A couple of months ago, I read an article by Allison P Davis for Travel + Leisure about her experience as a black American woman Tindering her way across Europe and how that compared to her dating experiences at home, where, as she writes, “…the unfortunate truth about being a black woman dating in America right now: we are considered the most undatable demographic”. According to data collected from dating apps, in the United States “Asian men and black women receive the least messages of anybody, and practically nobody responds to their messages if they dare initiate a conversation”. So Allison goes to London and Berlin and Stockholm and she keeps her phone on and… well… as she puts it, the trip turned into a “sexual sabbatical—a way to remind myself that I am f-ckable—not invisible, not exempt from a narrative of desire just because OkCupid data indicated that I am in the least desirable group of daters”.
I was reminded of Allison’s piece earlier this week when Buzzfeed posted an article about the Taiwanese firefighters calendar. Firemen posing half-naked for calendars is not new. But, for most of you reading this, the calendars you’ve seen don’t feature an all-Asian team of firefighters posing half-naked. While the New Taipei Fire Department has been releasing calendars for the last 9 years, for some reason, this year’s version went viral. In North America, Asian men are not often culturally represented as heartthrobs. It’s a complicated discussion, analysing why and how we are attracted to who we’re attracted to. In part, it’s also conditioning; it’s also what we’ve been told is attractive, desirable, and more often than not, especially in the Western world, we’ve been told that the physical attributes that determine attraction favour some and exclude many others. So I’m not mad that the Taiwanese firefighters calendar is getting some attention here. Their supporters are challenging the idea that Asian men can’t be “hunks”. Click here to see the photos. They’re pretty f-cking “hunky”.
Happy Thanksgiving, American gossips!
Yours in gossip,