‘Good-looking for an Asian’: how I shed white ideals of masculinity

This theory of desire seems especially useful in explaining the model minority stereotype – that Asian Americans find success by working hard and following the rules – and why some Asian Americans perform the stereotype so dutifully. To be the model minority is to fulfill the desire of the other. That is, you perform the stereotype because it is the performance that whiteness wants from you. Just as I saw in the mirror what my parents wanted from me.

What makes the performance so alluring is that you also feel yourself become desirable to yourself. We internalize the other’s gaze whether the other is our beloved, or society and soon enough the desire seems like our own.

For straight Asian American men, this means wanting to be wanted in the way white heteronormative men are wanted. If an Asian American man can win the love of a white woman, he thinks, then he might have a claim to America in all its whiteness and straightness and maleness after all.

By Matthew Salesses, The Guardian

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