Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Taiwanese men

I've been told by many foreigners that they consider Taiwanese men very feminine and personally I just don't see it. Possibly it's the wearing of pink by a lot of men that gives that impression, but most men and boys I met don't seem very girly to me. I would say that maybe there are different cultural ideals. I doubt that JJ Lin or Huang Yida would make it really big in America at least, because both of them do (to me) give the impression of being somewhat effeminate. But at the same time, this works out for them since both of them are quite successful here. If I was feeling in an academic mood, I might relate this back to traditional models of masculinity in traditional Chinese literature, but I won't.

At the same time, the other thing that this is sometimes used by people as a reason why Western men date Taiwanese women, (i.e. Taiwanese men are too girly and so Taiwanese women don't want to date them). I think this is patently not true simply by the non-scientific evidence that every time I go to a park at night there's some Taiwanese couple making out. I think Taiwanese women like Taiwanese men fine.

I've asked some Taiwanese people about this and their response generally seems to be either that the Taiwanese girls that date Western men are ugly and Taiwanese men wouldn't want to date them anyway, or that the Taiwanese girls that date Western men are really wild and Taiwanese men wouldn't want to date them anyway.


Anonymous said...

so true....

before, when the KMT was still in power, anti-taiwanese sentiment was really strong. im sure you know the difference between "true" taiwanese and taiwanese by now, right? anyway the classic "ghetto" taiwanese guy had horrendous fashion sense and were extremely scrawny. possibly the whole girly taiwanese male thing stemmed from foreigners coming into contact with them.

but ive also had a mainland chinese girl tell me that because taiwanese speak chinese so slowly (mainlanders speak lightning fast) that it makes the taiwanese males seem girly. a slow speaking tempo seems to represent grace and humility. 溫柔. small woman 小女人.


CJ said...

Hey there!

I was searching stuff about Taiwanese guys/men and your blog popped up. Although this entry is from 3 years ago, I found it interesting and would like to post my own comment. :)

I totally agree with you that there's nothing undesirable about Taiwanese men in comparison to Caucasian guys. It depends on what type of qualities and personalities a woman prefers. What I hear most is that most Asian women are seen with Caucasian guys because they make their pursuit very clear. Taiwanese men are usually more 悶燒 (keep their feelings inside), perhaps due to being brought up in a more conservative family. Therefore, it's much harder for a woman of any race to understand that the guy's interested.

As a Taiwanese girl, I struggled with understanding whether an Asian guy likes me or not (usually Taiwanese). Usually, my mom has to interpret what the guy does to how he actually feels. Caucasian guys usually just tell me straight up that he likes me and would like to date me. There are pros and cons but I feel that's the biggest difference.

About the wearing pink thing...I'm not so sure why that's a big deal. Pink doesn't stand for femininity, it's just a color that was associated with (baby) girls and blue for (baby) boys. I don't see anything wrong with a guy wearing pink, but I understand why you mentioned it (for example, the taboo in the Korean movie, "My Sassy Girl" where the female main role says pum-mum-sek-ip-chi-ma, meaning "don't wear pink" to a guy). I think why people say Taiwanese guys are girly may be because of body image. Most Taiwanese guys are lankier than their Western counterparts. The association between masculinity and men has been engrained in our minds long ago; so seeing Taiwanese guys who aren’t muscular or chubby would lead us to think they’re more womanly.

Girls who date western men are either ugly or wild is a complete stereotype. It may seem that way but not every Asian girl who is wild and/or ugly date Caucasian guys. I've dated a Caucasian man once and I'm neither ugly (not that I'm super good-looking, just decent) and wild (I'm extremely conservative). Because of my conservative nature, I found myself more used to Taiwanese guys even though their pursuit(s) aren't very obvious. Once again, the preference of quality/personality takes hold of what most Asian woman wants.

Anonymous said...

I just googled "Understanding Taiwanese Men" (for some hope) and your blog came up. I just dated a Taiwanese Man ( I am a westerner - and no i am not ugly or fat or wild) and found him to be very masculine and have the ideal concepts about being -and was- a real man. I do not have much experience in this, but have dated Australian, British.. etc, and really liked this guy. However, there is definitely some cultural difference obstacles. I would say straightout what I felt about everything.. and he would keep it inside (even though he did say he loved me) BUT after a fight, where I directly said how I felt about some of his bad habits, he decided to not speak to me anymore.. off course, I have been devastated -- and am wondering if there is any hope for a future "Differences between Western and Asian Men" book around.. or being in the making.. I am pretty sure many woud find it very useful.

Anonymous said...

Although I know that many guys here may seem to keep their feelings to themselves, I must say this is not necessarily true. I'm a foreigner dating a Taiwanese guy right now in Taiwan. It may be the fact that we communicate in Chinese, making him comfortable since it's his native language, but he is very emotional and never seems to keep anything to himself. He outright told me he had cried one time when we were having some issues; when he's happy, he tells me how happy he is; when he's feeling upset about something, he always tells me. He's also very sensitive to my own emotions and always gets me to tell him what I'm feeling.

Maybe this makes him seem feminine? To me though, he's just more sensitive to human-emotion than the average guy.

He also made no secret of his persuing me before we started dating. He would do things like always being around me and talking to me, and even holding my hand and hugging me before we were together.

However, I think this aspect of his is different from most Taiwanese guys; I realize he is more outgoing and doesn't seem to hold much back in terms of emotion or feeling.

And just for the record, he's not ugly or wild.