Popular dating app Tinder recently introduced a log-in video for its users in Hong Kong. The short, 30-second clip showed a woman flitting through the app, checking out some pictures and then swiping right (meaning: let’s chat) or left (meaning: bye!).
The video showed the woman swiping right on two white men and then a black guy, but the only one to be rejected was the lone Asian candidate.
The clip soon went viral and sparked controversy, forcing Tinder to pull it altogether from the app. However, with social media users accusing the video of perpetuating racist stereotypes against Asian men, the damage had already been done.
“This video not only disrespects the market that Tinder seeks to serve, but also reinforces the stereotype Asian men aren’t attractive to women,” Ariadna Peretz, founder of a matchmaking agency in Hong Kong, told South China Morning Post.
It’s not just a matter of insensitivity. Asian men are usually stereotyped as being less masculine or lacking charisma — and there are enough research studies to prove that.
For instance, a 2014 study by another dating app, OkCupid, concluded Asian men have a tougher time getting a date.
“Per the U.S. census, one out of five Asian-American men will never marry,” JT Tran, founder and CEO of ABCs of Attraction, told Next Shark. “According to a study at MIT, Asian men have to make $247,000 more than a white male in order to get the same response rate. In other words, you have to have a Rolls Royce in order to be considered a potential online mate…
"Tinder just exacerbates that tendency given how much more visually-oriented the women are on Tinder and its use as sexual marketplace for women, which plays into the worst of Asian male stereotypes.”
Along with dating and relationship troubles, Asian men face similar problems in Hollywood as well.
“Asian men in media are so de-sexualized and emasculated. I wish I knew why,” Chinese-American actor Jake Choi, who has starred in hit TV shows including “Gotham,” “Younger” and “Broad City” told Salon.com earlier this year. “Part of it is fear and racism. And Asian woman can be with a white man because you’re not compromising white male sexuality and dominance and perception and straight white male insecurity.”
Meanwhile, Tinder claims the controversial video, which was only accessible to users in Hong Kong, is not running in any region any longer.
“This video was part of a small test that we rejected and are no longer using. Though it was not our intention, we see in retrospect how the content could be seen as insensitive, and we deeply apologize for any offense caused,” said a spokesman, according to Quartz. “We believe that everyone deserves the chance to find their match on Tinder and we strive to make it a community of acceptance and inclusivity for all individuals.”
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