Monday, July 28, 2014

,

Taiwan: Marrying a white girl is reason for pride?

7/28/2014 Taiwan Explorer
Today I've come across an interesting little article on Yahoo Taiwan, that was quite telling, because it showed how some Taiwanese guys see relationships with foreign women, to be precise, with white women. As usual, the most buzz was created on Facebook, the link on Yahoo Taiwan's Facebook page has over 19,000 likes and over 300 comments while I'm writing this post, and they keep getting higher by the minute. What was so interesting, that it created so much buzz? The article is about two minor celebrities, Liao Ren-shuai and Xiao Ma. This is what Yahoo reported:

昨廖人帥在臉書曝光小馬結婚照,還寫道:「很奇妙的感覺!!!感覺真的是長大的時候了?以前最沒人氣的小馬,現在跩跩地娶了一個英國女孩,為台灣男孩爭光!!」

Yesterday Liao Ren-shuai posted Xiao Ma's wedding picture on Facebook, and wrote: "The feeling is interesting! Maybe it's the time to grow up? Xiao Ma wasn't very popular before, but now he proudly married an English girl, winning honor/glory for Taiwanese guys!"

The double standard

A lot of Taiwanese male netizens look down on girls who date or marry white guys. Such relationships are known as CCR (sometimes spelled as ㄈㄈ尺, meaning "Cross Cultural Romance"), the once neutral word has a negative connotation online and in Taiwanese media. These girls are called “西餐妹” (xican mei, lit. "western food girls"), an offensive term, that's implying that their preference of dating white guys is solely in the sexual context, meaning they prefer white guys due to (what is believed to be) a superior length of their reproductive organs. This shallow, albeit flattering argument to some white guys, is often used as a way to imply that these girls were cheap, and therefore despicable. When it comes to Taiwanese guys dating white women, however, the reaction of male netizens is often the complete opposite: Comments of praise, admiration, and pride are aplenty, scorn which Taiwanese girls who date outside their race have to experience online is very rare in that case.

The female reaction

This double standard is quite known among Taiwanese girls, so it was not surprising, that one of the most liked replies to the "bringing honor to Taiwanese guys" remark in the above example was this comment by Shih Ling Kurzweil:

"為什麼台男跟西方白人女性就是"為國爭光"了呢?"

Why are Taiwanese guys with Western white women "winning honor/glory for the country"?

Another comment with a lot of likes by 劉珮萱 pointed out the double standard:

"女生喜歡外國人就叫ㄈㄈ尺,
男生就是為臺爭光?
搞屁啊!!!!!!!!"

When girls like foreigners it's called ㄈㄈ尺,
when guys like them, it's called winning honor/glory for Taiwan?
What a nonsense!!!!!!!!

A comment by Valentina Yuan received many likes as well:

"娶老婆跟台灣之光有何關係?
台灣男人真的自卑成這樣,娶個白人就可以光耀國家?可悲"

How is marrying related to the glory of Taiwan?
Taiwanese men really must feel inferior to become this way, marrying a white woman can make the country shine? Sad

I highlighted these three comments, because they represented the most common reaction on that thread, mostly by women. A lot of comments were same or similar. And I completely agree with them, because marrying a person of a different race shouldn't have anything to do with boosting one's self-esteem, or even worse, "bringing honor to one's country", because it reduces a human being's main value to their race, which is simply racist. One can only hope that the mentioned English-Taiwanese couple married with love and commitment to face all the challenges of a marriage, and I wish them all the best for the years ahead. Interracial relationships with Westerners, especially involving white guys, are often romanticized in Taiwan, because they are relatively new and unfamiliar, and there is tendency by some Taiwanese girls to present their Western boyfriends as status symbols, which often portrays a false fairy-tale like reality. Interracial relationships are very hard: You have to give up so much to make it work, and you face so many challenges that you have never dreamed of. I believe as the relative novelty of CCR slowly fades away, more of that will be brought to light, and remarks like the one above will hopefully become history.

Further read on CCR:

Interracial relationships in Taiwan
Are White guys status symbols for Taiwanese girls?
Two depictions of white men in Taiwanese media
3 frequently asked questions for Taiwanese girls who date foreigners