Wes invited me to explain why some Asian women prefer white men. Unlike him, I am unable to rationalize my preferences. I like what I like, and that’s that. I am not dismissing that biology plays a factor in making me behave the way I do while choosing a mate, but I am not going to pretend to understand the chemical reactions in my body, or analyze my preferences based on that. However, I can take a crack at explaining my behaviour and preferences not from a biological point of view, but from a cultural one.
In his post, Wes pointed that though attractive neotenous East Asian women can satisfy his limbic system, being with them does not always translate to his happiness. His yellow fever places him at a great disadvantage because what his wants physically is not always well-matched for what he craves culturally, intellectually or emotionally. He seems to imply that I have a counterpart affliction, since I have a history of dating exclusively Caucasian males. However, I would argue that my affliction is less biological and more cultural, and like Wes’s yellow fever, satisfies one part of me while leaving another part greatly dissatisfied.
Wes stated that neoteny is what physically motivates him, but my argument is that I am motivated by more than just my biology- my behaviour is also very much affected by cultural norms and the way the media defines love. I do have physical preferences when it comes to men, but I think the scope is wider- I do not let height, hair colour or other physical characteristics become the primary deciding factor when choosing a mate. What I mostly look for (and I do this subconsciously), is the starry-eyed, sweep-me-off-the-feet kind of magic. I am a unicorn hunter.
It seems ludicrous that as an educated and liberated woman, I would buy into the media portrayal of love. Hollywood romantic comedies among other types of formulaic media poison show young people that when we find the one person who truly loves us, our flaws will be understood and we will be redeemed. I stopped consuming these barf-inducing films and TV shows at a relatively young age because rationally, I knew what they want us to believe in is not real. However, the propaganda had already been deeply ingrained in my psyche; I was already, and still am, conditioned to want the magic, to find a man who will understand and redeem me. The media is selling a fantasy, that true love will always prevail and cure all that ails us. The reality is, a partnership is so much more practical than we are led to believe. Romantic comedies are never about people choosing mates from a pool of people, and choosing the one we think is the best based on what is available. They don’t make a movie about a woman evaluating potential mates based on practical factors such education and income, because these are relevant when assessing someone’s ability to provide a certain kind of lifestyle we aspire to, whether that’s raising a family or living the double-income-no-kids lifestyle . In fact, assessing a potential mate’s financial ability is considered superficial, and is frowned upon in romantic comedies. According to the movies, we are supposed to wait for Cupid to strike to tell us when to fall in love with the right guy at the right moment. The point is, the reality of choosing a mate is not magical or romantic, and it will not sell box office tickets or diamond rings. I am fully aware of this, and though I am an independent and capable woman, I am not above it; I still succumb to the fantasy. I am chasing after an idea, a mystical creature. I do this even though it makes me greatly unhappy. Even though I know that unicorns are not real, and don’t make me happy at the end of the day, I keep hoping that maybe this time things will be different. Maybe this time, it will last.
Are we biologically and culturally programmed to do things that leave us dissatisfied? I like to think that as humans, we have more autonomy, and we can control our own happiness. Biology and culture influence our wants, but at the end of the day, it is up to us how we choose to be happy.