“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.But Debbie also believes that Asian American women are paying a price for “positive” stereotyping.“We are largely invisible when it comes to politics and popular culture, yet there's a very palpable urban myth that Asian women make better lovers than other women”, she says.
In recent times, America’s wars in Korea and Vietnam have also influenced the popular American psych, spawning narratives like that of Miss Saigon.
“And let’s not forget Hollywood’s global influence”, says Dr Sandy To, who specialises in gender studies at Hong Kong University.
Take the 25th anniversary revival of Miss Saigon in the West End.
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.
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”.
I’ve been left puzzled by the insensitivity, and the lack of awareness that such comments may cause offence.
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.
No, not the disease you can pick up when travelling to certain countries.
I'm talking about when Caucasian men develop an acute sexual preference for East Asian women – even becoming a fetish, for some.
Yet this portrayal epitomises what many see as a narrow perception of East Asian (defined as Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc) women.