You've probably heard the term Rice King, a non-Asian guy who goes after Asian women. Or perhaps you've heard of Rice Queens, gay non-Asian men who go after Asian men.
But have you ever heard of Rice Queens being used to refer to non-Asian women who go after Asian men?
And therein lies the problem.
I've written about the subject of Asian men and sexual attraction in various ways over the years, beginning with my very first story for the Georgia Straight back in 2003, a cover story about how Asian male actors were having trouble finding roles other than as brainy nerds, sexless doctors, or martial artists.
While Asian straight women are one of the most fetishized dating prospects, Asian straight men, on the other hand, are the least, virtually invisible when it comes to sexy images in popular culture, even when they are on par in terms of physical attractiveness as their non-Asian equivalents.
(Asian gay men fall somewhere in between, being either highly fetishized or being told "no Asians" on dating sites. Yet activism has taken place within the Asian gay male community, such as the Sexual Racism Sux campaign or a new site for Asian gay men, launched by local Edward Ho, to share their dating experiences and other efforts. The question remains if there is the same level of activism to address how straight Asian men have been depicted or treated.)
The invisibility of attractive Asian straight men in the media remains a longstanding and unaddressed problem, particularly in Hollywood, and it does have an impact on self-esteem, relationships, and mental health.
Here's a comprehensive explanation from MTV News that ties the history of gendered discrimination against Asian people in the U.S. to contemporary perceptions of attraction (or lack of attraction) towards Asians, including laws against women marrying Asian men in the U.S.
Sexual attraction is complicated but it does integrate attitudes and perceptions absorbed from sources as varied as images in media, family attitudes, personal experiences, and more.
The thing is, we all absorb discrminatory attitudes embedded from around us unconsciously—it's a question of whether we are actively working towards addressing them or not.