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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.“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.A quick browse on the Internet for “yellow fever fetishes” brings up a host of websites, articles and videos, mostly from the US, that express humour, distaste and offence at the sexualised objectification of East Asian women, with some equating yellow fever to racism rooted in colonial ideas of power and submission.Interestingly, however, many East Asian women aren’t bothered; some even play up to the stereotypes or entertain such fetishes, according to Dr. Indeed, websites like My New Chinese Wife – set up by Chinese women in Hong Kong, the UK and US, promote what it sees as traditional qualities of “Sweet Chinese Brides”, and assist westerners in finding their own.
She points to how British Chinese do well academically and professionally.
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.
“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.
The stereotyping plays itself out in the roles you see Chinese women playing in theatre, on TV or in films.Take the 25th anniversary revival of Miss Saigon in the West End.