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Jewish Matt & Asian Girlfriend : Jewish Men & Asian Women Revisited @Social NetworkWhile the “Cross-cultural interracial relationships – Jewish boys and Asian girls” debate post was written over a year and  a half ago it remains one of this blog’s most popular blog posts, with some recent surges in traffic. At first, I couldn’t understand why the sudden interest in this topic, but I quickly came to realize it has to do with the new movie coming out called “Social Network” about the creation of Facebook. The two connections to this topic are the fact that Mark Zuckerberg, a Jewish guy now among the richest in the world, is now seriously dating an Asian girl, as well as some scenes from the movie showing some of the Jewish-Asian trend taking place in Harvard. Renee Ghert-Zand helped me put everything into place with the mind baffling “The Social Network’ on the Lore of Jewish Men and Asian Women” (highlights not in original text):

In a scene in the film, in which the Mark Zuckerberg character pulls his friend Eduardo Saverin out of an AEΠ  (a Jewish fraternity) party to talk to him, Zuckerberg glances over at a group of Asian female Harvard students and asks what they are doing there. Saverin answers with something about how Asian girls like “us,” meaning Jewish guys. A bit later, two such students come on to Zuckerberg and Saverin and one ends up going out with the latter.

As someone who has observed the growth in the number of couples made up of Jewish men and Asian women (especially so in Northern California, where I live and where there is a relatively high rate of interracial relationships in general), I took note of Saverin’s offhand line and wondered whether he was referencing a false stereotype or a legitimate trend.

A young Jewish woman I know who is studying at a top university told me that, in her experience, the AEΠ scene was accurate, and said she “laughed in recognition at that scene in ‘The Social Network.’” In fact, she posted on (where else?) Facebook a recent video — a send up of a Flight of the Conchords song — made by science grad students at the University of California at San Francisco. Called “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Lab,” the video shows a couple of “geeky” Jewish guys (one guy is referred to by name as, “Zev”) serenading a young Asian woman in a lab meeting.

Now that sounds interesting. It took me a while to find a copy, which infringed copyrights for the song, but thanks to the Chinese I quickly found that “Most Beautiful Girl in the Lab” – the Jewish-Asian twist of “Most beautiful girl in the room” :

 

If you’re wondering about this “Social Network” movie, here’s the trailer :

 

If you don’t find that convincing, you might want to check out the UCSB “Jewish Men Who Love Asian Women” Facebook group with Woddy Allen staring in the group profile photo and having the following description:

I think the title pretty much speaks for itself. But for those who didn’t read the title, I’ll explain. I have a theory that there is a connection between jewish guys and asian women (see Harold and Kumar.) Maybe it’s just me, but when I see a fine asian woman, I cannot help but give at least two glances in her direction. So please, if you’re jewish and have the hots like me (if you’re not its still cool too), please join the group.
As for the ladies, if you also enjoy asian women or you are one yourself, please don’t hesitate to join (or call me).

 

Okay, back to Renee and her interesting story (again, bold not in text):

I decided to ask some Asian women who have married Jewish men what they thought about all this. All three of the women I spoke with — one Japanese, one Korean and one Chinese — converted to Judaism and are moms in the local Jewish day school and synagogue communities where I live. Given that they are all of my generation, they reported that they are surprised at how much more common it is for them to see young Asian women with Jewish men these days. When they met their husbands, they were one of the only —or the only — such interracial couple they knew.

As opposed to what my young acquaintance thought about the attraction between Jewish men and Asian women — mostly having to do with (pernicious) stereotypes that Asian women are submissive and Jewish women are demanding — these older Asian-Jewish women thought that the affinity was due to a common emphasis on education and family that is shared by Jews and Asians. “Asian women don’t see nerdiness or lack of athleticism as a negative,” said one of the women. “I would have had a much harder time bringing home a big football player who wasn’t doing well in school than a scholarly Jewish guy.”

No doubt, there are similarities between the two cultures, but there is something more basic about the attraction. Let’s just say that I don’t think it is mere coincidence that there are online discussions about the Asian woman being “the new shiksa.”

That second paragraph was especially interesting. The general stereotypes for Jewish men are that they’re nerdy (American Jewish, I would emphasize, as the mandatory military service makes Israelis less lacking in athleticism), for Jewish women that they’re demanding (that might hold for Israeli girls as well, but more of a good way IMHO), and for Asian girls that they’re submissive (while in HK they’re anything but according to my earlier post about HK boys and gals).

Since I’m already discussing the topic, might as well share more of my findings about this topic through looking at incoming traffic logs. This next article from the Jerusalem Post called “Rattling the Cage: Nice Jewish boy, nice Asian girl” by Larry Derfner also have some interesting insights :

One of my closest friends from Los Angeles, like me an old-fashioned, secular, unrich son of Polish Jewish immigrants, just married off his own first son to the daughter of Korean immigrants. From the sound of it, soon he’s probably going to be marrying off his younger son to the daughter of Singaporean immigrants. Two American Jewish sons, two Asian-American daughters-in-law (or one, going on two). Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so.

The simplest reason it’s not is that both couples met at UCLA, a gigantic university loaded with Jewish and Asian students. The less simple reason is that my friend’s two sons received an old-fashioned, secular, unrich Jewish upbringing in America, and for people like them, there aren’t many American Jews of similar background and outlook to marry anymore. For people like them, there are more opportunities to find suitable spouses among Asians and other studious, hard-working, family-oriented American immigrants than there are among American Jews.

[…] They have something that mainstream American Jewry used to have, but lost after living in America so long: Humility. That heimishe quality. […]

Now, in 2008, what are the chances that my anachronistic Jewish friend’s anachronistic sons are going to find secular Jewish girls on the same wavelength as theirs? Very, very slim. Today, young secular Jews in America come from either wealthy homes, in which case they’re groomed to marry wealthy spouses, or they’ve assimilated and become really no different from American WASPs. THE ONLY large concentrations of young Jews in America today who are neither rich nor assimilated and who, like my friend’s sons, still have something of the old-fashioned Jewish sensibility, are found among the religious. This means the Orthodox, but also the non-Orthodox who, out of determination to hold onto their Jewishness, take part in religious or some other kind of "Jewish activities" from week to week.

So where does that leave my friend’s sons? If you’re a young, humble, heimishe American Jew, but religion and organized Jewish "fellowship" really don’t talk to you, where do you find your match? Among the Asian-Americans. Or among the Armenian-Americans, or the Greek-Americans, or any American immigrant group whose family-oriented, purposeful, modest way of life resembles that of America’s earlier generations of immigrant Jews.

[…] My L.A. friend’s older son married a Korean girl, and his younger son sounds like he’s about to marry a Singaporean girl. From what I hear, both girls are good, kind, hard-working, smart, modest and loyal. They’re not Jews, but they have what I think of as a Jewish sensibility. As far as I’m concerned, these two mixed marriages (or one, going on two) are preserving the old Jewish way of life in America, only now it’s an old-new, Jewish-Asian way of life. All I can say is mazel tov.

This one is on the same lines as the previous post, but goes further to suggest that today’s humble, modest, loyal Asian girls are what Jewish girls used to be when they first arrived in the states. I don’t know many Asian Americans but the few ABCs I meet that are here on exchange (biased sample, I admit) do not really follow that stereotype. Also to suggest that this stereotype is why Jewish guys are after those girls tries to rationalize what I perceive as more of  a physical attraction hormonal story, which that video at the beginning speaks more of. I also think that another issue is that those coming from non-monotheist religions do not care as much to go the distance to embrace their spouse’s religion making it a relatively minor issue if they do want to get married and the guy insisting on Judaism. Most of the examples discussed above were of Asian girls who made that concession. 

Here’s more of those stereotypes from an interview in Haaretz with the lady who wrote the guide on how to find a Jewish boyfriend :

Is it true that many Jewish men date women from East Asia?

"I see it, too. Asian women are very pretty, well groomed. They don’t  challenge their man all the time, they accept him as he is. They are  also considered more obedient, although we shouldn’t forget that’s a  stereotype. I know women of Asian extraction who are fighters, but in  general, Jewish men, and other men too, feel that it’s easier for them
with Asian women."

So the Jewish man is tired of the Jap (Jewish American Princess)?

"I have never heard a Jewish man say that he likes dating a Jap. The  stereotype of the Jap is of a materialistic, money-loving Jewish woman,  who will look for a man with money and status, a very materialistic  woman who is preoccupied with herself and her image. She’s hard to maintain, and everything about her is superficial."

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Tags: asian girls; Cross culture relationships; dating; jewish guys; jewish guys asian girls; love; Mark Zuckerberg; movie; relationships; social network;


  • Nitzan Yezi

    I disagree with you, it’s not Asian girls with Jewish guys. it’s a relationships between two Americans!. so the cultural difference are not so big. American influence all over the world make the world flatter and cultures to be more similar too.
    Both Jewish and East Asians lived in the USA for some generation, thus marriage among them is likely to occur.

    • http://www.filination.com/blog/ Fili

      Nitzan – well, you have a point, though Jewish Americans were/are in the habit or dating/marrying Jewish people, mainly for religious/traditional reasons. Similar things can be said about some of the Asian communities living in the US, so – while they do assimilate to some extent, there’s much less likely to do so than other fractions. Since the cases themselves point out to the peculiarity of the phenomenon, I’d say this is not a mis-observation, but a reflection of their own attitudes.

    • Davidson

      Even a three year old will not believe your drivel. Now, please tell me, where on earth are the relationships between Asian American men and Jewish women in your supposedly ‘flat world’. Matt Browns’ comment is spot on. Asian girls are easy since many of them practically fall on their knees when a caucasian looking guy woos them. What a bunch of low life sell outs.

      • Rozyuri

        I know of two people, the children of Asian American male and Jewish female couples: Liz Cho and Susan (Malka) Choi. Asian girls are easy? Low life sell outs? Then stay faraway from them…

  • Ny

    Before your “revisited” I almost know nothing about Zuckerberg’s personal affair. What seems more appealing to me is the rumor about Natalie Portman and him :P
    Anyway, I guess cross-cultural relationship should be encouraged as long as the pair truly feel in need of each other for long despite any differences or difficulties.

    • http://www.filination.com/blog/ Fili

      Nadia – yep, though I think that’s generally true for any relationship, cross-cultural or not. Relationships are tricky even without all the issues of culture.

  • HS

    few comments :P even though i am not a specialist just also noticed this topic in few other places lately.

    1) 30Rock (the american comedy series) touched a topic of jewish men being popular among asian women …one of the latest episodes in this season.

    2) … on the topic of “social network” … Zuckerbergs friends american-asian gfriend also puts his bed on fire :P …

    3) on the topic of ur sample of american-asians being biased … it probably is not a representative :P … but my experience in US with American-Asiasn is often that they are not that modest. it might depend on when they came here. don’t know. in my experience many of the asian girls are also “who will look for a man with money and status, a very materialistic woman who is preoccupied with herself and her image.” … in my opinion the asian women would not be willing to marry out of their income bracket (possibly family would not allow).

    … just a few thoughts :P

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ILFKFSIXQC6U4DULLWZD6KMUSM/ matt browns

    It’s simple really and it’s not to do with education or family values, because if it was, there would be more oriental and Indian marriages (indians divorce less). it’s a matter of social status. Oriental women would rather marry average Jewish men or poor uneducated White men instead of educated blacks, Africans, Indians – and sometimes even oriental men because many of them develop and suffer from self hate. How many of them use Anglo names? Listen to nothing but anglo music and try their best to get into circles full of nothing but White people with money (many which contain Jewish people)? Oriental women are basically gold, social digging AND most of all RACIST (sometimes even against their own)leeches. This isn’t an attack, just an observation delivered bluntly.
    As for the reason why Jewish guys get with them, there are many reasons. Many Jewish guys date out simply because of love – race not being an important factor, but plenty of Jewish men – and White men get with oriental women simply because most oriental women are easy because they will go for anything with pale skin.
    Your post was about the Social Network, right? Remember how he was intolerable at the start? The girl he was with couldn’t stand him and he was obviously lacking in social skills and manners? Well, his behaviour sure was not a problem with oriental women.

    One last thing, when oriental women talk about dating out or interracial dating, they are only talkig about dating White people and Jews. Proof of their racism.

    • https://twitter.com/dailyGREword Ke Huang

      As an “oriental” girl, I will try to give a reply to what you said. I know that maybe I won’t change how you (and the people who liked your post) feel, but the last thing to die is hope isn’t it?

      With my personal experience, it is true that I have grown to more attracted to Jewish men, but I wasn’t always that way. It seemed that the “oriental” men I originally thought I would be with would be the first to end their relationship with me. I don’t mean to blame them, but after I got a few rejections, I kind of got a (un)conscious aversion to them.

      Regarding the golddigging/leech image. Maybe that’s how you see it, but a lot of “oriental” women I know, are selfish in another way. We want a family and children. And for that to be possible (at least in a sustainable way), we try to accept men who can help us provide for our future descendants.

      Oh, there’s also your Anglo names comment. I think some women do that because people from other cultures have a hard time pronouncing our names.

      I guess I could expand on more of what you said, but I don’t know how much time you’ve got. Hope this helps.

      http://buddhistbrassiere.blogspot.com/

      • http://www.filination.com/blog/ Fili

        Ke Huang – that’s very interesting, thanks for sharing. Would be interesting to hear more about your personal experiences. If you’d like to write us a more complete story, I’d be happy to share this is in a new blog post. A female perspective on the topic is quite refreshing.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ILFKFSIXQC6U4DULLWZD6KMUSM/ matt browns

    I think your blog is good, but your opinions are very biased like the man who would say he like oriental women because they are very beautiful and smart- basically in reality, some are while some are not. Unless you’re mentally retarded and with a fetish- which would make everyone smart and possibly attractive.

  • Latinlover

    I’ll put it this way:Jews like Asians girls, Caucasians like Asian girls, Blacks like Asian girls, Latins like Asian girls and Asians like Asian girls. We could save a lot of bits on sites telling the same story all over again. There’s a hot topic around the world right now and that is Asian girls are hot… last generation always thought they had horizontal [...] so they never hit on them, but our generation watched porn, and BOOM!!!!!!

  • facebook-749911534

    A Jewish-Asian Couple’s Union Leads to a Scholarly Interest in Intermarriage

    By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN, reporter NY TImes

    One weekend night 15 years ago, a group of graduate students at the University of Chicago decided to interrupt their research long enough for a dinner party. Helen K. Kim made a chocolate tart with ginger cream filling. Her classmate Noah S. Leavitt regarded it and scoffed, “Nice use of your time, making a fancy dessert with all the homework we have.”

    Ms. Kim did not exactly swoon at that snarky version of a pickup line. Over the next three weeks, though, Mr. Leavitt kept pursuing her in more polite fashion and they eventually went out for dinner and drinks. Very quickly, the two aspiring academics found themselves talking in candid detail about the recent and untimely deaths of their fathers.

    From that encounter grew not only their own subsequent marriage but a joint scholarly interest in the very trend they embodied: intermarriage between Asian-Americans and American Jews. Their major research paper on the subject appeared in February, just three months before arguably the highest-profile example of the phenomenon, the wedding of Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, to his longtime girlfriend, Dr. Priscilla Chan.

    To the limited degree that numbers exist, they suggest that the proportion of intermarriages of American Jews and Asian-Americans is growing. Statistics alone, though, tell only part of the relevant story. The Jewish-Asian love affair, as the research by Ms. Kim, 39, and Mr. Leavitt, 42, indicates, is built on a deep sense of shared commitment to “tight-knit families, hard work, and educational advancement,” as they wrote in the journal Contemporary Judaism. (Their study did not consider other types of Jewish intermarriage.)

    Putting aside the matter of Mr. Zuckerberg’s billions, he and Dr. Chan typify much of what Ms. Kim and Mr. Leavitt found in their fieldwork. They met as fellow meritocrats in the rarefied air of Harvard. They enticed their friends to their wedding (and hid it from the news media) by couching it as a party to celebrate Dr. Chan’s graduation from medical school.

    “It’s not surprising that at face value the general American public might look at the couples we studied or Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan and assume that there are going to be problems,” said Ms. Kim, a sociology professor at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. “But what I’ve learned is that it’s premature to kind of doom them because of superficial differences. I’ve been heartened by the commitment that undergirds our couples.”

    Mr. Leavitt, a dean and teacher at Whitman, said he was struck by the comity even within the close, intense confines of family. “Just thinking about Jewish concerns about marrying outside of Judaism,” he said, “I went into this project expecting more examples of ‘My in-laws didn’t talk to me for five years’ or ‘They won’t come to my house.’ Very, very few of those. Even when we asked explicitly about those concerns, people had to stretch for examples.”

    Predictably, the Zuckerberg-Chan wedding did set off some Jewish hand-wringing about how the tribe had “lost” him. The research by Ms. Kim and Mr. Leavitt, though, showed that, if anything, it is Asian heritage that loses in such marriages. Jewish ethnic identity and Judaic religious practice characterized most of the 31 intermarried couples they studied in depth, even though only five Asian-American spouses converted. The Jewish attachment seemed to deepen for those couples who had children.

    “If you want to instill Jewish identity, you have resources available that may not be equivalent on the Asian-American side,” Ms. Kim said. “You have synagogues, day schools, J.C.C.’s, a text you can go to. And for a number of Asian folks in the second generation — and I can relate to this — they don’t know how to instill ethnic identity because they aren’t confident in their own sense of it.”

    This phenomenon of Jewish-Asian intermarriage comes as a startling change for two immigrant groups that in the past had often made light of their differences. A famous rye-bread ad in the 1960s featured a Chinese-American man with the slogan, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s.” One of the unofficial rituals of American Jewish life is to spend Christmas seeing a movie and eating in a Chinese restaurant. The religion journalist Ari L. Goldman once interviewed an observant Jewish homemaker who explained that she kept three sets of dishes — for meat, for dairy and for Chinese takeout.

    The early adopters in the realm of Asian-Jewish marriage included the jazz musicians Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi (1969) and the television personalities Maury Povich and Connie Chung (1984). The best statistical evidence for the trend appears in a research paper published in 2000 by Colleen Fong and Judy Yung. They found that more than 18 percent of marriages by Chinese- and Japanese-Americans were to American Jews — who constitute about 2 percent of the nation’s population.

    Whatever the frequency of such marriages, the visibility of them has soared. Well before Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Chan exchanged vows, there emerged such intermarried power couples as Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, both Harvard Law School professors, and Amy Chua of “Tiger Mom” fame and Jed Rubenfeld, her colleague at Yale Law School. The late star of the Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch, was married to Dechen Wangdu, an activist for Tibetan independence.

    “When we talked about choosing couples for diversity,” Mr. Leavitt recalled, “we looked at different parts of the country, different Asian ethnic groups, different religions for the Asian-American spouse. The one thing we didn’t see at all was diversity of education level or income level. Graduate degrees, advanced degrees, professional tracks were all very common.”

    As for the scholars themselves, Mr. Leavitt and Ms. Kim have been married for a decade and are the parents of a son, Ari, and a daughter, Talia. Ms. Kim said she hopes the children will learn Korean language and history — as she, the daughter of Korean immigrants who insisted that she assimilate to America, did not. Meanwhile, the hybrid Kim-Leavitt family belongs to a synagogue, has Shabbat dinner weekly and celebrates many Jewish holidays, not just the American staples of Passover and Hanukkah. On the subject of conversion, Ms. Kim’s answer is a qualified no. But for years, she added, “I’ve been thinking about it.”

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