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It’s as if the Chinese are so foreign it doesn't count.In the UK, Sherry Fang, a 26-year-old British Chinese student, tells me she's had strangers say to her “you look just like his ex, she was also Chinese”, and argues it would be wholly inappropriate if she were black or Indian.In fact, the most recent figures from 2.4 million users of Facebook dating apps showed a clear skew in preference for women of East Asian descent by men of all racial groups, except, ironically, Asian men.
Part of the bias is down to aesthetics, it would appear, as a study by Cardiff University in 2012 on facial attractiveness showed that East Asian women scored highest, while East Asian men came bottom of the pile (interestingly, results for black and white individuals did not show discernible differences based on gender).
“I like to joke that San Francisco is the epicentre of the yellow fever phenomenon”, says Debbie, who describes a general awareness of being looked at by men because she’s Chinese.
No, not the disease you can pick up when travelling to certain countries.
I'm talking about when Caucasian men develop an acute sexual preference for East Asian women – even becoming a fetish, for some.
But while some gendered biases exist in all interracial dating, few have gained as much notoriety as so-called yellow fever.
In parts of the US, such a notion has become so pervasive that last year, Debbie Lum, an American filmmaker of Chinese descent, sought to capture the madness in her documentary “Seeking Asian Female”.