Hallelujah! I now have eyes for men of color.
Growing up, the only men I wanted to possess sexually were white men. Part of that was because I wasn’t at ease with my Koreanness.
Perhaps I was hoping that all the sexual friction would leave a residue of whiteness on me. Back then, I was definitely looking for White Person Approval. To be fair to myself, though, my parents were looking for White Male Approval, too. In fact, the whole peninsula of Korea was aligning with White Power on one side and the Iron Curtain on the other.
To gain White Male Approval (WMA), I pursued the White Male Approved schools, music, jobs, books, restaurants, hobbies, careers, etc. We were immigrants wanting to become People of Substance, and no one of substance wasn’t courting the white male because anyone of substance had the stamp of approval of the White Male. So it made sense that I wanted my body and persona to gain the approval of the white male.
What happened to change my mind?
Well, society pulled some fast moves on us in the last couple of decades. First, one White Man’s ignorance careened to epic proportions, culminating in a crime against humanity known as the Iraq War. With one facade down, America turned around and elected a black president. Then we up and did it again by re-electing a black president.
The ultimate seat of power in America was no longer relegated to the white color. With that, the floodgates opened.
Power is sexy, and public power has been cleaved from the color white. Now sensuality and desire cavort with colors that used to be relegated to obedience and intelligence. My yellow-skinned brothers publicly proclaimed as sex objects: John Cho, Steve Yeun, Rain to name a few.
Add to that fact that I’m no longer hiding my Asianness. My monolids used to relegate me to “your eyes are weird.” My Korean “pancake face” is no longer seen as abnormal. Thanks to the likes of Sandra Oh and Margot Cho, those features have become incorporated into the spectrum of the face of American women. Thanks to the vastness of America, too, Asian females haven’t all had their faces surgically manipulated (as seen in South Korea) so that they uphold white hegemonic standards of beauty. So we have a natural variety of examples of Korean beauty. I can now look in the mirror without the burden of seeing what’s unacceptable by white standards.
I’m feeling my Self rise to the top. I’m now ready. Ready to show my face. Ready to sex it up as the color I am, as well as ready to sex it up with men of color.
Author: Eliza Shin
Editor: Travis May