11.30.2010

"Pretties": Implicit Disrespect

As a response to Cinnamon's post, I'd like to explore just WHY some women try to cram all Asian men in a box, and slap a "Pretty" sticker on it. Yes, I just said pretty. I've been acquainted with one fangirl during this semester, who has decided to address all hot, small-framed, feminine-looking Asian men as "pretty."

First of all, what is pretty? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "pretty" as: "pleasing by delicacy or grace: having conventionally accepted elements of beauty (~flowers)." Okay, that's fine and all, but I still can't wrap my head around why this girl chooses the word "pretty," to call these men by. Why not "beautiful" or "gorgeous"? Maybe because those adjectives are only reserved for women in our country, or maybe because we DON’T compare men to flowers! I mean, those words are just too extravagant for a man.

Since we're talking about Asian men here, what does "pretty" translate to in Chinese? Well, there are two words: "piao liang (漂亮)" and "xiang dang().”I took two years of Mandarin back in high school, so I know that when you use the word "piao liang," you don't use it to describe a male. No "but what if he's this or that?" Uh-uh. Nope. "Xiang dang" means "to look pretty," but that's not the word the Chinese use to describe males. The correct term would be "Shuai ()." "Handsome." That's what we'd use. And get this: not only does "shuai" mean handsome, but it also means "commander in chief"! That's pretty darn sweet.

So we know that the Chinese have strict rules as how to address a man's looks. You can't use one term to describe a man; you have to use the other. This is similar to Japanese and Korean, in the sense that you cannot use the same language you use to speak a man that you use to speak to a woman. It's just NOT RIGHT. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but I can make a guess. Language is influenced by culture.  In the Chinese culture, as well as the Japanese and Korean culture, respect is emphasized. As Americans and as English speakers, that's what we lack in our culture: respect for others!

These fangirls, who are implicitly showing disrespect to Asian men, seem to be keeping these men close to them (or at least trying,) while also keeping Asian men below their own level. It's White America/the media who enforce the rules of "racial hierarchy." Of course, we as Black women are at the bottom, because once again, we apparently are a threat to White American fangirls. Our men seem to be more comfortable with sucking up to these fangirls, so they're next. Then we get to our Asian and Asian-American brothers and sisters. Right under our American/non-black fangirls are our Asian men. These fangirls KNOW most of these men are intelligent, open-minded, respectful, and sexy as I-don't-know-what, yet, they feel threatened by them. These fangirls are afraid these Asian men will take their place in this "hierarchy," so they demean them with names like "pretty" or "feminine." But let's not forget what a plus it will be in society when everyone sees a fangirl and her hottie Asian "pretty" together: "Look! I got an ASIAN! AND I can keep him under my foot, because I rule this relationship." Clearly, my sistas, THIS is a problem.

So...my conclusion is: fangirls stop it. No excuses. Just STOP. And you WONDER why these men don’t want you? Because DUH, you disrespect and degrade them with these stupid nicknames! And do you know why they come to us Black women? Because we keep it REAL. We don’t use cute nicknames unless he gives us PERMISSION! Although, we’re aware that you fangirls have a huge problem with asking POC for anything. They come to us because we treat them like REAL men. There’s no implicit disrespect in our words. There’s no “racial hierarchy” in our agenda. We treat them as people, not things like sculptures or vases in an art exhibit. We don’t treat them like that nice China (no pun intended) you take out for that New Year’s Day brunch and never see again.  We treat them like men, like human beings that deserve respect. So, fangirls, if you’re mad at us, go right ahead, but remember the reason why.

6 comments:

  1. Dis-respect is NEVER cool. Total NO!
    Thanks for this piece, it needed to be said.

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  2. Well-stated, and delightfully researched. It's amazing the things you learn on the Narrative.

    Hopefully, though, this will be the last posted directed at fangirls. This is not an us-vs-them blog; we need not declare a net war. The part about language and respect was FTW, especially this:

    "Look! I got an ASIAN! AND I can keep him under my foot, because I rule this relationship."

    This is very powerful. Just as there seems to be an obsession with controlling the sexuality and desirability of black women, there is insidious desire to regulate/exterminate Asian male sexuality as well. We've discussed here on the Narrative about how K-Pop tries to keep them eternally boyish, flirtatious but chaste, and their lyrics "pure", which oftens leads to the likes of Rain getting their music slapped with a Parental Advisory.

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  3. @RandomCollegeStudent
    Thanks for reading lol.

    @Ankh
    Believe me, my intention is NOT to start a war! I think this is the last time anyone will bother to address fangirls lol.

    And the research was so fun, I almost started looking up the Japanese words. Then I remembered I had a paper to write...

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  4. I agree that it is disrespectful to give people you do not know nicknames especially names that refer to their looks or sexuality.

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  5. Or implicitly demeaning nicknames to your significant other. *shudder* Isn't that basically a form of verbal abuse?

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  6. We've discussed here on the Narrative about how K-Pop tries to keep them eternally boyish, flirtatious but chaste, and their lyrics "pure", which oftens leads to the likes of Rain getting their music slapped with a Parental Advisory.
    ---

    There's also the large flow of Visual Kei in Japan, its slightly different but for a lot of (especially young) fangirls they seem to think that all Japanese/Asian men are like that. A lot of them expect to see people like Bou from Antic Cafe or Hizaki from Versailles when they go to Japan or research about it.

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