imomus (imomus) wrote,

YouTube as a way of thinking (about, in this instance, dating)

Steven Levitt, that freakonomic correlator of unexpected variables, tells us that in America (where dating correlates, apparently, to income and therefore allows the racial hierarchy to be quantified numerically), Asian males have to make $247,000 more than Caucasian males to get level with them as prospective dates for Caucasian females. (The income advantages necessary for black males and hispanic males to be as attractive as whites in the eyes of white American females canvassed in the dating study cited were $154,000 and $77,000 respectively.)

Recently I've become fascinated by the way YouTube "thinks through" this perceived inequality (the relationship of race to what Professor Robert Sapolsky would call "sexual attractivity, proceptivity, and receptivity in female mammals"). Because YouTube is, apart from everything else, a way of thinking about things. It's not necessarily the way I think about things (it tends to be a specifically American take), but I find it sort of fascinating. Let's start with a slick, semi-professional spoof film on the topic, Yellow Fever:

The explanations for their dating problems the Chinese-American males in this film mull (that white guys are tall, have more body hair, have good bottoms, etc) are echoed in this video of interviews with Asian-American female students, filmed on the Berkeley campus:

Reasons cited by Asian females in this vid for why they prefer white males: to go up a class, because white guys are tall, because Asian girls want to experience new things, and because Asian guys are too shy, too short, too feminine, too metrosexual. What nobody says, naturally, is: "Because there's a racial hierarchy in America and I've been socialized to internalize its values, thereby attributing all sorts of attractiveness to secondary characteristics which could be arbitrarily shuffled and rearranged should the pecking order change."

Now here's a view from a black woman annoyed by all the attractive Asian females scraping the bottom of the barrel for "homeless-ass-looking white guys" when they could do much better:

She thinks it's all based on a tragic misunderstanding: "All the Asian guys I talk to say that they want white girls because Asian girls want white guys. But I don't think that's true, because a lot of Asian people say that Asian people are bitter because Asian men want white women. So I think there's a little miscommunication going on in that." All we need, then, is a mediator to step in (perhaps this woman herself) and explain the misunderstanding to both parties. She seems a little frank and direct to be an ideal mediator or diplomat, though; she tells us at the end of the vid that when she visits a bubble pearl tea cafe where lots of whites-who-think-they're-asians and asians-who-think-they're-whites hang out in couples, she's like: "Please choke on your tapioca balls, please die!"

There are lots of fairly unhelpful videos, like this white-girl-dating-Asian-guy who doesn't see the problem, or this British Asian (ie Indian subcontinental) guy who puts the imbalance down to racism, but doesn't look at the problem of why racism doesn't impact the white-male-with-Asian-female combination as much. The person who answers this best, I think, is this girl, who sounds East European:

She sees it as being to do not with race but with gender; men are socially less intelligent and flexible than women, and therefore men can't date so well outside their culture, and outside their comfort zones. Women can also be successful in dating without being active; they just have to wait for approaches and select from candidates. And cultural differences (like Asians' less touchy-feely personal space conventions) disadvantage Asian males. The young, she thinks, can overcome these things better than older generations.

YouTube's "way of thinking" about these problems is a "folk" way of thinking because, although it can range from crass stereotyping to citation of academic studies, it generally doesn't stretch to any theoretical models, and at a certain point those models are necessary. For instance, I think the issue we've looked at today can more or less entirely be explained by the fact that the US is a society transitioning between figure 12.3 and figure 12.2 above, but still closer to 12.3.

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