-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Sun, 18 Feb 2001 20:48:10 -0800

> this is an interesting phenomenon. i have no idea why
> westerners are so interested in our asian women.
> (then again, i find myself strangely more attracted to
> non-asian women, so i suppose it constitutes fair
> trade? :P)

It's a form of both racism and sexism, based on a number of stereotypes, the two
most common being the "Madame Butterfly" (see also "Geisha Girl") and the
"Dragon Lady" (see also "Mata Hari"). Both are related to a very ancient myth
of the foreign seductress who tempts the Righteous Man away from the path of
righteousness -- Lilith, Delilah, Jezebel -- that became formalized as "the
Vamp" in Western popular culture by the cinematic personae of actress Theda
Bara, whose stage name is an anagram of "Arab Death" and symbolizes the allure
of forbidden sexual desire.

In science fiction, the Alien Woman is embodied as a genuine alien, but the
stereotype is the same: she is not of our kind and thus ignorant of our taboos,
making her quite literally shameless.

As you note, the Alien Woman is not restricted to any single race or ethic
group, she need only be "alien" to the person or culture in question. Some
Turks, for example, have as much of a fetish for blondes and redheads as some
Americans have for "exotic" Turkish "harem girls" and belly dancers. The genie
in I Dream Of Jeanne is thus an attraction in both cultures, being a blonde,
blue-eyed harem girl eager (and, more to the point, able) to literally fulfill
any wish.

In Asian American parlance, the fetish for Asian women prevalent among non-Asian
men is called "Yellow Fever" and nothing turns any of the Asian American women
with whom I'm acquainted off faster than the intimation that a man is attracted
to her first and foremost by the mere fact that she's Asian.

I have a personal reason for deploring this particular stereotype, as it was the
myth of the "Dragon Lady" that resulted in a good friend of mine spending nearly
a decade behind bars and more years than I've been alive identified as a
villainess who never actually existed. You'll find all the sad and sordid
details at:



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