‘Seeking Asian Female’ Provides An In Depth Glance At A Fetish


‘Seeking Asian Female’ Provides An In Depth Glance At A Fetish

Filmmaker Debbie Lum poses with Steven and Sandy, her subjects that are documentary on the big day. Susan Asian that is munroe/Seeking Female caption

Susan Asian that is munroe/Seeking Female

It really is hard to view looking for Asian Female, Debbie Lum’s uncomfortably look that is close the occurrence some call “yellow fever” — whenever frequently non-Asian guys fetishize Asian ladies as intimate or intimate partners — without squirming. As well as very very first, it appears as though it absolutely wasn’t very easy for Lum to document the event.

“I’d to battle the desire to make around and then leave, ” Lum claims in a voiceover, appropriate we know only as “Steven” for the first time before she meets the character. I was told by her this person had among the “worst instances of yellow fever” she’s got seen.

Steven, an earnest, bespectacled, white US guy with an unsettling penchant for Asian females, just how much do russian brides cost isn’t precisely the most attractive of possible suitors. He has got a propensity to judge ladies centered on their amount of “Chineseness. ” With unabashed glee: “You look very Chinese, with the bangs as he beckons Lum inside his messy apartment, he tells her. You realize i prefer that. ” Later, Steven excitedly defines their love interest Sandy as “looking so Chinese. You cannot look anymore Chinese than that. ” Why is him a professional on searching Chinese is pretty confusing, though he does not seem too worried about that.

He appears to lust after Asian females with regards to their expected beauty and docility. “after all i am a guy that is old i am 60, ” he informs Lum before fulfilling Sandy, musing about his perfect woman. “Do we want the farm woman to deal with me personally? Do i’d like. An business that is intelligent to greatly help me develop backwards and forwards? Just just What do I want?. There is this Vietnamese film called The Scent of Green Papaya who has this servant girl whom cooks these breathtaking dishes. Gee, wouldn’t it end up like that? “

Meet Sandy, a woman that is 30-year-old the Anhui province in Asia.

Sandy discovers Steven on an online dating site and generally seems to be looking for a possible entryway towards the U.S. Plus some stability that is economic. (She takes two split pictures of these and makes sort of endearing, kind of creepy couples image, much to their pleasure. ) Steven visits her once or twice in Asia, they hit it well and she comes towards the states for an engagement visa that is k-1.

Certain, Sandy takes proper care of him. But she actually is hardly the demure lady he wished for, just like he’s scarcely the flashy US she might have anticipated. A frustrated Sandy describes wanting to get out of the relationship as soon as she has enough money and schooling throughout the film.

The movie has a lot of flashing indicators that state this relationship may not be a idea that is good. We cringed a whole lot. Whenever a frustrated Sandy confesses that she’d “lose face” her family and friends in China about her house-less, money-less American beau, I found myself asking, Why are you doing this if she told?

Yet. During the period of the movie, one thing remarkable occurred for me personally. Sandy and Steven, together, began to appear to be may possibly not be this type of bad thing after all.

Steven kisses an image of Sandy, their bride from Asia.

Debbie Lum/Seeking Asian Feminine

There is something unsettling concerning the movie, and my response to it. Why had been we experiencing sympathetic to Steven, whom fetishizes Asian females? Can a relationship, borne away from something possibly just a little twisted on both relative edges, evolve into one thing genuine? Can it be also reasonable to guage another person’s relationship? Lum, whom that she began making the documentary because she was sick of dealing with men (usually non-Asian) who shared Steven’s creepy fascination with Asian women like me is Chinese-American, told me. But as she made the movie, Lum’s ideas changed, kind of love mine.

After Lum settled on Steven as a topic on her behalf documentary, she thought the movie will be about their relationship with Sandy. She had no concept that she’d be intimately covered up inside their courtship: she quickly discovered by by by herself their designated (and reluctant) translator, and after that, the couple’s de facto couples therapist.

When Sandy discovers a cache of pictures of Steven’s ex-girlfriend on his computer — the ex ended up being Chinese, natch — she freaks away. Lum translates their battle. “I’m able to just show my love everyday, ” Steven states. (Lum does not want to convert that for him. )

“this can be likely to be a modification on both of our parts, ” A steven that is teary-eyed tells digital digital digital camera after their battle with Sandy. “It is not Asia, and I also have always been perhaps maybe maybe not Chinese. I am dreaming about the greatest. “

As Lum gets nearer to the few, she begins to see under the area of these relationship — that there can be genuine emotions.

“there is this entire other person here, ” Lum stated of Steven. “When we see partners like Steven and Sandy, i do believe about their tales now, the maximum amount of as i do believe as to what it checks out because, or exactly what it looks like through the outside. “

Lum, in addition, is hitched up to a white irishman. But she claims her relationship with her spouse is significantly diffent than Steven and Sandy’s. “Steven and Sandy’s is a type of contemporary undertake a conventional arranged wedding, ” Lum stated. “They went involved with it with really a pre-determined need to be hitched above anything else, whereas my husband and I sorts of just met. “

Yet she sometimes wonders if other people think about their relationship as one tinged by yellowish temperature.

Sandy and Steven, by the real method, will always be together. Sandy now talks English fluently, Lum said.

We found this movie thinking about Steven as “an fetishist that is asian as well as Sandy as “an opportunist. ” Having invested a while getting to know them through Lum’s lens, we saw their nuances. Areas of their relationship — their battles, their interactions that are daily their worries — became extremely individual, entirely relatable to an outsider.

Except personally i think like there must be a “but. “

This narrative still does not stay well beside me. Just how Steven seriously considered Asian ladies — stripping them of these individuality, layering on pre-conceived ideals, changing individuals with kinds — was challenged as he came across Sandy, a genuine individual with levels of her very own. They might result in the relationship work, yes, and I also could even would like them to. However in that full situation, their road to joy feels marred with potholes that nevertheless must be analyzed and considered.


A guy we think become Steven Bolstad, Seeking Asian Female’s documentary topic, taken care of immediately the post into the remarks part. (We additionally reached off to filmmaker Debbie Lum to comment consequently they are waiting on the reaction. ) Some tips about what Steven needed to say.