re fluent in Japanese. We hang out with another interracial couple and the four blonde children are sitting there speaking Japanese to each other. You should see the stares.

    Great blog!

    • WOW, that’s incredible. So amazing how it translates to different cultures as well. I wonder though if I am so aware of my race that I assume men aren’t interested in me before I give them the chance? Also, growing up, I didn’t see too much interracial relationships in my hometown because it was fairly conservative. Then going to college in Oklahoma, that was even more rare. I have always had interracial relationships myself and fortunately I haven’t experienced any outright, vocal judgments. I wish I could be at dinner with you guys because I am fascinated with being fluent in other languages. Of course people assume I can speak fluent Korean esp when I go to a nail salon or meet certain people. They will start talking to me in Korean and when I respond in English, I almost feel like their shock towards me is as if I am a disgrace to my/their culture. I can tell people I am American, but sometimes people just don’t understand. I have to find it quite comical. I love all your stories from all your friends and even your own experiences. I hope that people can be like sponges and soak in the fact that not everything is black and white. You are right though, their racism is not always intentional. I know I have definitely been guilty of unintentionally being racist due to stereotypes or assumptions on a certain race or culture. Maybe there is some truth to it, but it’s something that probably won’t fully go away. Thanks for your amazing insight! x

  4. lol! there are places on earth where men are just ‘dying’ to date asian women, but then again, it isn’t all about that is it? I enjoyed reading this, thank you.

    • haha I know I think it is so funny. Well, anybody should be lucky to date us for the whole package! ๐Ÿ™‚ take care xx

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