I was extremely sickened by this month’s issue of Details magazine. In the April 2004 issue, author Whitney McNally writes a nasty article about Asian men with a title that reads “Gay or Asian?”. She then lists a number of Asian male stereotypes, ignoring the fact that Asian men come from all different ethnic backgrounds. Instead she generalizes all Asian men as a whole, and gives them one identity.
In the article, the author makes fun of the kinds of clothes Asian men wear and comments on the way they spike up their hair like Ryan Seacrest, whom she refers to as a “crazy cool American.” McNally even goes as far as talking about the way Asian men wear white V-neck T-shirts to show off their “sashimi-smooth chest” and “lady-long fingers,” which she says are “perfect for waxing on and waxing off.”
By saying all this, McNally generalizes all Asian men to be hyper-feminine and unattractive, which I don’t think applies at all. If anything, I think Asian men are just as attractive as anyone else. It sounds obvious to me that the author knows very little about Asian men to begin with. Perhaps she’s been rejected by all of them and so this is her corny little comeback.
I also don’t understand how something like this can get published in a mainstream magazine. It is absolutely unacceptable to use minorities who are continuously demarcated by the white media for the sake of cheap humor. Take a look at “American Idol”‘s William Hung, for example. Do you really think he can sing or dance? I think not. The only reason he’s being offered a $25,000 record deal is because people enjoy watching him make a fool out of himself and because he fits so perfectly into the typical Asian male stereotypes of being nerdy, unattractive and naive. It is definitely not because anyone sees talent in him.
The media loves to demote Asian men in this same fashion. It’s happened in the past, and it will continue to happen if people don’t put an end to it. If Details is really a “men’s interest magazine,” it should pertain to all men and not exclude anyone on the basis of race or sexuality. Asian men and gay men have dicks too.
More than anything, all of these issues make it even more evident that racism continues to exist in mainstream America. Not only is McNally being blatantly racist in her article on Asian men, but the people who edited it must be haters as well. Daniel Perez obviously doesn’t know what it means to be an editor in chief. If you are given that title, then live up to it. Show some sense of dignity toward your readers. This is America, and you need to be culturally sensitive to all races and ethnicities if you want your magazine to sell.
If you are sick and tired of being racially stereotyped by others, don’t just sit on your butts and brush it off like it never meant anything to you. I guarantee these issues will continue to arise if people don’t do anything about it. If you want to help stop this racial injustice, please boycott Details. This is America, folks. Racism should not be tolerated!
Christine Bai is a senior Asian American studies major.