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Photo via Marie Claire
In a recent Marie Claire article, beauty director Ying Chu poses the provocative question, “why are the West’s most powerful men coupling up with younger Asian women?”

Chu cites many Hollywood couples as examples, such as Nicolas Cage and Alice Kim, Zhang Ziyi and venture capitalist Vivi Nevo; and most famously, Woody Allen and his once-adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. And while these couplings aren’t exactly breaking news (nor is the concept of “yellow fever” for that matter), the article investigates the concept of an Asian trophy wife — are these older men dating younger Asian women as an exotic status symbol?

“After two or three failed attempts at domestic bliss with women of like background and age, these heavy hitters sought out something different. Something they had likely fetishized,” says Chu.

Furthermore, Chu goes onto to speculate why the women go along with it regardless:

“Maybe these outsized, world-class moguls are stand-ins for emotionally repressed Asian dads (one cliché that is predominantly true). Or… are these women just glorified opportunists?”

Chu points out that many of these Asian trophy wives are highly educated and successful, which goes against the idea of a traditional trophy wife who is much less educated than her husband.

As you probably can tell, this article has incited some pretty strong comments both in the blogosphere and in the articles comments section. There are some out there who don’t take too kindly to Ying Chu’s generalizations. Read TheFrisky.com’s rebuttal to Chu’s piece here. The popular relationships site argues that this article needlessly marginalizes the interracial relationships that ARE genuine:

“Not all interracial relationships between whites and Asians deserve to have doubt cast upon them,” says Frisky writer Jessica Wakeman. “Lots of men simply think Asian women are beautiful — just like lots of men simply think blondes are beautiful —which doesn’t necessarily qualify as a fetish.”

I tend to agree with Wakeman. Sure,  there are a handful of men who fetishize Asian women according to the most stereotypical terms, but isn’t there a difference between dating an Asian because she’s submissive/hypersexual/whatever and merely finding them more attractive?

For more commentary on this article, check out Disgrasian, 8Asians, Jezebel, doubleX, Korean Beacon, and You Offend Me You Offend My Family.

Here are some of the many negative reader comments from this article on Marie Claire’s website so far:

“This article does nothing but drum up the same awkwardness that Spike Lee and other closed minded people in the media have used to make Asians, Blacks Whites and Latinos feel ashamed for “dating outside of their race.” — katty852

“This is embarrassing, both for the writer and the editors. As a piece of written work, this would be laughed out of a freshman gender studies class. As an Asian-American female, I read the comments regarding “emotionally unavailable fathers” and “always respecting our elders” with disgust. Really? All of us fit into this box? I used to be a huge fan of Marie Claire, but the level of this article makes it clear why the magazine has lost its draw.” — saracee1

“As an Asian American woman in my late thirties, I was disturbed at how immature and insecure Chu’s writing was an extension of her own self image. Is she speaking about herself, asking if she could not understand why a white man would want to date her? ” — missmodern

“Who are you to judge whether or not people are in love or not just because two people are of different ethnicity?” — mp314

“Although I too have rolled my eyes at some of the aforementioned pairings of late, this piece really does a disservice by recycling hackneyed stereotypes without offering any real analysis, insight or even basic facts. It reads like the rant of someone taking a freshman course on race, gender and identity politics.” — d7253

What do you think readers? Is Chu hitting on an uncomfortable trend or she hitting a career-low with this article?

Photo via Marie Claire

0 Replies to “Marie Claire’s Take On Asian Trophy Wives Gets Severe Backlash”

  1. I was one of the readers who commented negatively on the MC article. As I said there, I’ve been the target of many creeps with obvious Asian fetishes since I hit puberty. At times, I’ve even felt somewhat endangered, in addition to emotionally violated, and it certainly added some complications to my dating life. But I’m now happily married to a white man, and it saddens me when I read articles like Ying Chu’s and see women like myself characterized as “submissive,” “opportunist” or “hypersexual” — the very same stereotypes that those creeps I had to outrun (once literally) projected onto me. As an Asian American, I don’t want to be defined solely by my race, no matter how proud I am of my heritage. As a woman, I don’t want to be defined by the men in my life, no matter how important they are to me. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
    On a related note — I am an avid reader of blogs about Asian American issues, and I’ve read a good number of posts that also criticize Asian American women in relationships with white men (I’m not talking about mochi blog… you guys are very levelheaded). This makes me worry for the Hapa kids we will have one day. What kind of stereotypes will they have to deal with? Will they feel just as excluded from the Asian American community at the same time they inevitably run into prejudice from center members of the white majority? I want them to be proud of their Asian American heritage and feel a sense of warmth from it — not a sense of exclusion.

  2. […] week, we saw how Marie Claire’s article on “Asian trophy wives” incited reactions among the blogosphere, and it led us to wonder how the younger generation of […]

  3. nicole says:

    catherine_sr.:
    You bring up a great point. The article’s assumption that all Asian women who couple up with white men are submissive and vixen-ish is an offensive stereotype to the Asian female population. Luckily, all the negative reaction out there shows that most people aren’t so narrow-minded as to subscribe to this belief.
    Mochi Magazine:
    Thanks for bringing up the article. It’s quite controversial, and by bringing this piece to light one can discover the general public sentiment towards the stereotype mentioned in the article. (As I’ve mentioned above, the reaction so far is tending towards the negative, so that’s a positive sign– in my opinion.)

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