Thursday, March 12, 2009

Asian girls are so scandalous

The other day, my friend Brian, told me that the Asian girls on his college campus dressed very “scandalous.” I asked him if he thought that they dressed more scandalously than white folks. He said yes. My other friend, Nate, was also there and he seemed to agree—or more like agree in an objective way by saying that the image of Asian girls is kind of risqué, at least portrayed as such by pseudo-celebrities like Tila Tequila. In my best psychology professor voice, I tried to tell them the concept of confirmation bias, which is the selective memory of things that confirm preconceived notions. I firmly believe that this psychological concept is manifested in us every single day. Confirmation bias can occur where it is unwarranted. For example, let’s take something that is obviously unfounded—like smokers drive red cars. If you believed this, every time a red car passed by with a driver that had a cigarette on his or her lips, you would subconsciously (or very consciously) store that in your memory because it confirmed your belief, no matter how irrational it was.

Not all biases are unfounded; many of them have some truth to them, which is why such biases were formed in the first place. This may be a bad example, but just the other day I saw a rather buff guy with a tight shirt, and it confirmed my bias that buff guys love showing off their muscles. I think this one has some truth to it, but then again, there may be just as many buff guys who don’t like to show people how many hours they spend in the gym.

And then there are biases that are outright wrong. The bias that Asian girls dress more scandalously is probably wrong. You see, 95% of the people on Brian’s campus are white, and so it makes it hard to make stereotypes about a population that is so predominant, whereas it is easier to make stereotypes of the minority. Let’s say that Brian saw a horde of 30 white girls walking to class in bikinis, everyday for a month, my guess is that he wouldn’t ever conclude, “Geez, white girls are so scandalous,” because there would always be 15,000 other white girls who didn’t dress like that. But ironically, if he saw a small group of five Asian girls wearing miniskirts, everyday for a week, he would conclude, as he has, “Geez, Asian girls are so scandalous.”

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe on Brian’s campus, Asian girls are scantily clad above the national average. But all I know is that a week after our conversation, Brian came back to me and said, “Hey, I’ve been looking around campus this week… and there are a lot of modestly dressed Asian girls.”

14 comments:

  1. Due to confirmation bias people expected me to be an athlete in college. Therefore, I hardly spoke nor speak about my collegiate athlete days. Did anyone ever think I got in because of brains? Or were they really thinking I was there because I was a runner. Well I have news for them. I walked on the team. Suckers!

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  2. I know people expect me to just tempt them and stuff but deep down i am a really nice person. I have horns and i have red skin. All becuase my great great grandfather was evil does not meen that I am. I am sick of it. Maybe if I stop caring around this pitch fork...who knows.

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  3. All I have to say is that Asian girls have the cutest style I have ever seen. I had a sister missionary friend on the mission that always looked cute. She could pull off mix matched patterns like no one I knew and still looked amazing. So if anyone needs tips on fashion we should all look to our Asian friends for some pointers. I have also never seen a higher population of scandal in clothing then those of my fellow white women. Myself not included.

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  4. I've found that Asian Jangs are always dressed scandalously.

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  5. If you got it, flaunt it. Asian girls got it goin on!

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  6. Ask your friend to be even bolder. Which specific Asian region is he speaking of? ;)

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  7. I must say I fight the urge to dress scandalously every day. Good thing I'm moving to France. The real miss scandalosa ayoung shall be unleashed!

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  8. Great post. I can't help but think that popular culture feeds the image a lot (see, e.g., Anime, Full Metal Jacket). I think the more people think of a woman as a "traditional and submissive" type, the more any transgression of that image seems scandalous. Asian women can wear the same thing as white women, but because there is a different stereotypical baseline, Asian women are seen as more scandalous. The idea that Asian women are "exotic" probably plays into the equation as well.

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  9. Sheryl, it is always difficult when others define you by your race. "You are such and such because of your race." So sometimes when you actually do something that is "stereotypical" of your race, you hate confirming everyone's bias of that. I've been there.

    Nate W., yeah there are a ton of movies that play into the whole stereotype. And your point of "transgression of that image" is well-taken. Never really looked at it like that, but I think you're on to something.

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  10. As an Asian woman, you are either perceived as a really smart bitch or scandalous. The trick is trying to find something in between.

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  11. MissKim, I'm glad you fight your innate urge as an Asian woman.

    Twinkie, minority women can have it doubly hard dealing with gender AND racial issues.

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  12. Remember how Sheryl is expected to dance-and dance well she does! Remember how most Asians can't dance, um have you heard of "Graduation/bday/moving to London" crew? Pretty sure there were 4 Asians involved-so they're wrong.
    And my observations would have to say Asian girls on the West coast are more scandalous! They must change after they say good-bye to their parents. No traditional Asian parents would let their child go out like some girls do.

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  13. I agree with the title of your post...not so sure about all of the stuff thereafter.

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