Western powers, including the United States, established a presence in the port cities of China, Japan and Korea and made substantial profits from the lucrative trade routes.One result of this was a developing appetite amongst the Western middle class for Asian goods and art; for example, Chinese export porcelain. American men who may not have had preconceived notions about Asian women were drafted and sent to fight in Asia where they saw Asian women working in the sex industry. Butterfly, the writer David Henry Hwang, using the term "yellow fever", a pun on the disease of the same name, discusses white men with a "fetish" for (east) Asian women.Because of Asian fetish, an Asian woman’s racial difference is either seen as a failure to conform to mainstream white standards of beauty, or as something that can be appreciated only on an alternative scale.NPR correspondent Elise Hu offers that this can be a source of insecurity in Asian women's dating lives, asking: "Am I just loved because I'm part of an ethnic group that's assumed to be subservient, or do I have actual value as an individual, or is it both? In the other direction, it has been argued that the notion of an Asian fetish creates the unnecessary and erroneous perception of multiracial relationships as being characterized by "patriarchal, racist power structures" in relationships.Statistics detailing the sponsorship of spouses and fiancées to Australia between 1988//91 showed that more women from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, and India were sponsored for citizenship than men from the same countries.For some white men, sex tourism to countries such as Thailand is built around a fantasy that includes the possibility of finding love and romance.Writer Agness Kaku believes the mainstream white culture undermines efforts to combat sexual harassment based on Asian fetish.
The image of the sexualized Asian woman in the United States was further solidified by the presence of the U. military in Asia during the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war. In a two-year study on dating preferences among 400 Columbia University students, researchers did not find evidence of a general preference among white men for Asian women.the perfect wife who is not going to talk back"., as in they are perceived to be able to properly take care of their children during the day and fulfill their partner's sexual desires at night.In interviews done by Bitna Kim, white men explain their fetish for Asian women.Interracial relationships may occur for reasons distinct from race.Asian fetishes have been criticized for treating the fetishized person as an object rather than an equal partner.