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In a two-year study on dating preferences among 400 Columbia University students, researchers did not find evidence of a general preference among white men for Asian women.Furthermore, the study found that there is a significantly higher pairing of white men with East Asian women because East Asian women discriminate against black and Hispanic/Latino men.

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Because of Asian fetish, an Asian woman’s racial difference is either seen as a failure to conform to mainstream white standards of beauty, or as something that can be appreciated only on an alternative scale.

NPR correspondent Elise Hu offers that this can be a source of insecurity in Asian women's dating lives, "Am I just loved because I'm part of an ethnic group that's assumed to be subservient, or do I have actual value as an individual, or is it both? In the other direction, it has been argued that the notion of an Asian fetish creates the unnecessary perception of multiracial relationships as being characterized by "patriarchal, racist power structures" in relationships.

Some of this art, such as postcards and fans, featured sexualized depictions of geishas, portrayed as petite, heavily made-up and richly dressed women. In movies, television and media, this stereotypical representation of Asian women is of them being seen as objects rather than humans.

The prominence of this provocative geisha image on trade goods fostered, in the eyes of Western men, the idea of the geisha and East Asian women as decorative, sexual objects. Continuous exhibition of such in mainstream media has led to the idea of the "Asian fetish". Butterfly, the writer David Henry Hwang, using the term "yellow fever", a pun on the disease of the same name, discusses white men with a "fetish" for (east) Asian women.

The 1887 novel Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti and Puccini's 1904 opera Madama Butterfly served to popularise the image of the submissive and doll-like East Asian woman, while Hollywood promoted the sexualised Asian femme fatale in the form portrayed by Anna May Wong as Fu Manchu’s daughter. The term "yellow fever" describes someone who is inflicted with a disease, meaning that someone with an Asian fetish has a sickness.

The image of the sexualized Asian woman in the United States was further solidified by the presence of the U. military in Asia during the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war. Hwang argues that this phenomenon is caused by stereotyping of Asians in Western society.

Most commonly the term refers to a sexual obsession with Asian women experienced by some non-Asian men.

A fetish is something that is desired so heavily that it becomes an abnormal obsession.

In her essay Lotus Blossoms Don't Bleed: Images of Asian Women, American filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña identifies two basic stereotypes.

The Lotus Blossom Baby is a feminine and delicate sexual-romantic object.

Things that the men found appealing in Asian women included subtlety and quietness, eye-catching long black hair, a mysterious look in dark eyes, and a propensity to give more consideration to how their man feels than to themselves.

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