Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior at Producing AFCs

DL requested that I change the blog title to something more appropriate. Haha.

Guest Chinese-American Blogger DL returns to discuss and address the issue of Asian-Americans' propensity to be approval-seeking people-pleasers. I'm always delighted by DL's posts, because he offers a fresh perspective on being an Asian-American male treading against the current of family and cultural influences as well as societal pressures. If you haven't had a chance to read through the Keep it on the DL series, you definitely should. Here's part Two, Three, Four and Five.

When I was a teenager, my cousin Susan married a White man, Walter, who had gone to
Berkeley with my cousins and whom everyone acknowledged was just as smart as any of them,
but he took a “dead end” 9-5 job instead of the more ambitious six-figure corner office jobs that
my cousins pursued. Once, at a BBQ, they asked him what made the difference and he
shrugged, “I didn’t have Asian parents putting me down all the time, manipulating me into
seeking their approval with accomplishments.” This struck a chord with me at the time but I
forgot all about it until I read that Wall Street Journal article on Amy Chua’s “Tiger Mom” book.

The thing about Walter, though, is that he is much more content and confident than any
of my cousins. And therein lies an interesting paradox – berating your children so that they are
desperate for your approval may produce more productive, ambitious people, but not happier
ones, and certainly not confident ones, not leaders, and absolutely not ladies’ men.

In a lot of Masir Jones’ posts, he talks about how Asian men are often emasculated in the
media, which I grant is a real problem, but I think a much greater problem is the emasculation at
home by Asian American parents, particularly mothers. We are told that we have no inherent
value, that we have to earn approval and validation from others, so many of us become
desperate, unassertive people-pleasers. This is made worse by the fact that Hollywood idealizes
the “nice guy” like Turtle from Entourage, whom a lot of women I know think is “soooo cute!”
because he tries so hard to impress girls, even though in real life, Turtle’s behavior would
rightfully earn him the label of weak and creepy loser.

I have seen way too many Asian guys try to win over girls with expensive gifts, over-
eager attempts to impress, and obvious but indirect shows of interest, all of which made the
objects of their affection creeped out and lose respect for them, and all of which stem from their
approval-seeking natures. The gifts and attempts to impress come from a place of “her affection
is a prize I need to buy or earn.” The indirect shows of interest are rooted in the dual desire to
show interest but fear of rejection. You know what I’m talking about, the “I’m kinda interested,
but maybe I’m not serious depending on how you react” moves that we all pulled in our
adolescence but an unfortunate number of us are still using in adulthood. In case you’re one of
these people and you haven’t figured it out by now, everyone can see through what you’re doing
and it’s pathetic.

But it’s not all on you. As I mentioned above, if you grew up with Asian parents, you
were probably raised that way. The article on Chua’s book contained an excerpt in which she
called her daughter’s self-made birthday card “trash” and humiliated her for it. This particular
event contains a number of lessons for the girl, particularly; “you are unworthy unless you
impress me” and “any and every misstep is a horrible failure.” If you grew up with that kind of
mother, you also probably grew up to be terrified of ever having to face rejection, especially
from a woman.

My mother tried to drill in me the idea that I would never be anyone or amount to
anything unless I did exactly as she said. It wasn’t TV and the media that told me White girls
would never be interested in Asian guys, it was my mother and other Asian people. My mother
believed that so much that in high school when I brought home a White girlfriend who had all
the classic Nordic traits – pale skin, blue eyes, blonde hair – my mother said to me, “What’s with
you and this Mexican?”

It’s not all Asian American mothers, of course. And it’s not exclusive to Asian American
mothers either – I’ve heard similar kinds of stories about Jewish mothers. However, I’ve
personally seen the problems this kind of childhood has caused for me and many of my Asian
American friends so I felt I needed to speak on it.

Not only does this kind of childhood ruin a person’s confidence, so that s/he lacks self-
respect, accepts insults and bullying without fighting back, tolerates abusive relationships
personally and professionally, and becomes overly risk averse, it also badly damages the child’s
ability to find fulfillment.

In her book, Chua acknowledges that for all her very impressive accomplishments
(becoming a law professor at Yale, for example) she felt empty and unfulfilled in her endeavors
because she was always working for the payoff. That resonated with me deeply. Many of us
work towards our ambitions not because we enjoy the process, the challenges that come with the
work, but because we think, “Once I accomplish X, once I have Y, I’ll be happy.” Of course,
that’s never true, but it’s what the manipulative parenting that Amy Chua and many Asian
Americans parents provided taught us: “You hate doing this, but maybe if you do it perfectly,
you’ll get the validation I always withhold from you.”

So we as Asian Americans toil and take shit from people, we don’t demand respect in the
we should, we act like approval-seeking people-pleasers because we think there may be a payoff
and because we’re so afraid that if we don’t do exactly the right thing, we might be rejected and
humiliated when in reality it’s that inability to stand up for ourselves that invites the rejection
and humiliation. We focus so much on the payoff that we can’t enjoy or derive fulfillment from
the process even though process consumes the vast majority of our time, and the payoff is never
as lasting or satisfying as we imagine.

It may seem as though I wrote this article to rant against Asian American parents and lay
the blame for unhappy, sexually frustrated Asians Americans (especially men) at their feet.
While I admit that I do have a problem with Asian moms (you may recall from my previous
posts here that I almost never date Asian women) the point of this article is actually to highlight
a big cause of many Asian Americans’ problems with self-confidence that doesn’t get much
attention so that we can address it. The next time you fall into approval-seeking behaviors or fail
to stand up for yourself, recognize it and force yourself to act otherwise.

I agree with Masir Jones’ friend from his A Question to Asian-American Women &
Why More Asian-American Guys Should Date Non-Asian Girls post. Sitting here getting
angry at the way Asians are portrayed in the media is not going to change anything, and it’s
certainly not going to make any of us any happier. Unlearning some of the terrible lessons our
parents taught us and asserting ourselves might.


  1. I think the main issue for alot of asian guys is that they think the exact same as asian women.

    That is asian girls see white guys particularly white guys with "classic Nordic traits – pale skin, blue eyes, blonde hair" as a step up from asian guys like proof they can get a guy considered 'superior' to an asian guy.

    Much like this author believes with white girls being superior to asian girls.

    The only difference being quite a few white guys find asian girls attractive so these asian girls get their wish. While very few white women find asian men attractive hence the bitterness over the unfairness of not getting a white person.

    It really is just white worshiping plain and simple.

    1. Hey now. I never made any value judgments regarding any races being superior or inferior to any other race. You're putting words in my mouth. I only put that anecdote in there to point out my mother's refusal to believe that any White girl would ever be attracted to an Asian male even though there was clear evidence to the contrary - and I pointed out her nordic traits to make it clear that the only way my mother could have mistaken her for Mexican was to go through some pretty drastic mental gymnastics.

      Also, I sincerely doubt your claim that "very few white women find Asian men attractive" and have had a lot of experiences that prove otherwise.

      I personally don't date Asian girls as a reaction to all the abuse I took from my mother as a kid, and as a reaction to the whole notion of "racial purity." It's true I've dated a fair share of White girls, but I've also dated Indian girls, Black girls, Arab girls, Hispanic girls, and mixed-race girls.

      I think that it's very interesting and sad that in a post all about the harmful effects of growing up with emotionally manipulative, derisive parents, you pick out that tiny anecdote about dating White girls and harp on it. It's also sad that once again we have another Asian person who 1) can't acknowledge that when I say, "I rarely date Asian girls" that there are other options than White, and 2) perpetuates the idea that "very few white women find asian men attractive."

  2. "very few white women find asian men attractive."

    Get real DL take a walk down the street in any major city. You'll see way more asian women with white men than the reverse.

    And my issue is much like the white men I see with asian women the few white women i've seen with asian guys look like they had no options within their own race e.g ugly nerds who think white worshipping asians will appreciate them because of their "blond hair and blue eyes".

    People online always talk about how its changing but its not. I've heard people talk about how its changing since 2005! Using selected youtube videos where they have scoured the internet for pictures of white women and asian men which in turn just seems pathetic like the black women who make the videos showing them with white men.

    I'm not trying to be negative only a realist.

    If many white women did find asian men attractive we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

    Its not just empirical observation every study on race and attraction shows that asian guys are viewed as the least attractive.

    Sounding a bit bitter but when people try to use exceptions to prove the rule for everyone it annoys me.

    1. I've also noticed that bizarre trend of Asian guys now trying to put on that fake macho tough guy image by claiming they and other so called AM's 'have no problems' with non-Asian women and are super successful and that any Asian guy who says otherwise is a whiney weak bitter loser.

      Of course the the whole new 'Asian male Romeo persona' is just a compensation for their insecurities and weaknesses with women in the first place.

      To say Asian men don't have it tough with non-Asian women, and it is freaking tough, is a complete delusional denial of reality. No amount of fake tough guy talk can cover up reality.

      Conversely you could also find just as many examples of white women in their 20's marrying old men in their 60's and 70's. Does that make it normal for women in their 20's? Of course not.

      Unpleasant facts are hard to look at, so now Asian guys are sticking their heads up their ass and ignoring it by covering it up with happy, happy rainbow over the mountain garbage.

    2. I don't think any of us have claimed that they "have no problems with non-Asian women". The only thing that I claim is that it's not as bad as you make it out to be. When you go up to a girl and you carry the mentality believing that you are at a disadvantage, you've already lost the battle. Sorry, but that doesn't exude confidence.

      Also, I have never stated that Asian men don't have it tough with either non-Asian or Asian women alike. The fact is we do have it tough, but it's not insurmountable. If you live around DL or my area, SoCal and NorCal respectively, you'd see that we have a grand old time workin' the ladies. Maybe you should even come out with us one of these nights and see how we play with a different, positive and playful attitude.

      Are we always successful? Of course not. As I've mentioned before, there are nights where I flop like a mop. Do I get pissed? Naturally...for about a day since it can get pretty painful after the 7th rejection in a row. But guess what? I dust my shoulders off and move on. Other nights I'm on fire closing almost every chick I approach and get physical with some of them.

      What I'd like for Asian-American male readers to take away from this, is that as much as I blog, I also execute in real life. With every interaction I replay, dissect and learn from my mistakes. Sometimes I make the same mistakes over and over again until due to habit. Other times I find that missing ingredient which improves my overall Game.

      My point is that no matter how unfavorable your odds are, sitting back and watching her pass you by and complaining will do absolutely nothing for you OR your Asian-American brethren.

      Shatter the stereotype. Don't reinforce it with your super glue of griping.

    3. I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that there are plenty of women (or all races, even other Asian women) who won't date Asian guys. I remember MasirJones once told me that he went to a bar, approached two Asian girls, and they said to him flat out, "We're only into White guys."

      However, that was not the point of my post.

      The point is that as much as there are real problems out there, Asian men's lack of confidence only reinforce the stereotypes and make them worse. Of the girls that I've been with, a vast majority of them have told me that I'm the first Asian guy, and that they were very surprised. Some of them said, "Asian guys never approach me and when I first saw you, I assumed you were going to be really shy."

      So yes, that assumption is out there. They said, "shy" but I also know that they also probably thought, "weak," "unmanly," and a lot of the other negative stereotypes that we're saddled with. So I have to ask, "When is the last time that you approached a girl of another race? What is the last thing you've done to challenge the stereotype?"

      Again, I'm not suggesting that there aren't unfair stereotypes out there, or that we should "stick our heads in our asses and cover it up with a happy, happy rainbow." I'm suggesting that we actively fight those stereotypes and that the style of child-rearing that Amy Chua wrote about only produces children who feed into the stereotype.

      And look, my post was about MUCH MORE than just dating, interracial or otherwise. It is about a style of child-rearing which strips growing minds of confidence, and raises people who are conditioned to be abused and subjugated. I'm not going to tell you to "just get over it" or that if you just change your attitude, you'll change your life situation, because that's a lot of horseshit. What I am saying it that these negative stereotypes of us have deep, deep roots starting from childhood, and are only reinforced by media depictions, negativity, and our (Asian Americans') continued reliance on them to excuse ourselves from trying.

      Morehouse College once said: "He who starts behind in the race of life must forever remain behind or he must run faster than the one who is ahead." We started behind, so it's up to us whether we give up and say, "It's no use. I can't win anyway, what's the point?" Or, you can start pumping your legs.

  3. Funny you say that 'cause that's what I say about the Asian chicks dating white dudes. Usually they're pretty busted, but hey...everyone need love too. Being bitter is natural but to hold that grudge against Asian women is unhealthy and an exercise in futility. You're much better off working on improving yourself to become more attractive and enhance your Game.

    You sound like a fat chick that always bitches about how guys are assholes yet won't do anything about losing weight and getting into shape. Or the girl who lacks any form of feminity and then wonders why no guy wants to fuck her.

    If you really want to date someone, especially one of your own kind, then you should learn and do what it takes to win. Stating the obvious that there's an imbalance in the interracial dating scene will not get you anywhere besides Mt. Angry.

    Next time you see a hot girl, break the stereotype. Go up and talk to her.

  4. DL my issue with you is you're exactly like the majority of Asian women I've met.

    You are a white worshiper plain and simple, and the only difference between you and Asian women is that they are far more successful at it and they get their "white male prize" more often than Asian guys get the reverse.

    Until the white worshiping stops Asian males will always be seen as inferior and the status quo will continue.

    We have to stop buying into the BS and start appreciating ourselves.


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