The Perfect Villain: Straight Asian Men

Women get together and complain about men. It happens. Yet no other group of women display such visceral antagonism toward men of their own race as Asian women do. We Asian women never say generally “men are horrible.” We say “Asian men are horrible.” We ourselves buy into the rumor that somehow Asian men are more misogynist than other men. The complaints ring universally: Asian men are more abusive; Asian men are more chauvinistic; Asian men are weak; Asian men fail to protect their women. Why?

As Amy Tan and many other Asian female writers have discovered, as every American who has ever watched the glowing screen mesmerized by the gloriously vicious Yakuza gangster strutting through the red-lit parts of Tokyo or the pockmarked Korean actor who is playing a Chinese guy who rapes and beats the white protagonist’s girlfriend know, Asian men are the perfect villains.

Byron Wong (of and Fighting44s fame) wrote an editorial in the International Examiner, “Heterosexual Asian Men and the Invisibility Problem” (October 19, 2011) that sounded off on the lack of positive representation of straight Asian men. More surprising than the dearth of non-evil straight Asian men in the mainstream media (because really, white people getting it wrong about people of color–when has that been surprising) is the dearth of non-evil straight Asian men as a viable model even within the APA community. As Wong noted, the invisibility of straight Asian men in the APA blogosphere is a “mutually-recognized irony” among straight Asian men.

At APA conferences, non-profit organizations, and even on hit blogs, the voices of APA women and gay men dominate. That’s because APA women and gay men are easy to sympathize with. APA straight men? Not so much. They’re evil, remember?

See, it isn’t just the gloriously vicious Yakuza gangster who makes a perfect villain. Here is where the issues Wong brought up in his editorial weave into feminism. Just as women get defined by the men they’re with, men in turn are also defined by women…the women they protect.

Society defines a positive male role model as someone who can protect women. And if one hurts women, he is without question the purest form of evil, the antithesis of a positive male role model. So the vicious Yakuza gangster is a bad apple for obvious reasons: he hurts women. But the effeminate Asian guy is equally “bad” because he is incapable of protecting women. Sadly, that’s just how society still judges the genders. And Asian men are either the absolute perfect villain in that they hurt women or they are still no hero because they are incapable of protecting women.

In a sense, then, APA women hold APA men in lesser esteem because they’ve bought into the notion of straight Asian men as perfect villains: they’re the worst kind of horrible, the horriblest of the horrible men. Straight Asian men, as portrayed in the Western media and as believed by APAs, will either hurt women or are incapable of protecting and defending women. When I think back on all the anectodal evidence my memory has collected over the years, I can boil down all the Asian women’s complaints of Asian men to one point: straight Asian men don’t protect us and don’t support us.

I’m not saying that’s the reality-reality. I’m saying that’s the reality of the opinion. And it’s that opinion that’s got to change. Because with such strong latent biases against the straight Asian male anchored in us, we have no motivation to be compassionate or promote more positive representations.

In our eyes, the inequities that straight Asian men face weigh less, less than the inequities that Asian women and gay Asian men face. Is this because we are calculating with simple addition? Asian men just got their skin color. Asian women got their skin color plus being woman. Gay Asian men got their skin color plus sexuality. Is that how inequity should be weighted? By simple addition? Or is the mathematics of it more complicated than that?

The Wong editorial says that straight APA men are invisible. I disagree. They are fully visible: as perfect villains.

Are they invisible at APA conferences?  No, not really, at least not Minority Militant at the Banana I conference. Him? Invisible? (Although his personal blog is protected now, boo. He was always such a fun read. My kind of guy? Hell no. He disgracefully insulted a friend of mine. But a solid writer and sound activist? I’ll give him that.) Rather, a mockery was made of him and I cannot help but question whether the punishment fit the crime. Now, as I said, his blog is protected and what once was a distinctive voice in the APA community is lost.

Take as another instance any straight APA male blogger who raises the interracial dating issue. He would immediately get dismissed. A guy could make the most profound, valid, irrefutable point, and no one [who should be hearing it] would have heard it because as soon as we see “IR,” we tune out. Yes, “we”– APA females, I’m staring right at you.

And what about Frank Chin? Well okay maybe now he sort of has been MIA and if you were born any year after 1990 apparently he isn’t the only Chin you’ve never heard of. (So sad.) But once upon a time you couldn’t be involved with the Asian American Diaspora, literature, and not know Frank Chin. He was just that un-invisible. Frank Chin’s brilliance and impact on APA literature is incontestable. Yet the APA literati predominantly sided with Maxine Hong Kingston and Kingstonianism in that legendary Chin-Kingston feud. Chin was characterized by many as irrational, belligerent, and hostile, and with that characterization, his activist propositions were dismissed.

The problem isn’t invisibility; it’s being taken seriously. So the Minority Militant guy had a bit too much to drink at the Banana conference. So he isn’t ever going to win a Mr. Congeniality award. But he had real ideas, real opinions, and real ways of expressing those ideas and opinions. We shouldn’t have run him out of town.

As for the IR disparity, yeah, haha, we can laugh about it and say it’s just ‘cuz some of the guys can’t get some. Or we can say people of color don’t score as high on LSATs because they’re not as bright as white people. Or maybe the game is rigged from the get-go so that certain people will always lose. The LSAT racial disparity issue? A big serious deal. The IR disparity issue? Not a big deal. Why not?

Likewise, on the whole, the APA community did not take Frank Chin seriously enough and as a result, his legacy hasn’t gotten passed down to the younger generations of college APA the way Kingston’s works have. Only a few straight APA male activists have written empathetically about Chin, and they, too, weren’t taken seriously.

Why don’t we take straight APA men seriously? Is it a matter of invisibility? No. We see them. The truth is, we don’t really like them. They’re villains. They represent male dominance. Heterosexual dominance. And before anyone can do a doubletake on the logical fallacies there, we got the waves of APA women feminists who reinforce the villain archetype with narrative after narrative of straight APA men who fail to protect women, because whether or not we realize what it is we’re doing (*cough* traditional gender roles *cough*), at the heart of it that’s what women want: men to be protective. So it isn’t that Asian women believe the crazy villain stereotypes of Asian men; it’s that we don’t necessarily see them as protective over us, and so subliminally it’s easier for us to buy into the overt stereotypes, or worse yet, generate them, and then proceed to ignore and dismiss the rational straight Asian men who challenge those stereotypes.

Okay, so here is where I ought to make a confession. I have no idea where I’m going with this. I kinda started without a point, in case that wasn’t flawfully obvious already. So I’ll just end by sputtering the remaining thoughts that come to mind.

(1) While new and independent media have continued to offer more representation of straight APA men these days, they seem only to be fixated on having the Asian guys hook up with women. That isn’t enough to overturn the perfect villain stereotypes, especially if society still defines heroism as protecting women, not banging them. So. There should be more portrayals of straight APA men who protect women. It’s not enough that the Asian guy hooks up with a girl. That’s, dare I say it, such a heterosexual male chauvinist view of what it means to be a positive male role model. No. What’s more important is representing straight APA men in protective roles.

(2) Point number (1) is sexist. But it’ll work, if your goal is to use the media to improve the standing of straight Asian men. At least it’ll get Asian men noticed by women. Like how it works to wear something red and slinky if you’re a woman wanting to get noticed. In fact I think that’s why Asian women got noticed in the first place. “Me love you…

(3) Earlier in this piece I mentioned the mathematics of weighting marginalization. Here’s the complication: Since anything whites are part of is still considered more important, more worthy of public attention, i.e., the feminist movement and the gay rights movement, APA women and APA gays have that affiliation, and that sympathy. I’m not saying those movements perfectly include the voices of their APAs, but at least with that affiliation and sympathy, there’s mainstream support. Straight APA men are not a part of any white-backed movement and as a result, do not have any affiliations, sympathies, or mainstream support. They are the more marginalized and thus if there is any work left for activists to do, it would be to seek a dynamic equilibrium between the APA sexes. After all, isn’t that what feminism is all about?

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About akrypti

small town roots. enthusiast of many trades. oh, and yeah, high-maintenance like you wouldn't believe. tweet with me @akrypti.
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152 Responses to The Perfect Villain: Straight Asian Men

  1. raymonst says:

    “Since anything whites are part of is still considered more important, more worthy of public attention, i.e., the feminist movement and the gay rights movement, APA women and APA gays have that affiliation, and that sympathy. I’m not saying those movements perfectly include the voices of their APAs, but at least with that affiliation and sympathy, there’s mainstream support.”—this is an interesting point. i do wonder if APA women & APA LGBT folks sometimes feel like they have to “choose” between the two.

  2. A_Lee says:

    @akrypti No, it’s still night-and-day from the US. You could argue that young women in Taiwan might be pulling even with men, but it’s nothing like the US, where women do dominate.

    There’s no Title IX, no sexual harassment seminars to attend, and adultery is a crime, with jail time. Abortions are rare, single moms are rare, divorce is stigmatized. Either Taiwan is still patriarchal, or it has managed to embrace gender equality without any of the side-effects.

    Taiwan’s gender-equality is probably more advanced than Korea, and maybe on par with Japan, but certainly behind China. If there’s one thing commendable about the commies, it’s that they took their gender equality pledge pretty seriously.

  3. VanCityNights says:

    @ErikaHarada The only time I hear of it is from other Asian people. And all the Asian guys I know in real life (not a blogger) don’t complain about the dating disparity, they usually talk about lack of Asian male Hollywood stars, media representation stuff like that. None of my white male and female friends are even aware that there’s a “damaging effect” on Asian-American males. Maybe because they’re Canadian, but even the few American ones I know aren’t aware of it. Anytime I’m at a bar, and they see a group of cute Asian girls, it’s expected I go up and talk to them for them, because all my white party friends assume that I have some sort of naturally advantage being Asian.

  4. N says:


    Lol, I thought this discussion can directly be linked to what your article is talking about.

    If an Asian guy posted things that were equally aggressive as Bunni had, or if An Asian guy used your exactly response to Bunni, what will people’s reaction to him be?

  5. Honest Abe Lives says:

    Asian men occupy one of the lowest rungs on the social totem pole in American society. This is the harsh reality of the situation. You automatically lose points with women (even Asian women) right off the bat.

    It’s everything. It’s media. It’s internalized inferiority. It’s Asian culture. It’s the unfortunate fact that Asian women, by and large, do not stand by their men.So what can we do as Asian men? A lot of us give up on building social capital. Isolate ourselves in super Asian micro-niches or simply accept a-sexualization.

    For those of us who refuse to either give up or accept this ugly fate?

    All we can do is work and fight and work and fight very hard.

  6. mwei says:

    dude needs to get to an AMP stat.

  7. mwei says:

    @Honest Abe Lives imports ~_^

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  9. sugabelly says:

    “Asian men occupy one of the lowest rungs on the social totem pole in American society. ”

    Obviously you’ve never heard of Black/African women. We are SHIT ON by everyone in society and everyone in the world including YOU ASIAN MEN.

  10. Tofurky says:

    Get over yourself, no one is going out of their way to shit on you. Stop believing we’re “racist” just because some moron on Fox or CNN says it’s true.

  11. Tofurky says:

    @Danny_Ahmed Pretty much any straight Asian guy knows that as soon as he makes any comment at all about the issue, he loses. Honestly it’s worse than that. If some moron makes a racial jab they have a few options: 1) say nothing, be seen as weak 2) object – “Oooo, look at that chip on your shoulder!” 3) either way you’re put on the spot and if you’re surrounded by non-Asians you risk being un-PC.

    It’s pretty much up to us “gay Asian guys” (the few who aren’t vapid self-loathers) to act as a kind of medium.

  12. Tofurky says:

    @Ben Ef You bring up a salient point but nearly everyone is prone to media brainwashing. Asians, unlike ANY other group of people (stop whining Muslims, Jews, blacks) are disproportionately singled out as a punching bag for pretty much everyone.

    “Asians” don’t have the mentality to actively fight something like this. As far as the “masterpieces” thing goes, most of the “masterpieces” whites have produced come from a tiny minority of extremely pampered men from rich families. The vast majority of (East) “Asians” now are middle class with few poor and few rich.

    We’d have to basically shit on 90% of the population, steal almost everything they own, rape and pillage other nations and then have our ivory tower brats screw around until they produce something exceptional.

    That’s essentially what white people did.

  13. Tofurky says:

    @A_Lee Agree with some minor caveats – those “Asian girls” who claim they are running from a misogynist/patriarchal blah blah blah culture are full of shit. If that were the case why do they ONLY and EXCLUSIVELY go after middle class white males? You’d think they’d be taking a plane straight to some matriarchal/matrilineal village in Southwest China where women essentially rule.

    But no, they’re full of shit. Again, 100% gay here. All my friends are Asian girls. I’ve personally talked a lot of them through it; they are victims of brainwashing and just want a PC “out”. “I’m insecure and self-loathing” is not attractive.

    All of the girls I’ve “turned” back towards Asian guys I did by speaking up in defense of our culture and nations. They tend to get defensive otherwise.

  14. Tofurky says:

    @mwei He just disgusts me. As a man I find his antics repulsive enough that the gay thing didn’t register.

  15. Tofurky says:

    @ErikaHarada@VanCityNights my personal experience tells me that Asian guys are more likely to be in a steady relationship than anyone (and I mean anyone) else. The girls they date tend to be pretty smart and classy, too.

  16. Tofurky says:

    @Bunni@TienVNguyen What kind of straight guys do you hang around?

  17. Tofurky says:

    It’s simply a-fucking-mazing how multibillion dollar corporate white media can utterly rape and shit all over the truth.

    “Asian men” don’t protect their women? Oh okay, then what was the fucking Great Wall for? Asian men prey on women and girls? Then why do we have the lowest rates of rape, assault and murder (against women especially)? Why do our women, specifically, live longer than any other primate on average? Why do our girls do so well in school? Sexism?

    Yeah right. White corporate media is pig disgusting. If they can make millions of retards believe that Iraq was a threat to the world in 8 months they can sure as hell can make billions of retards believe that straight Asian men, the least woman-abusing and most obsessively protective people on the planet, are evil chauvinists.

    And before any dumbass white guy tells me I’m bitter or lying, I am 100% gay. Shut the fuck up.

  18. Tofurky says:

    Definitely. The “gay community” (lol) doesn’t give two shits about anyone who isn’t white, attractive, under 45, in shape and (at least) middle class. This is tiresome to hear but it’s 100% true.

    As far as feminist goes my experience with “Asian feminists” is that a lot of them are just looking for a PC excuse to shit on their culture and their men. Apologies to anyone who isn’t like this.

  19. Tofurky says:

    @hachoo community service won’t do much to improve the image of Asians. Asians are already very involved with community service, but it’s absolutely not appreciated – often some white guy/organization will take credit for all your contributions. Sound familiar?

    The sad, sad irony is that Asians got to where they are by studying and working hard, and yet they are disproportionately picking up the bill for bad behavior on the part of whites (imperialism, redlining, Jim Crow and other poverty-inducing scumbaggery)

    We owe absolutely nothing to inner city blacks or Hispanic ESL students, but I see hordes of young Asian Americans lining up for programs that help them.

    And I can’t count the number of times I’ve read essays written by Asian Americans lamenting the Holocaust when Jews couldn’t give two shits about the Eastern theater of WW2, much less treat Chinese people in Israel with basic decency.

    Some Asian Americans are so white-washed that they have adopt white guilt. It’s mind-blowing when you think about it.

  20. Tofurky says:

    @A_Lee@akrypti I’m skeptical about the much-touted gender equality of America and other “Western” nations. Americans are so fixated on the upper class that they neglect some basic truths, like the fact that for every female CEO in America there are perhaps 100,000 women that get gang raped on the streets. I just made that up but since so many millions of women get raped in America every year (and killed, and mutilated) that it sounds about right.

    I think the biggest problem that “Asians” have is that they don’t realize the white people they tend to be exposed to (rich liberals, rich sexpats, rich ESL brats) are not at all representative of “Westerners” as a whole.

  21. Tofurky says:


    Footbinding or Auschwitz, hard choice – if you’re a vapid, historically illiterate little girl.

  22. Tofurky says:

    @akrypti I’ve stumbled across Bunni’s comments plenty of times and I had the same reaction. At least she didn’t take the GI Father thing as a compliment, which I’m sure many people in the Philippines would.

  23. Tofurky says:

    @sugabelly and I’m not bagging on black women or diminishing the problems they have to deal with, but seriously, we’re not the cause of them.

  24. mwei says:

    @Tofurky ever seen Kenneth Eng’s interview on FOX? it’s better when you’re drunk/stoned.

  25. mwei says:

    @Tofurky I think it’s a numbers game: not enough Asians in the game and discouragement from every direction, especially the white mainstream establishment.

  26. mwei says:

    @Tofurky but is that like a flamboyant stereotype?

    the few gay Asians I’ve encountered all seem pretty low key normal.

  27. mwei says:

    @Tofurky ouch. I’m sure she saw that while liberal guilt movie “Amigo”

  28. Tofurky says:

    @mwei Haha I’ve never been, but I should some day.

  29. mwei says:


    I don’t agree with some of your points, but I was seriously ROFL at your writing style.

    you got an unique voice that’s for sure.

  30. Tofurky says:

    @mwei But what I say is true, isn’t it? Feminism like many other ivory tower ideologies is 99% theory. Whites always brag about how well their rich douchebags treat the women they want to bang on any given night, but overall Western societies treat women horribly. Working class women are crapped on, old women are generally neglected, overweight women are ridiculed and emotionally abused.

    In my opinion the hard facts on women in poverty as well as murder, assault and rape against women tells you far more than any flowery ivory tower BS that white media spews all over the world. That’s not even including all the women and girls in the countries that whites essentially occupy that are subjected to hellish living standards due to Western financial and military activity, but that’s a different story altogether.

  31. mwei says:

    @Tofurky van Gogh is probably rolling in his grave – from the schizophrenia – right about now

  32. Tofurky says:

    @mwei that’s a good way of putting it. White worship is a mental illness that can be cured with a little knowledge.

  33. mwei says:

    @Tofurky I always believed Asians contribute the most to Native Americans: through the “tribal gaming” establishments.

  34. mwei says:

    @Tofurky lol you’re like a “de-programmer” like those ones that help people escape cults?

  35. akrypti says:


    After the 3rd mention of dragons (which was like 30 seconds into the video) I had to turn it off and avert my eyes. *cringing* I don’t think I could get myself to watch the entirety of that clip, even if I were drunk/stoned.

  36. Tofurky says:

    @mwei I have. They gave that idiot a podium because they wanted to reinforce the ridiculous lie that all “Asians” are racist.

  37. Tofurky says:

    @mwei I think that’s probably true for minorities in the West, but in places like Japan or South Korea or China the wealth (but not income) is fairly evenly distributed.

    It’s rare that you’ll have prodigy douchebags with rich douchebag parents that hand them everything (they stole) on a silver platter. It gives them a lot of free time to be “innovative”.

  38. Tofurky says:

    @mwei It is, but from what I’ve seen he prances around with his penis out to make retarded rednecks laugh.

    And most gay guys are pretty low key as in not flaming, but they are overlooked.

  39. Danny_Ahmed says:

    @Tofurky I’ve sort been in that option 3 situation before. Surrounded by a bunch of non-Asians and brought up something similar, like why are the bad guys Asians. The responses I got was mostly I don’t know. One person did say he noticed that too and thought it was weird too. Then we moved on, like that.

    One of the problems isn’t political correctness, but whether or not the people you associate with actually care. If they are really sensitive about being PC, then yeah, most likely they noticed too.

  40. mwei says:

    everything works great in theory, even the Occupy Wall St is great in theory.

    feminism is still important, but I’m generally against the “Joy Luck Club feminists.”

  41. mwei says:

    @akrypti it’s comedy gold in my book. ^_^

  42. mwei says:

    @Tofurky here in Southern California all the tribal gaming places have ads for baccarat by the freeways

  43. mwei says:

    @Tofurky I think I’ve read in other blogs that “Stockholm syndrome” is the phrase used?

  44. mwei says:

    @Tofurky Asians ARE racist; we’re just too smart to get caught – except for Kenny there.

  45. mwei says:

    @Tofurky if they aren’t busy running down pedestrians in their Masaratis that their corrupt parents stole money from the government with…

  46. mwei says:

    @Tofurky the one question that needs to be asked about the Hangover movies: with no female nudity whatsoever, why do middle American pay $12 to see a naked Asian prance around with #1 wang?

  47. Tofurky says:

    @mwei Its pretty hit or miss but generally speaking the masterpieces are drawn from that pool of people, I’m assuming you’re talking about some douche son of a CCP official who ran someone over. Yes most of them amount of nothing, but when you reach critical mass they occasionally produce useful things.

  48. Tofurky says:

    @mwei As far as I know white guys think about Asian wangs more than the Asians they’re attached too

  49. metro says:

    As a straight AAM I’ve met occasionally asian women would have this attitude…it is limited to mostly to those at mid or lower social, economic status. At the upper to mid range, most asian women, as with blondes prefer that I’m asian. In part, I do think at the mid to lower range they are more susceptible to media, and somewhat less secure of themselves.

    There is a perception issue, and at this stage asian men is close making a transition…as with any minority first they’re marginalized, second they appear is comedic roles, and 3rd stage they’re able to stand up take center stage and fight for their humanity/soul.

    Examining the notion of “protecting women” I would like to see more media out there showing asian men engaging in conflict with my white, and black brothers, and coming out on top like I do whenever I go to a club. Getting the girl is the first step, keeping the girl by blowing out the competition is second.

    I don’t really worry about these social trends too much; while US, and Europe have risks of bankruptcy, China’s ascent to #1 is almost assured…I prefer to speak quietly and carry a big stick.

  50. bigWOWO says:

    @metro “Mid or lower social, economic status” Asian women have the White preference?

    Dude, most powerful Asian American female celebrities date/marry White guys. Jarah Mariano, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Wendi Deng, Amy Tan, Hong Kingston, Wei Sun Christianson, Elaine Chao, Michelle Malkin, Amy Chua, Suji Kwock Kim, Jean Kwok, Andrea Jung, Brenda Song…do I have to go on? That’s why it’s called the Asian Female Celebrity Club, not the Asian Female Low-Status Club.

    I’ve heard lots of Asian men say that it’s a status thing. But that’s completely inaccurate. I’m not saying that the above mentioned ladies are doing anything wrong, per se, but the AFCC is pervasive, and it’s all around us; it’s not just among one set of women and not another. It’s not just a wealth thing either. No one can predict the effect of media and the direction of history with 100% accuracy, but I don’t see speaking quietly as being effective for anything related to being viewed in an equal light to other people.

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