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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”.Chinese girls usually carry useless and unnecessary stuff in their bags and the reason is only because they want to have a bag so that their boyfriend will carry it for them.

In Britain, while significant rates of intermarriage between the Chinese and white Caucasian population have demonstrated social integration, the trend is nevertheless heavily skewed towards Chinese women and white men, rather than the other way around.

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).

Professor Miri Song, who specialises in ethnic identity at the University of Kent, suggests that the parodying of Chinese people is seen as more “socially acceptable” in part because East Asians are not seen as truly disadvantaged, or merit the same protection status as other ethnic minorities.

She points to how British Chinese do well academically and professionally.

“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.

But Debbie also believes that Asian American women are paying a price for “positive” stereotyping.

In recent times, America’s wars in Korea and Vietnam have also influenced the popular American psych, spawning narratives like that of Miss Saigon.

“And let’s not forget Hollywood’s global influence”, says Dr Sandy To, who specialises in gender studies at Hong Kong University.

A quick browse on the Internet for “yellow fever fetishes” brings up a host of websites, articles and videos, mostly from the US, that express humour, distaste and offence at the sexualised objectification of East Asian women, with some equating yellow fever to racism rooted in colonial ideas of power and submission.

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