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Lithium No, it’s not cool to be a white man’s whore

Jul. 21, 2020
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On TikTok, it’s trendy to be a self-proclaimed “white man’s whore.” And no one’s calling it out for what it is: problematic, racist, and most of all, sad.

The app has always been great at predicting what sort of content I’ll like. There are videos about college, makeup trends, and shopping. And probably because I’m Asian, I get a lot of content made by other Asian teens.

But lately, my feed has been inundated with the same type of video: Asian girls posting photos of themselves with white boys, whether they be friends, boyfriends, or hookups. Some girls’ videos only include a few white boys. Others include over ten. The caption is always a variation of “my ancestors looking down at me in shame for being a white man’s whore” or “i’m the biggest white man’s whore out there.” Insert cheeky emoji.

I want to clarify that I have no issues with Asian girls dating white guys. In fact, I have issues with people who have issues with that. For the majority of high school, I was in a relationship with a white boy and I got a lot of comments. Some were seemingly innocent, like “your halfie kids will be so cute!” and some were nonverbal, like stares on the bus or downtown on the streets.

But the worst was that a lot of people accused me of being a “white man’s whore.” Not in those words exactly, but in some iteration that accused me of betraying my own race. “You only date white guys” was a common accusation, because the one boyfriend I’d had happened to be white. “You hate Asians” was another common comment. Online, I found literal hate forums against WMAFs—AKA white-male Asian-female relationships. I hated the inherent misogyny of how my dating life was being policed. 

We were just two people who fell in love and happened to be different races. People making assumptions and passing judgements on my personality based off my boyfriend was upsetting.

So, no, I have no issues with seeing Asian women dating white men, and I’d be a hypocrite if I did. Yet why does this trend of being a proud “white man’s whore” disturb me so much?

When you scroll to the comment section of these videos, you’ll find comments—I shit you not— like these:

“sis you’re really out here living my dream life”

“the ultimate flex”

“i want one but they don’t want me”

“when the white boys at your school don’t like asians :(“

Some of these girls are 16. Some of them are 25. Some of them are 12. Regardless, I’m shocked by the thousands of likes and the lack of rebuttal.

All of this makes me want to scream. You’re beautiful! You’re amazing! Why does your dream life rely on having a white man present? Why do you want a boy who doesn’t like you purely based on your race? Why are you all acting like dating a white man is the ultimate achievement in life?

Just like yellow fever—the phenomenon of white guys preferring and fetishizing Asian women—is problematic, this trend of sheepishly and jokingly deeming yourself a white man’s whore is rooted in colonialist racism. And the visible encouragement of these comments exacerbates the issue. The term itself quite literally degrades the Asian woman: she is not a girlfriend or a companion, but a whore. The word suggests being second-class and objectified. 

And what does this say about men of color? They’re also relegated to being second-class, lesser than the white male. There are quite literally hundreds of girls commenting that they specifically want a white boyfriend, suggesting that men of color are inferior in some way.

This doesn’t happen because these Asian girls are racist or evil or hate guys of color. Just look at the media: it has told us that white men are the heroes, the handsome protagonists, the objects of desires. Asian girls are secondary, awkward, and boring or studious. In the 2015 Disney show BUNK’D, Zuri’s sidekick Tiffany Chen says things like “I do not condone lying. Unless it's doctoring your age to get into the high school spelling bee.” In Gilmore Girls, Lane Kim is Rory’s sidekick, constantly envying her best friend’s boy stories. One of the only portrayals of Asian girls as hot or popular in American media is London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, whose relationships are all with white men.

In other words, there are a variety of issues that encourage the glorification of being the “white man’s whore.” But contrary to what the “WMAF” movement believes, Asian girls shouldn’t be the target of hate or criticism. Instead, we should be adapting our media to reflect the diversity of Asian women—not focusing on the same negative caricatures.

I’m not asking for Asian girls to stop dating white guys. I’m not asking girls to stop aspiring to have amazing relationships with partners that make them happy. But I am asking that we acknowledge how we’ve been primed to worship white people—and how that results in rejecting men of color as suitable partners.

I’m asking for people to stop equating dating white people to success as POC. And most of all, I’m asking for people to stop telling young girls this is what they should aspire toward.

Collage by Marta Parszeniew for Vice