How Can I Stop Feeling That All Men Think Asian Women Are Subservient?

How Can I Stop Feeling That All Men Think Asian Women Are Subservient

My question is about the racism I encounter in dating, which has essentially caused me to stop trying. I’m Asian American, and what I have consistently found is that when I am dating someone, once the relationship becomes committed, the tone of the relationship changes and suddenly I am asked or expected to perform subservient duties–cooking, cleaning, child care, pet care, all these kinds of things. I have asked my white female friends if this happens to them, and they have repeatedly said NO.

This behavior has come from educated, professional men. In every case, I’m pretty sure it had something to do with how they perceived Asian women (docile/subservient/submissive/happy to be a domestic servant to a man) and I didn’t know at first that these men held such attitudes and views. I’m not sure how a woman would screen for such things. I do know that, living in Texas and surrounded by southern white men, I can expect to encounter such attitudes pretty regularly.

I will be honest that the repeated number of experiences I have had with this have completely changed the way I feel about dating, which I have not done in quite a while and am not sure I want to do again. Having something not work out is one thing, but repeatedly being exposed to overt and covert racism is another, and I don’t see any way of solving the problem.

Me: 48, master’s degree, my own business, no kids, and a pretty happy and healthy life.

Thanks,
Elaine

Thanks for the question, Elaine. It’s the first time I’ve gotten this and I want to offer you something both honest and thoughtful.

Let’s start off with a few things I think we can agree upon:

  • Racism is wrong.
  • Racism against Asian women, expecting them to be subservient, is wrong.
  • It’s probably harder to be an Asian woman in the South than in other places.
  • You can’t “solve” the problem of societal racism.
  • You can’t stop racist men from revealing their racist selves.
  • Not all men in Texas are racists who expect women to be subservient.
  • The only way you guarantee you will never find love is if you give up on it.

Hopefully, I’ve laid that out logically and have left little room for disagreement.

Not all men in Texas are racists who expect women to be subservient.

I will acknowledge I’ve never walked a mile in your shoes, so my knowledge of your situation is only limited to what you shared with me and what I believe to be true (as a white, upper-middle class, straight married man in Los Angeles.)

One sentence in your email really stood out.

“I have asked my white female friends if this happens to them, and they have repeatedly said NO.”

I believe you. I also believe you’ve taken an entirely unscientific straw pool and interpreted it as a larger and more verifiable study by Gallup. What you seemingly have not considered:

  1. You have likely not asked many women this question about men wanting wives who are more domestic. 5? 10 max? That is not a subset of anything, no more than my wife, kids, mom, sister and their partners are an accurate subset of America. Talk with a small group of close friends and you’ll likely get a homogeneous response.
  1. You cannot be positive that your friends were telling you the truth. That’s what friends are for – to be supportive when you’re angry at the world – not to challenge you. I don’t know the real answer as to whether all men in Texas feel all Asian women in Texas are subservient (I strongly suspect a good percentage don’t) but I know the EASY answer for your friends is “you’re right, Elaine!”
  1. The big blind spot is that it’s entirely possible that traditional men prefer traditional wives, but that doesn’t inherently make them racist.

A man can desire a woman who is willing to make him dinner or do his laundry sometimes without wanting her to be his “domestic servant.”

Women like this (I know; I married one) use a different word to describe their plight: wife.

What you feel is subjugation may be nothing more than different views on marital roles.

Stop getting angry at traditional men for wanting traditional wives.

For example, if a woman wants her partner to earn more money because it allows her to lead an upper-middle-class life, does that mean she’s a “gold-digger?” Of course not.

Yet, you’re using that same exact logic to assume the worst of all men.

Man wants a wife who takes care of the lion’s share of domestic duties while he’s out making 250K/year? He must be a racist!

Of course, that’s not true. But this is:

Your solution doesn’t rest in leaving Texas or changing others’ antiquated views of Asians.

Your solution is inside of you:

Stop getting angry at traditional men for wanting traditional wives.

Keep searching for a man who wants a 48-year-old woman with a Masters degree and her own business who has no desire to perform any domestic duties for her partner.

Yes, there’ll be a smaller pool, but at least you can let go of the myth that all Texans are racist.

Join our conversation (70 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 1
    T

    I am Asian, 40 and I love traditional men because I am looking for marriage and partnership. What Evan said makes perfect sense. If you are more independent and want to be an adventure partner than someone who nurtures by acts of domestic service, lead with the things you DO want in a relationship and the right caring men will meet you where you are. 🙂 q

  2. 2
    KK

    “I do know that, living in Texas and surrounded by southern white men, I can expect to encounter such attitudes pretty regularly”.

    Wow. Way to fight racism by stereotyping southern white men. Pot meets kettle.

    1. 2.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      As if there’s no truth in stereotypes. Please, take that weak PC stuff to a college campus. It doesn’t fly here. There ARE valid generalizations of men, of women, and yes, of southern white men.

      1. 2.1.1
        KK

        Yes, there are. But it isn’t any different than the submissive Asian female stereotype. I just found it interesting that someone complaining about a stereotype used against them would make a complaint using a stereotype. That is all.

        1. Skaramouche

          Stereotypes become stereotypes because sometimes, like in this case, they can be somewhat true!  It isn’t that ALL Southern men are traditional but will you disagree that you are more likely to find traditional men in Texas rather than say, New York or San Francisco?  So isn’t it fair for her to say that she expects to find “such” (read: more traditional) attitudes in Texas?

          I read her statement in admirable light…she’s able to take “culture” into context and understand what that means…rather than a negative light.

        2. ScottH

          KK- there’s a good reason that all major auto manufacturers make pickup trucks in Texas (it reduces shipping cost).  And notice how many of those in the south have a shotgun in the back window.

        3. KK

          ScottH,

          I realize both stereotypes are true or at least somewhat true, or they wouldn’t be stereotypes. What I disagree with is calling one stereotype “racist” and not the other. If one is racist, both are. If one isn’t, neither is the other.

        4. Erika

          How was she supposed to describe him?

        5. KK

          “How was she supposed to describe him”?

          I don’t know, Erica. How about describing those men as men who appear to believe a particular stereotype. White men or men from the south are not the only people in the world who believe that Asian women are submissive.

          In general, stereotypes should serve as a loose guideline (very loose) when getting to know new people (IMO). Maybe the only thing these guys have in common is that they’re clueless. If she’s independent and accomplished, that alone should tell them she doesn’t fit the mold. Unless she’s sitting at their feet like a puppy dog or waiting on them hand and foot, it would be pretty stupid to make assumptions given the facts.

  3. 3
    Clare

    ” The big blind spot is that it’s entirely possible that traditional men prefer traditional wives, but that doesn’t inherently make them racist.”

     

    Yes. I’d love to tell Elaine that, as a similarly highly intelligent, independent woman who has dated mostly traditional men, these men have also expected me to take on the lion’s share of domestic duties once we became committed and serious. I am white, and so were the men I dated. It frustrated me, and continues to frustrate me to this day, but this is the reality. Traditional men have their great qualities, but they have their downsides as well. No group of people is flawless.

     

    The good news is that, in my experience, if you are dating a good, intelligent man, he will usually be able to see sense and understand your point of view if you explain to him that you’ve no desire to spend half your life cooking and cleaning up after both of you. I’ve usually been able to arrive at a workable, fairly satisfactory compromise where we either hire someone to do most of the cleaning, or we split the household chores or take them in turns. There are some domestic duties I don’t mind at all (I love to cook), but I do not, and never will, see the necessity of my being the only one to wash a dish or put clothes in the laundry basket. That does not take any great skill or talent; any human being can do it, even a child.

     

    Find someone either whose habits you can live with, or who is willing to compromise to make you happy. Doesn’t need to have anything to do with race. Traditional men will pretty much always have these expectations, regardless of what race you are. But that doesn’t mean they are cast in stone.

  4. 4
    Skaramouche

    @Elaine

    I don’t deny that the stereotype about Asian women that you mention exists but I’m not sure that’s what you’re encountering.  More than likely, it’s just traditional men who have the same expectation from ANY woman rather than from an Asian woman.  I find that the men who subscribe to mindset that Asian wives are more subservient and homebound tend to be the ones who a) actually go to Asian countries to meet their partners or b) try to “import” a wife. or c) target recent immigrants.  They don’t generally suffer from the misconception that Asian American women will be similarly subservient.

    It might just be your target market for dating.  If you are generally dating well-to-do, older, alpha men, they might see themselves as primary breadwinners and want different qualities in a partner.  If they are bringing home most of the bacon, I don’t feel it is unreasonable to expect the more domestic duties to be handled by their partner.  From your perspective, it’s definitely unfair because you are also bringing home the bacon but from their perspective that’s probably irrelevant.  They are doing just fine with or without your income and are possibly prepared to support you.  Are they treating you badly or is this just about the division of duties?  In other words, do you notice a change in their behaviour towards you once things become more serious or are they just expecting you to be of a more domestic bent than you are?

  5. 5
    Rosie

    I am an Asian woman living in an area in Canada is chocked full of Asians. Interracial couples are extremely common. I have mostly dated Caucasian men. I’ve learned to stay away from the ones with redneck tendencies 😉 . I also have a fairly strong personality so the men wanting someone subservient quickly learn I’m not their type 🙂

    I do recommend living elsewhere there are more people who have moved past the stereotypes.  I do find it a bit surprising that all of a sudden, these men just expect you to pick up their slack? On the other hand, I am not

    1. 5.1
      MissDancer

      Oh wow! I can relate because I’m originally Middle -Eastern. They first think I’m the submissive, unassuming  type but they learn quickly I’m a firecracker who’s not afraid to rock the boat. 🙂

  6. 6
    Nissa

    Well, as a white lady who has been asked to do all of those things (in addition to my working full-time, btw) by her Hispanic boyfriends and raised-by-a-white-family husband, I’m not sure it is racism. Maybe it’s just sexism :-). Although my husband stopped asking me to do his laundry because I didn’t use enough bleach on his whites. Yeah. No control issues there, lol.

    1. 6.1
      Nissa

      PS all of the above occurred in Southern California (land of the long haired flaming liberals), with California born men.

  7. 7
    John

    Elaine may have better luck moving to a liberal city and targeting younger guys.  Most guys who live in Texas will not be willing to play the role she wants them to play.

    Elaine may also want to ask herself if she would be willing to be with a guy that thinks it is unfair to have to make a good income. 😉

  8. 8
    Luka

    I’ve dated quite a few asian women. I find many of them beautiful. Never even knew about this stereotype until I heard it online, recently. I honestly think there’s a bit of confirmation bias going on here. I’m not intersted in submissiveness or anything like that. Its not a ‘fetish’; thats so offensive to Asian women and men who have loved them. Yes looks matter in initial attraction but thats all.

  9. 9
    Erika

    As an Asian woman, I have literally had a boyfriend say to me, “I thought Asian women were more pliable.” His exact words. This is absolutely true. (We did not date much longer.)

    1. 9.1
      Marika

      Sorry to hear that Erika.

      Unfortunately on this site a lot of men comment (and apparently it’s rife on mgtow sites) that Asia is the place to go for a more traditional wife. What a ridiculous stereotype! Especially when parts of Asia are kicking the West’s butts in terms of literacy and numeracy results and in entrepreneurial outlook, technology etc (and I’m sure that’s not just at boys’ schools 😀).

  10. 10
    Lyra

    Hi Elaine

    First of all, I am sorry that you feel that way. I am in no way psychoanalyzing you, but is it possible that you are projecting a pre-conceived notion into the equation?

    Bear with me…I am trying to explain this. The notion that men tend to think Asian women are subservient is something that the media has been perpetuating for years; and unfortunately men who write and talk about it most often have never been in an actual healthy relationship with Asian women. It is a very one-dimensional portrayal that needs some clarity.

    I am an Asian woman who grew up in Southeast Asia and moved to the US in late twenties to work as a physician here. I think there is always difference with FOB Asian women and Asian American; but I’d like to think not many. When I am with a man I am uncomfortable cutting him off when he talks even though I don’t agree; I will wait until he finishes. I tend to not contradict him in public; and even though I feel tired after work I feel something is off if I don’t try to cook something for my man, even just a small gesture. I tend to gravitate toward domestic chores and try to do as much as I can. Now, would I be considered subservient? No way. These things I would only do if a man treats me well and makes me feel appreciated and safe. The stereotype that Asian women are subservient or submissive usually is seen as negative portrayal, but this is simply not true.

    Perhaps you already have this thought in your head that men see Asian women this way and it turns into self-fulfilling prophecy when you date. I don’t know. Of course there is always bad men who treat women badly, and vice versa. As Evan already stated as well, there is also no denying that racism exists.

    But I don’t think that you should give up dating because of this. I think we don’t need to prove or disprove anything as Asian women. I am rooting for you, good luck.

  11. 11
    Mrs Happy

    Dear Elaine,

    my thoughts:

    if you are not living with a man (wife or defacto) and you are working full time, how could you be doing too much in the way of pet care and cleaning and childcare and other subservient duties for him?  I mean, who goes to a boyfriend’s house and minds his children without him there, or cleans his home?

    If you are in a committed relationship and living with a partner, you plan who will do what regarding chores, and both of you then pay someone to do the rest.

    You can’t stop feeling something.  Feelings aren’t under that much conscious control.

     

    1. 11.1
      sandra

      These were my thoughts as well.  How does normal “dating” morph into domestic service.  And if this occurs only after moving in together, how many men is she moving in with after a limited amount of time?  Some specifics may be lacking here.

  12. 12
    Jewel

    @ Clare… Why is a man being “traditional” considered a flaw to you (opinion or fact?)? Are you assuming that all “traditional” men will want you to work AND do most of the household chores? If so, then I don’t think I would label them a “traditional” male but rather a self centered jerk. However, if they want you to take care of the home while they work to take care of the bills, what is the harm in that? I understand it might not be your cup of tea but it is mine. If you come across a cute, nice guy like this and you don’t want him, feel free to send him my way. I apologize if I have made any assumptions about what you’ve said but your opinion is coming across as if you’re trying to state it as a fact. It’s not…

    1. 12.1
      Clare

      Jewel,

       

      I think you may be confusing me with the letter writer, Elaine, because I am totally baffled by your response to my post.

    2. 12.2
      MissDancer

      “However, if they want you to take care of the home while they work to take care of the bills, what is the harm in that? I understand it might not be your cup of tea but it is mine”.

      I’m not OP, but I’ll try to answer from my perspective. First of all I think it’s great that you enjoy that and it’s a sign you’re on your right path.But it’s hard to give up your  career when you’ve worked so hard to establish yourself and gain an education…all that hard work goes POOF in an instant and you lose your identity in a sense, you know? I mean I would get bored staying home and taking care of the house but that’s just me.

      The other thing is that the cost of living can be high in certain states and two incomes are needed to live a good lifestyle ( unless hubby is very well-off financially).  Also keeping your career brings a sense of security in case you got a divorce.I know some will say it won’t matter because everything splits into half but personally I would rather have something of my own. This is for another topic, but on an attraction level, I would rather not act “motherly” for a guy. Cooking is one thing but folding his socks and doing his laundry surely wont’ flame the fans of desire. lol. That’s just my perspective though 😉

  13. 13
    ScottH

    It occurred to me that when I was in relationships, my partner asked me to do “manly” things and I never thought twice about it.  I was asked to fix plumbing, cars, cut trees, lift heavy things, etc…  I was asked because she needed it and I could do it and it made me feel like I was taking care of her, which I liked.  The question is, are we being asked to do these things TOO much and are we treated like a servant rather than a partner?

    1. 13.1
      DeeGee

      @ ScottH said:
      The question is, are we being asked to do these things TOO much and are we treated like a servant rather than a partner?

      That is where the couple needs to find their own balance.  It is easy to take the other person for granted, or to request more from them than you give to them (unbalance).  It is also a choice for each of the individuals in the relationship.  If I choose to do a lot of things for a woman in my life, then I have no right to get angry with her and feel taken advantage of.  I need to be mature in the relationship and make sure that I am checking myself and my feelings so that I don’t let myself get into a situation where I am being taken advantage of.  I can always say no.  My choice.  But if I choose to do something for a woman, then I have no right to later feel taken advantage of.

  14. 14
    Stacy

    All categories of people have stereotypes (both negative and positive) that follow.  Trust me, being considered more subservient than other women is one of the kinder ones amongst the ones I have heard about different races/cultures.  I am sure there are many men available with the expectations you seek. I just get confused when people decide to give up on dating altogether when trying to work through these types of issues. Giving up on dating accomplishes nothing.

  15. 15
    DeeGee

    I classify myself as a “traditional” man.  In the sense that I have old fashioned values from the 50’s 60’s, masculine, faithful, dependable, honest, hard working, willing to provide for my girlfriend or wife, willing to take the lead in planning outings, prefer the house with the white picket fence dream, and I like to spoil my woman.  I am in my 50’s though so maybe I am out of touch with you younger folk.  😉
    That said, I don’t date a woman and then expect her to suddenly take over all of the domestic duties when we become committed.  I never have in any of my relationships.  If she isn’t working at all or if she is working part time, then of course it would be nice if she spent some time with cooking and cleaning if I am out working full time, but it isn’t something I outright expect.
    Right now I am single, I have a good female friend that I visit every few weeks and stay the weekend, and I usually cook most meals for her and help her clean.  To me that is no big deal.
    I think it just depends on the guy, and I think people vary a lot more than what they are given credit for, at least that is my observations.
    Maybe I am not the classic traditional but more egalitarian…
    I have quite a few Asian friends, and I have never thought of any of the women as submissive.  Hot maybe, but not submissive.  😉

  16. 16
    AMT

    I agree with everyone who said that Elaine should not give up on dating. I have hope for her that she will be able to find a partner who does not view her through racial stereotypes.

    That said, can everyone please stop dismissing her experience? Telling Elaine that her feelings or perceptions are wrong, or that she is falsely accusing the men she dates of racisism is not okay. It is not okay for people with power and privilege (white people, men, straight people, etc.) to explain what is or is not racism to a person of color. People of color often have different experiences from that of white people, and if Elaine says it’s racism, it’s racism.

    So now how does she find a man who does not hold these views?

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      1. You assume that whenever someone has any feelings or beliefs, they’re inherently valid. I think we can debunk that thusly: read a newspaper.

      2. How does she find someone without those views is answered above: keep dating and set realistic expectations for her journey.

    2. 16.2
      Stacy

      @AMT

      I think you’re projecting a little here.  If someone is racist, that denotes that there is a belief of superiority over others. I don’t think a traditional man expecting a woman to be more domestic because of history and/or perceptions (or misperceptions) classify as racism at all. I feel like, when everything is classified as being racist, then the true meaning gets lost.  We all have internal biases about people different from us if we aren’t familiar. The good and mature thing to do is to realize those biases and be open minded enough to understand that people are still individuals and not allow those stereotypes to shape how we think about everyone. By the way, I am a person of color as well.

      1. 16.2.1
        KK

        Stacy @ 6.1,

        Agreed. All of it!  👍☺

        1. KK

          (Typo)

          Stacy @ 16.2

          Wow. I really botched that. Lol

      2. 16.2.2
        Sum Guy

        I agree Stacy, it’s really more sexist…or more precisely assuming “traditional” gender roles of the local culture. I put tradition in quotes as reality and history can be far different from perception.

        Can you just be up front in any dating profile, maybe even humerous, you have a lot to offer but doing a lion (or lionesses) share of domestic chores ain’t it.

    3. 16.3
      Clare

      AMT,

       

      “It is not okay for people with power and privilege (white people, men, straight people, etc.) to explain what is or is not racism to a person of color.”

       

      – First, I am a white person, in a country where I am in the minority and barred from applying for most jobs and benefits because of my race. Does that make me privileged? If so, on what grounds?

       

      – Second, are you saying that racism is inherently subjective? In other words, it is whatever a person of colour says it is? That implies that there are, I don’t know, around 6 billion definitions of the word. That is untenable, and allows no room for any rational debate. That kind of thinking does not apply to any other term in the English language, which all aspire to a definition, so why is racism different?

       

      Why can I as a white person not have an opinion on whether behaviour is racist or not? I am a person, I have a race, I have a brain and understanding. I can apply concepts to a situation and arrive at a conclusion. No one is invalidating Elaine’s feelings or experience, or saying that she is wrong to feel the way that she does, or that her opinion is wrong. People are simply expressing their own opinion that, based on the facts, the behaviour is not necessarily racism. Unless the man in question openly makes a comment about Elaine’s race or admits to racist stereotypes, his behaviour is up for interpretation.

       

      Every other situation in life needs to be able to stand up to an analysis of the facts… why is this one any different?

    4. 16.4
      T

      I completely agree with you. I am an Avid Reader of this blog but I have not commented until now. As a person of color (a black woman), it is very common for people of privilege AKA white straight upper-middle-class Americans to try to dismiss our experiences with racism whether it’s overt or subtle. I’m very surprised that people are just chucking this up to him being a “traditional man” as supposed to dissecting her actual experience with these men. I really wish everyone would stop trying to tell her what her experiences are and what she’s feeling instead of just taking what she feels as her experience and going from there. I am very disappointed at some of the comments in this section. Please stop telling people of color what they should feel racism is, and really take a look at how racism can come in all forms.

      1. 16.4.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        T,

        If a man wants to marry a woman to serve as his “domestic servant” and he treats ALL women like that – not just Asian, not just Hispanic, not just black, but white as well, how can you say that his stance is inherently sexist? Doesn’t his intent matter, or only your perception/interpretation of his intent?

        Just as you are warning people like me not to “tell you what you feel racism is,” I would caution you not to assume something is racism simply because it happened to you as a person of color. It’s just as possible that the man sees ALL women in domestic roles, not just Asian women. That ALSO does not preclude the idea that SOME men in fact DO see Asian women that way. The problem is that you have no greater knowledge of his intent than I do, nor can you claim to just because you’re a black woman. The only person who really knows is the guy we’re talking about.

        1. AMT

          Here is an article that explains this better than I can. Basically, intent does not matter as much as impact, especially if it is “furthering the marginalization and oppression of those around us.” According to this article, “listening becomes vitally important, for our privilege can often shield us from understanding the impact of our actions.”

          Intent vs. Impact: Why Your Intentions Don’t Really Matter

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Sorry, but intentions matter a LOT. If they don’t, the balance of power lands with whomever is the most sensitive to getting hurt. Witness the insanity on college campuses, where students are protesting and trying to fire liberal professors for perceived offenses. Just because someone takes offense doesn’t inherently mean offense is given. There’s value to sensitivity and political correctness, but hypersensitive people don’t get to stifle debate. Not on college campuses. Not in America. And most definitely not on this blog. You’re not “right” just because you feel something. Nobody is. The equivalent would be some guy feeling jealous that you wore a tight outfit to a party and he told you that you CAN’T wear that again because it’s too provocative and disrespectful to him as a boyfriend. He thinks he’s being perfectly fair. I think he’s being a controlling dick who needs to step back and realize that not everything is an offense and you can’t police everyone else’s behavior because you don’t like it. When progressive men are tarnished as misogynist for not toeing the furthest line of political correctness – when you essentially turn your friends into enemies – you’re losing the battle for hearts and minds. There should not be one single rape on a college campus, but that doesn’t mean that heterosexual men who like to get drunk and hook up are all part of “rape culture”. These are important distinctions that get lost when the person who feels powerless claims the emotional right to override other people’s feelings.

        3. T

          Eric, you’re joking right? You didn’t just say that I can’t say that something is racist just because I’m a person of color? That’s ridiculous. People of color inherently know when someone is being racist towards them. But I guess that’s the great privilege that you have. To just pass something off as somebody just being a traditional Man versus him being a racist a******. If I’m a person of color and someone said something to me that is racist (ie saying because I’m black that they are very surprised that I’m articulate and educated… because that has been said to me on a date with a man that was white.) I’m not allowed to say that’s racist? I’m pretty sure she had other details that she did not disclose to you. And yes, I may not know all of the details as far as the relationships that she is had with these men, But as a woman of color, dating especially white men is a very touchy thing. More times than not, there are a lot of overtly racist things that you guys may not think is racist because it doesn’t inherently affect you.

          Just food for thought, if a person of color says they have experienced racism… It is not your job or place to try to convince them that it’s not.

        4. Evan Marc Katz

          a. There is a difference between racist behavior – like you described – and sexist behavior, which may or may not have to do with race. The original post was about the latter, and, as such, your straw man arguments don’t hold much sway. You have no idea if the men in question are racist – only that they want a more domestic partner than the OP. To assume racism is dangerous. Your inability to admit this is equally dangerous.

          b. My name is Evan. Says so all over the site.

        5. Shaukat

          Sorry, but intentions matter a LOT

          I agree that it’s impossible to know whether the men the OP was dating harbour racist views without more information, which we haven’t been given. I’ll also point out that Everyday Feminism, the website for the linked article, is a hypersensitive ragtag that views virtually everything as a micro-aggression.

          That said, there are occasions when we can identify systemic biases and prejudices where intent is absent. For example, I’ve seen studies which show that African American juvenile offenders are given harsher prison sentences than their white counterparts for the same crime, even after prior offenses are controlled for. I’ve also seen a study which illustrated that when respondents were shown photos of hypothetical black vs white offenders, they would tend to recommend higher prison sentences for the former for the same crime.

          Obviously, I don’t believe the judges and court officials are racist by intent in such examples; rather, the internalization of certain biases and prejudices could lead to a racist outcome even in the absence of overt racism. Thus, I don’t think intention is always the best yardstick to measure harm, though your point is well taken in this particular instance.

      2. 16.4.2
        AMT

        Thanks for replying and sharing your experience. I have also been an avid reader of the blog and am very disappointed by some of the comments as well. I’ve been checking this thread but otherwise do not have the heart to continue to read the blog or watch the podcasts.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Okay, AMT. When you’re ready to come out of your bubble where everyone validates your thoughts (because you’re the only person with a valid take on things and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong), I will still be here giving honest, reality-based dating advice to women who want to understand men and find love. I do hope you find the relationship you’re looking for. Best, Evan.

        2. AMT

          Please stop putting words into my mouth. You did it above as well (16.1), and it it frustrating to have some specific statements I made inaccurately generalized.

          You have some very helpful advice, which is why I started reading your blog in the first place. However, I would encourage you to listen a little more and consider getting some social justice training to build a more inclusive community.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          You’ve pointed out the inherent problem of SJWs – you demand that others listen, but refuse to offer the same courtesy and respect. It is as if your point of view is the only valid one. I’m only pointing out to you – and the original poster – that it’s not.

    5. 16.5
      Luka

      Elaine,

      That’s a very strange thing to say. What if Elaine feels like her bicycle is actually a potato. Is that true if she really feels like it is? Evan and others are advising her against blaming racism in this case because 1/ from the info they have provided they don’t feel that that is the case and 2/ its an extremely fatalistic and unhelpful view to hold in this instance. Evans advice is spot on here.

  17. 17
    Jewel

    @Clare

    No, I am not confused. I was responding to (and asking questions about) your post. Which part of my comment and/or questions do you find baffling? You seem to take issue with men being traditional and expect them to change. So I am asking if that is what you think or if I am misreading your comments (them wanting you to do the lion’s share of chores, etc.). I also asked if you mean a woman who is employed or not… As in, if she also works full time then I think his expectations are unfair. However, if the woman is not working, what is the problem?

    1. 17.1
      Clare

      Jewel,

       

      Yes, you are misunderstanding my post.

       

      Where did I say that I had a problem with a woman doing most of the housework if the man is working and she is not? I have zero problem with that. In fact, I find cleaning quite satisfying if I have no other work to keep me busy. My post was in reference to a situation where both partners work full-time; in that case, I see no reason why each can’t pick up after themselves a little bit and employ someone to do the more intensive housework. Not sure what there is to argue with in that.

       

      And where did I say I had a problem with traditional men? I love traditional men. I have dated almost exclusively men who were more traditional and I have a preference for them because they make me feel protected and loved. I simply said that no group of people is perfect, every group has their downsides. In the case of traditional men, this is often that you might need to explain to them that you, too, are tired after a full day’s work and don’t always feel like whipping up a fancy meal and doing housework at the end of it. Most traditional men I’ve dated have been reasonable and amenable to this reasoning. I’m pretty sure I said that in my original post. So, really not sure what there is to argue with.

  18. 18
    Noquay

    As a Native woman, I am often feteshized and yep, subject to a number of stereotypes, outright racism, and being mistaken for the majority Hispanics whose traditions/values are very different from mine. Like many highly educated woman, including the lady who submitted the question, I seek an equal who shares my values, regardless of race. I enjoy caring for a man, would love to retire tomorrow and care for a good, successful, man, travel with him, yet still live a life of purpose. Here, and I assume in places like Texas where men are mostly working class, the men want to but lack the wherewithal to be providers and often resent women who outearn them. Here, most would rather ski than do “mans” work so they preferred that I minimize my life so they didn’t have to do much of anything. Nope.  My socioeconomic peers are city dudes who have few man skills so again I wind up doing everything. Exhausting. Not a matter of Racism per se but demographics, values, overlaid with economic reality. I am preparing to leave the region for this very reason, seeking more progressive yet outdoor oriented places. Our poster probably needs to leave where she is too; we can’t always bloom where we are planted.

  19. 19
    Jewel

    @Clare,

    Actually you did not mention the work status of the woman (in your initial post nor the one after I asked you about the work status), which is why I asked you again. You finally answered to that on your third or fourth post. I also pointed out that a man who expects a woman to work full time AND cook/clean, is not traditional, but rather is selfish. Traditional men want their women to be stay at home wives and mothers. I think that point is confusing you. Additionally, it seems you are ignoring my questions and getting angry that I am asking for clarification from you (instead of assuming) which is why I wish no further interaction with you on this topic. Good luck in your search.

     

    1. 19.1
      Clare

      Suits me.

  20. 20
    Marie

    Hi Elaine,

    As an Asian American, what you describe is fairly common in my personal experience and there’s probably not a whole lot you can do about changing the stereotype itself. People who have these beliefs are going to have them regardless of what you do.  You either put up with it or cut and run.  There is not a great way to screen for it either.  I told guys I don’t cook, I don’t clean, I don’t do laundry and I bring home the bacon.  That usually screened out these types of men.  My husband is European.  He doesn’t hold these views.  I don’t know if that’s just him or because he didn’t grow up in the US.  He does tease me when I don’t do any chores that clearly he should have read the fine print about getting that subservient Asian woman but we both know that would never be me.  I suggest you lay out very clear boundaries and move on to the next guy if they start acting controlling/demanding of things that are just not you.  Eventually you will find the right person but if you quit now you will 100% not find the right person.  Also try moving – some cultures cannot be overcome or just take too much effort.

  21. 21
    T

    Evan, sorry about the name mistake, it was autocorrect. But you assuming that what he did was not racist is also just as dangerous. Maybe it was the choice of words that they use with her as far as being more domesticated. Maybe it’s the conversations that they have as far as her being Asian she should be more subservient. We do not know. You assuming just because she said that all of her Partners want her to be more domesticated as the relationships get more serious it’s just them wanting to be traditional men. I understand that you were just going by what the OP described as her experience in the relationship. But on the other hand I really feel like maybe you should have just left out anything revolving the racism piece. All that needed to be said was that you think racism is wrong and if that was the way she felt then… and then start to talk to her about what she should do as far as dating and relationships is concerned. Again there’s no reason why you should be telling her what her experience is as a person of color dealing with racism. We can agree to disagree.

    1. 21.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      T,

      1. I didn’t assume he was not racist. I only posited that it was a possibility. Are you denying that it’s a possibility? That if a man wants a woman to serve a more domestic role, he’s DEFINITELY racist? That would be surprising, given how many white woman ALSO experience that same preference.

      2. I should have left out anything involving racism? Her QUESTION was about racism. Me, saying “racism is wrong” is like me saying, “People breathe air.” It’s a nod to her feelings. People come for advice to consider something they HAVEN’T considered. In your version of my response, all I’d be allowed to say is, “You’re right.” Challenging her way of thinking is out of the question. Well, welcome to the world’s most boring advice column – one in which every woman is 100% correct about every situation because of her feelings.

      3. Feelings aren’t facts. I don’t need to belabor this point, but it’s true. The FACT is that I validated the author and then offered 3 counternarratives that she could consider. Your FEELING is that I told her that there was definitely no racism. If you read the quote again, I said no such thing.

      “The big blind spot is that it’s entirely possible that traditional men prefer traditional wives, but that doesn’t inherently make them racist.”

  22. 22
    John

    I enjoy reading this blog as educational and a bit of an escape from the news cycle.

    I find it hilarious that anyone could be such a victim that they could believe that intent does not matter.

    If someone accidentally stepped on your foot and apologized, would you say to that person that you know they didn’t mean to step on your foot; however, they still hurt you and now it is assault??

    Assuming you know what people’s motives are is ignorance on steroids.

    I remember a story the author Stephen Covey recounted in one of his informative books.

    He was going to a meeting on a train and suddenly these kids ran through the subway car screaming and having no regard for anyone else. The father eventually showed up and he and the kids sat down.

    Stephen Covey said to the father that he should control his kids and that the kids were bothering everyone in the subway car.

    The father of those unruly kids said he just buried their mother and he didn’t quite know how to handle things at the moment.

    Of course Stephen changed his attitude immediately and consoled the father.

    Stephen didn’t selfishly rant on about how he didn’t care if his wife died and how the father STILL should have controlled his kids regardless of the situation.

     

    1. 22.1
      AMT

      When one focuses on intent, it takes away from the impact on the receiving individual and makes it all about the offender. The situations I was referring to are those where Person A hurts Person B, and when Person B brings it up, Person A replies, “I didn’t mean to hurt you with what I did/said, etc.” and believes that should make everything magically fine instead of simply figuring out what went wrong and apologizing and resolving the problem.

      Your example is perfect – Person A steps on Person B’s toes accidentally, it doesn’t matter that A didn’t mean to, but A should still apologize and watch more carefully where they walk in the future to avoid further injury to B.

      The former example is someone being defensive; the latter is what we’re aiming for. OF COURSE Person A did not intend to hurt Person B. But the fact remains, B has a bruised toe and A needs to get past their discomfort and make it right by apologizing or whatever is required to make amends. It’s not Person B’s responsibility to soothe Person A’s guilt/feelings of defensiveness, etc.

      Another way to look at it is that it’s the difference between believing you’re a “good person” and getting upset when that belief is challenged and believing that you’re a “person who tries to do good things.” If you’re a person who tries to do good things, then it leaves space for mistakes.  There’s room for dialogue and improvement instead of shutting down conversation because your worth as a human is under attack. No one is flawless, including me, but I do try to do my best at advocating for those who are often overlooked.

      1. 22.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I do, too. We just disagree on this issue.

        Person B can be a permanent victim with no consequence. Whatever she feels is what matters. She could be irrational, hypersensitive, or flat out wrong but if she feels offended, the offender has to take responsibility for her feelings. Sorry, but one’s feelings – ANYONE’s feelings – are not the law of the land for the rest of us to follow.

        1. AMT

          Oh, ok, I see where we disagree. I view physical and psychological wounds as the same, and you see them as different. For instance, if you accidentally hit and injured someone with your car, you would expect to pay for damages (I hope), even though it wasn’t intentional. I see emotional damage as equivalent – for example, when veterans return from combat, their psychological war stress injuries can be just as debilitating as losing a limb. The psychological stress accumulated from a lifetime of being the target of conscious or unconscious microaggressions also falls into this category. Obviously Person A’s apology can’t heal all wounds, but they can take responsibility for the occurrences where they do harm (intentionally or unintentionally) while operating on the good faith of Person B that they will do their best to accept the repair.

          I’m hearing you say that you do not think you should be held accountable for your actions by people you view as irrational. I agree that if someone is simply not accepting an apology made in good faith and not open to repairs, then that is on them. However, it can be useful to keep in mind that permanent victimhood often arises from people not having the skills or tools to work on healing. It can take a lot of energy and resources to recover from trauma and sometimes it is simpler to blame others to avoid looking inward. So instead of being defensive, let’s focus on having some compassion for ourselves and others while helping to ease pain where we can.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Well said. I also don’t think I need to apologize if I’ve done nothing wrong. See the flareup with Bret Weinstein at Evergreen University as a prime example.

  23. 23
    Helene

    The reason why intent matters is that I cannot live my life going around second-guessing what someone else may find offensive (which nowadays seems to be pretty much everything!) . I’m not a mind reader. I have no control over other people or how they choose to interpret the world, my words or my actions.

    Being accused of being racist or sexist can, in some situations, have very serious implications for an individual, for instance in the workplace. It is therefore important that people know where they stand and what is and is not acceptable behaviour. For this to all hinge on how someone else felt –  ” if I feel its racist then it is”  – is absurd.

    A person offfers round some cake in the coffee room at work. I say no thanks, adding ” I don’t like chocolate cake”. Some one chooses to interpret this as an ” anti-black sentiment and a racist comment”, and because that is how they “felt” ,  I have committed a racist act??!  Of course intent matters.

     

     

     

    1. 23.1
      Jeremy

      Agreed, Helene.  One of the basic tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is to distinguish our feelings from the underlying thoughts that trigger them.  Feelings don’t exist in isolation – they often derive from our automatic thoughts.  If we *think* that mentioning chocolate cake (as per your example) has racial implications, we feel offended.  If we *think* that chocolate cake is just cake, though, we don’t feel offended.  Rather than placing our feelings as primary, we need to evaluate the correctness of the underlying thoughts and judge whether our feelings are justified or not.  And if not, then they are no one else’s problem but our own.

  24. 24
    helene

    To get back to the original poster:

    “once the relationship becomes committed, the tone of the relationship changes”

    Yes, it does. Its called real life! During the early stages of dating, everyone is on their best behaviour. Once people become committed and move in together, none of us can keep this up and real life kicks in. Most people don’t enjoy domestic chores that much, so once living together there is an inevitable push/pull about who does what. Unless you can afford full-time help, you are going to have to do SOME domestic chores, as is your partner. The aim of the game is to get out of the ones you hate the most, and do others you dislike slightly less in return.

    I work full time and earn a six-figure salary. I do most of the cooking, all the laundry and ironing. I do the general tidying up. My husband, who works from home, facilitates this by leaving stuff everywhere, thus allowing me to express my feminine side by picking up after him. However, he also  makes the breakfast and brings it to me in bed every day, loads the dishwasher,does home repairs and stuff to do with the cars. The general cleaning, mopping floors, bathrooms etc is done by the  – you guessed it!  – subservient south east asian cleaning woman who is a lovely lady from brunei who appears to derive great satisfaction from making things nice, and even brings us cakes she has baked herself. Nail me to a tree and whip me for racist oppression….

     

     

     

    1. 24.1
      shaukat

      lovely lady from brunei who appears to derive great satisfaction from making things nice

      This is a delusional statement. She does her job well because she wants to keep it. Nobody wakes up and decides to enthusiastically put everything they have into cleaning homes with great joy and enthusiasm. I guarantee you that your cleaning lady doesn’t derive ecstatic fulfillment from picking up after you.

  25. 25
    Karmic Equation

    Hi Elaine,

    I’m an Asian American immigrant. I emigrated to America with my family when I was 6 and now I’m fifty. I live in a liberal state in the northeast (is that redundant? haha). I’ve dated almost exclusively caucasian men. Married and divorced one. Currently in an 2+ year LTR with another caucasian man.

    My marriage was an inverse of a traditional marriage. I was the bacon-bringer-homer and my husband was the house-husband. We had no children. However, I was the one cared for our dogs and was the one who drove to get the take out if we didn’t decide to eat out.  I paid the bills because he wasn’t internet savvy. He couldn’t cook, but I did once in a while. He did the laundry (not well, but he did it, so I never complained), except when he shrunk my only cashmere sweater.

    Current bf owns his own business, but it is a blue collar, physically labor-intensive business. He stays at my house most of the time. I do his laundry, mostly because I’m weirdly possessive about my washer and dryer. I really don’t like others using them. Not sure why this is.

    Point is that I do what I don’t mind doing, some of that could be termed subservient, but I never perceived any of what I did or didn’t do with my husband as subservient, as I had no problems either saying no if I didn’t want to do something. Most things I did I did not necessarily because I enjoyed them, but rather because doing them didn’t bother me.

    So second point is that if you mind doing what you do in relationship of you, and you’re not willing to say “no”, then that might have contributed to the resentment of the request or expectation.

    I have to say that AFTER I divorced and I analyzed all that I did in the relationship, I felt that I did the lion’s share of the chores in our relationship. I could have gotten mad at him after the fact, but I recognized that while I was IN the relationship, it really didn’t bother me.

    While I didn’t rarely did any laundry when married, I’ve done a lot in this relationship. I don’t resent it. He’s teased me that it would be nice to come home to a hot dinner once in a while, but I just give him a sideways look and say “yeah right”. We just go out to dinner and occasionally, I’ll pick up dinner. Sometimes I feel that since I do “so much” (laundry) for him that he should expect that we go dutch as often as we do. But I have to be honest, he’s given me furniture and jewelry  (his job gives him access to good stuff free) and taken care of my dogs when I was away, that my perception of him not paying enough may be unfair.

    So third point is that as Shaukat and ScottH have mentioned, perhaps you have expected him to do the “manly” things, but he harbors no resentment of your having those expectations.

    My advice would be, do what you don’t mind doing, and don’t label those things and don’t keep count. That’s your contribution to the relationship. However, on the things that you DO mind doing, if he’s not willing to do them (my husband didn’t know which end of the hammer to use nor did want to mow our massive lawn), you hire someone, or you negotiate or who can do it.

    Don’t angst about the labels on the chores or other activities that need to be done in a relationship. Say no when you don’t want to do them. Help define alternative solutions (usually paying a 3rd party).

    1. 25.1
      Karmic Equation

      Edit,

      *he SHOULDN’T expect we go dutch as often as we do.

    2. 25.2
      Karmic Equation

      Final thought,

      I’m not sure if guys you’ve been dating are racist or sexist or not.

      I’ve had a “racist” bf who had many minority friends (his racism only shared in private); and I’ve had non-racist bfs and friends who didn’t have ANY black or hispanic friends. So who’s the racist? The one who gets along with minorities or the one who doesn’t have any minority associations (other than me) to speak of?

      Is he sexist? Maybe, maybe not. But does it really matter? When men say “women are crazy” is he being sexist? Sure. LOL. But is he wrong? I don’t think so, anymore than you’re a sexist if you need him to lift something or fix something in the house, or if you call him “clueless” (most men are, though).

  26. 26
    MissDancer

    OP should leave Texas and meet men in the nice areas of Southern CA. I know tons of professional, affluent, progressive men dating beautiful Asian women. They don’t ask them to give up their careers and become their maid because they can AFFORD to get a real one! LOL.

    Make sure you test them and find out what beliefs they grew up with regarding gender roles, did mommy did everything growing up ( which means you’re the next mommy) or did they have chores and responsibilities? What are their sisters like? Did they give up their careers after marriage based on choice was it because they had to?

    I understand your frustration, but you cannot waste any more time. Channel that anger to exploring different places and possibly relocating. All the best!

  27. 27
    Harlan

    THE SOLUTION: Leave the white men to white women! Have self-respect and go for your own kind. Only date asian men. Things will be much more natural for you and you will be much happier in your relationship.

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