This Instagram account flips the script on Asian fetishisation


Warning: This article contains some topics that are NSFW so continue reading at your own risk.

It’s no secret that online dating can be hideous.

From bad date horror stories to catfish accounts, the problems that can result from dating apps are well-documented. But things are often markedly worse for minorities, as popular Instagram account @thefleshlightchronicles demonstrates in gory detail.

Speaking recently to Broadly, founder Lillian (her surname was kept hidden for privacy reasons) revealed that man would slide into her DMs with charming one-liners such as: “I’ll eat your pussy like shrimp fried rice.”

She began to notice a pattern of fetishisation, one which depressingly matched her own real experiences:

I began to realise that these interactions on Tinder matched up with my lived experience of being an Asian woman.

I realised I could use this platform to talk about those experiences – and help others find validation through them, too.

There’s an absurd twist to the account, which takes gross quotes such as “I want to dominate your small, Asian body” and superimposes them over pictures of Lillian herself.

Some images see Lillian reclaim her own sexuality, posing in lingerie whilst surrounded by quotes such as ‘Asian Teen Has Sweaty Middle-Aged-Man Fetish’ which flip the script on the usual narrative of fetishisation.

In one image she poses with a meat cleaver, seemingly a photograph lensed in response to a man who states his desire to paint her green and spank her “like a naughty avocado.”

Other comments are less generally creepy and more explicitly racist, with one user asking her to cure him of his ‘yellow fever’.

Lillian explains that these discriminatory messages are rarely picked up on by apps, despite feeding in to the exoticisation of Asian women – usually East or South East Asian women - which has been prevalent throughout Western media for decades.

She accredits this to the history of colonialism and the narrative of the West as a dominant power, one which comes with a history of “exploiting and penetrating Asia for profit and gain.”

When it comes to representation of Asian women on-screen, the pickings are still slim. This is partially due to the whitewashing of specifically Asian roles – both The Ghost In The Shelland the Absolutely Fabulous movie, which went a step further and plunged into yellowface, were called out for this – but more largely due to the stereotyping of Asian women as hyper-sexual and/or submissive.

Speaking to The Guardianlast year, Taiwanese American actor Camille Chen spoke of feeling like she had no choice but to audition for masseuse or prostitute roles, whereas ‘classics’ like Madame Butterfly embedded the notion that Asian protagonists needed to be saved by white men. Oh, and they usually die, too.

Actor, artist and author Vera Chok summarised these stereotypes neatly in a piece written last year for The Guardian, also highlighting the ways in which they translate in the real-life sexual stereotyping seen in Lillian’s memes.

Data shows that on dating apps, all men – apart from Asian men – prefer Asian women. I am interested in whether these men want to marry Asian women or just date them.

Asians, alongside other people of colour and marginalised groups, are depicted as disposable.

Things may be changing slowly; late last year, Michelle Yeoh made history when she was cast in the leading role of Captain Georgiou in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, whereas Kelly Tran and Hong Chau also landed landmark roles.

But, as @thefleshlightchronicles depressingly demonstrates, there’s still work to be done in order to dissolve these racist stereotypes for good.

More: A casting director said Asian people weren't expressive and the response was amazing

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