The LA Times published an interesting article on Asian American male sexuality:
Asian American men lack the success Asian American women have had in interracial relationships. It's a sensitive fact complicated by the belief by many in the community that society objectifies Asian females as hyper-sexual Suzy Wongs. The 2000 Census shows that Asian American women are more than twice as likely to be involved in an interracial marriage than their male counterparts.
Let me flip the focus on to Asian women for a moment. "Hyper-sexual" is clearly the Occidental stereotype of Asian women, similar to the stereo type of African men. I'm no expert on questions of gender and race, but I still have my two cents. Koreans fluxuate wildly, in fitting with their hyper-evolving (by which I mean changing, not necessarily bettering) culture, on sexual mores and racial stereotypes. (I've also known some very atypical Koreans - English teachers who ran away from home, a student who eloped, priests who studied in Greece and Boston, missionaries in Kenya, one of whom had married a Japanese....yeah, a very weird sample.) I get a conflicting impression of Korean female sexuality. On one hand, the Confusian Ethic seems so engrained that it seems no one ever has sex. (Oh, but they do, they do.) I work with a handful of Korean women, and they're fairly conservative. When one of them got married there was a bit of an uproar. The only one with consistant boyfriend repeated turns down his proposals and doesn't seem to see him much. (She, however, is the strange one of the litter - she's comfortable enough to have him spend the night with her, but checks with everyone in the house multiple times to make sure it's okay. But that's another topic.) All of them dress quite modestly. Yet, when I cracked a mild innuendo to the newlywed teacher, she suddenly gave me a rather more detailed run down of her honeymoon's events than I cared to know. So I'm not sure what counts as modesty.
It's that modesty, though, that is at the center of the issue. Watching the Western women at the Lantern festival, I was struck by just how brash they seemed to be. The Korean women were certainly a delight in comparison. This demure attitude is what's also frustrating; I don't think I'm alone among Western men to appreciate opinion, wit, and combative tension in a woman. Korea women have it in them, I'm sure - I've seen it in their little girls - but it seems to be socialized out of them. (It's not just the language barrier, I know women who's English is perfectly suited to the task.)
But this trait is a problem when Western men observe Asian men. Knowing our place isn't something we're good at in the West, especially in that den of rebellion, America. Meekness is perhaps too strong a word to describe the attitude, but it's what certainly lacking in white people. A race of hubris, we are. This is one reason why I like Korea so much - men here know their place and are largely honorable enough to keep at it; but they are no less fitted with spine. One of the outstanding comments someone made to me about why he hates the Japanese is that they're so subservient.
The problem for all this with Asian men is silly gay stereotypes:
A recent uproar on Yu's site erupted when Details magazine published a pictorial in its April issue titled "Asian or Gay?" Yu quickly rallied his readers by saying, "It seriously pulls out every offensive, stereotypical Asian pop culture reference imaginable, objectifying and exoticizing Asian men into a sexual stereotype."
When I went to boarding school in Kenya, there were several Koreans in attendence. Sure, one or two were teased about being gay, but their sexual potency was never in question. By virtue of either their looks or smooth social skills, they pretty much had the pick of the female half of the class. There was the typical locked-in-the-dorm-and-the-power's-gone-out sexual horseplay that happens when teenage boys are stacked together, but if anything it was the white boys cowering from Asian virility. And remember, to most Western men, the horror of homosexuality has more to do with servile submissiveness rather than taste in anatomy.
What's disturbing in this story is one person's supposed solution:
Ultimately, Hamamoto said he wants to show the world that Asians are sexually complex and that assumptions about nerdiness are unjust. He plans to launch a porn company that he believes would empower Asian Americans. Criticism that he has cheapened his cause by using pornography does not bother him, he said. The risqué endeavor is also a scholarly exercise, which includes the "Masters of the Pillow" documentary on the making of "Skin on Skin." The film, with commentary from Asian American filmmakers, academicians and playwrights, was shown at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in March and the Visual Communications Filmfest in Los Angeles on May 1.
I can't think of anything worse. It's been a while since I perused Asian porn, but I seem to recall that plenty of Asian men present. Are the Japanese really going to import white boys just for porn? Besides, porn is mostly about the women anyway. I can't imagine the average porn viewer dryly noting to himself the race of the various disembodied members on his screen. To sexualize someone is to personalize him, not objectify him by reducing him to an assemblage of organs.
Enough with the sex. On to bulls. One of the coolest things I've ever spectated at was a bullfight in southern France. It seems the Koreans have some version of this vernerable sport. It sounds, however, more like bull-baiting to me:
The bullring resembles a gladiatorial circle with a corral fence around the perimeter. A judging platform overlooks the scene and the bulls enter the sandy ring with their handlers. The bulls square off and the primal combat is a combination of moves. They speed toward each other and smash heads like two mountain rams vying for superiority. Horns lock together and their necks shiver with the strain. They butt heads and you can hear the sickening smack of bone hitting bone. The bulls grind into each other in a pushing match while thrashing their horns. The instinct to catch the opponent off balance is evident and they hook upward into the neck for leverage or twist around and slam into each other's flanks.
It becomes a test of their massive strength and endurance. The bulls lather with sweat and their nostrils flare for oxygen. Sometimes they pause and snort, stare each other down for a moment, and then flash into another attack. Other times they simply stop with a weird complacent look, as if they were in a peaceful pasture far away from the crowds. A moment later, sand flies from the hooves and the handlers stick near to the side of their bull, prodding him forward while careful of getting trampled. The match is called when it is judged that one bull loses his heart to fight and turns away. Some matches last less than five minutes, while others last the 30-minute maximum and a draw is called.
Nonetheless, the prospect of seeing two enormous steaks clobber each other is enticing. I need to find out how I can see one of these things, if it not be too late..