Someone from my NYU group posted this interesting Youtube video that listed and explained the eighteen different types of asian girls. As an asian girl myself, I thought it was relevant enough for me to watch it and see where I fell. But of course, I had this undeniable feeling that there would be several stereotypical words, such as “FOB” (fresh off the boat), “Kpop”, and “white-washed”. I really disapprove of putting labels on people and defining them based on how they act and what they wear. And I certainly don’t like to make myself fall under a group or a category because I believe I am more unique than that.
I was probably already putting myself in the hot pot when I clicked on the video.
These two asian guys, who has a big following on Youtube with their comedy channel (no, they were not the WangFu Productions), were hosting the video with another asian girl. The asian girl acted out the different “types” of girls.
Sure, I probably fell into some of these stereotypes, but the descriptions were so, I don’t know, cliche. They were your typical Kpop-loving, or anime-loving, or white-washed, or ghetto, girls. They did say that they made everything up and that it was just for the entertainment of their audience. But still, I felt uncomfortable thinking that some people will actually watch this video and start generalizing asian girls into these stereotypes.
Stereotypes are embedded in our culture. It existed even before we were born, even before immigrants sailed into America. No matter where it originated from, I think it is time that we know better than to assume that because someone is so-and-so, she/he is “this” kind of person. It is easier to categorize people because maybe our brain functions easier than that. I don’t believe that, though. People mainly categorize others because it is in their nature to do so. And I don’t blame them. Everyone, unique or not, falls under some kind of category that was created way-back-when the dinosaurs roared. The act of registering someone as a certain type is unavoidable as well as inevitable.
I also noticed that once something or someone is generalized into a certain category, judgments and assumptions start springing out like a broken fountain. For example, someone is wearing a nicely ironed white button-down shirt with pastel shorts matched with a pair of Sperry boat-shoes. Most people will call this person “preppy”, and will think that just because this person is wearing this attire means the person is from a well-off family and probably graduated from an ivy league. Your mind is a gambling machine. The assumptions and split judgments you make might be wrong most of the time. That doesn’t mean you should punish yourself for thinking this way. I mean, everyone assumes, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I’m not going to lie by criticizing stereotypes and saying that I have never done it before. Of course I have generalized people. That is why I am writing this post. As I progressed into a college student, I learned that stereotypes are the underlying pulse of most cultures today. You know it’s there and you can’t ignore it. But sometimes you are able to overcome the temptation to categorize people because you realize that everyone is an individual.
So hopefully, as I start meeting new people, I won’t have to face the awkward occasions of someone telling me that I am the so-called “white-washed” asian girl. Because last time I checked, I don’t have a single drop of paint covering up my asian identity. And trust me, there is way more to me than just my skin color (and a Youtube video).