Are Asian men undateable? Left swipe on a Tinder Hong Kong video seen as reinforcing unfair stereotype

Dating app’s video – apparently a test clip – showing a white woman user accepting all potential matches bar an Asian man was taken down after drawing complaints

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 6:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 August, 2017, 6:58pm

Tinder has come under fire over a Hong Kong login video that shows a white woman accepting all her potential matches apart from the one Asian man on her feed. Critics say the dating app is perpetuating the stereotype that Asian men are unattractive.

The half-minute video was seen by Hong Kong Tinder users in the week beginning August 21, but was taken down after three days amid complaints from users and an accusation by the Asian youth online magazine Nextshark that it was taking “a very cheap shot” at Asian men.

“My first reaction to the video was that it was no surprise at all,” said Donnie, a teacher based in Hong Kong and a member of the “Asian Identity” group on Reddit. “This video adds to the negative stereotype about Asian men that they are undateable.

“We are seen as outsiders in our own homes.”

According to a Tinder employee who wishes to remain anonymous, the login video was part of an “A/B testing” exercise in several countries and areas – Hong Kong included – for updates on Tinder’s login page. A/B testing is used by tech companies to compare two versions of a webpage to see which performs better.

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Ariadna Peretz, founder and managing director of the Maitre D’ate matchmaking agency in Hong Kong, said: “This video not only disrespects the market that Tinder seeks to serve, but also reinforces the stereotype Asian men aren’t attractive to women.”

The desexualisation of Asian men has been making headlines this year since an American comedian made a joke in January that portrayed them as sexually unattractive.

Referring to a 2002 book, How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men, Steve Harvey said: “That’s one page. ‘Excuse me, do you like Asian men?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thank you.’”

After receiving an intense backlash, Harvey issued a public apology on Twitter.

Observers have also pointed to the lack of Asian actors in leading film roles worldwide as another example of Asian men being desexualised.

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In June, Chinese-American actor Jake Choi, who has appeared in the TV shows Gotham and Broad City, told “Asian men in media are so desexualised and emasculated. I wish I knew why. “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.”

Peretz, though, says many women in Hong Kong do see Asian men as lacking charisma. “The problem is Asian men are dealing with stereotypes that do not represent them fairly,” she says.

Tinder did not respond to inquiries from the South China Morning Post and has yet to respond to complaints on Twitter about the video.