How do I get over feeling inferior to my Girlfriend’s White Ex’s?


levikaibentlee asks:

I am Asian and my girlfriend is Caucasian. I do not know what it is, and she has never said anything of the sort ,but I feel like I can never live up to the white standards of beauty/intelligence/way of living etc. I guess you could say that I find white men intimidating which adds to my low confidence. Her previous ex’s were blonde, blue eyed, tall.

Demetrius says:

This question is short but it is deep. I’m either going to get people nodding along in agreement or a bunch of angry responses about how there isn’t a White/European standard of beauty, it’s all in this guy’s head, etc. Let’s be really real with each other here: There is a standard of beauty in Western Culture and that standard of beauty is European. You can disagree, and if you do, I’d love for you to name 10 people of African descent, male or female, who you consider beautiful. Now, how many of those people are dark-skinned? Let’s make it harder: You can’t include Lupita Nyong’o or Idris Elba. Pretty tough huh? I’m sure your list includes Rihanna, Beyonce, Halle Berry, for the ladies and maybe even Jesse Williams, Michael Ealy, or Drake for the men, and a few other light-skinned people of African descent. Let’s take it a step further. We could get into the prevalence of East Asian blepharoplasty (colloquially known as “Double Eyelid Surgery”) in East Asia,and how actors like Donnie Yen, *allegedly* get the surgery to appeal to Western audiences (His biggest hit movies have come after the surgery after the surgery was purported to have happened, which I’m SURE is just a coincidence). A cursory google search of “beautiful Latina” turns up this list and others like it, which are suspiciously void of dark-skinned Latinas with the exception of Zoe Saldana, or Rosario Dawson, who aren’t traditionally considered very dark skinned. A cursory search of “beautiful Indian women” is usually topped by some very light-skinned Indian women. There is a standard of beauty in the Western world, and pretty much anywhere that engaged with the traditional Colonial powers in any way, and for the most part, that standard is European. This isn’t up for debate in the slightest, so don’t try me. We can talk about why these standards exist, but for the people who are going to refute them: Nah, hard pass.

I’m also saying this from a position of personal experience. I’m not shy to say that my mother is Black, or tell people that I’m half black, as I’ve probably done quite a few times on this blog. That said, I have a very light skin tone and I’ve been told point-blank by women I’ve dated that they’d never date a black man. Considering that most people in Western Culture use the one-drop rule to stratify someone’s racial identity, whether they realize it or not, I’m considered a black man. Sort of like how no one refers to Barack Obama as our first Half-Black President, they refer to him as our first BLACK President, even though his mother is a white woman. That’s a whole other topic for a whole other day though. Anyway, I’ve had multiple women tell me that they don’t date black men while dating me, which is both audacious as hell and the highest form of cognitive dissonance I ever have to deal with. While it was unspoken it was clear what they were saying: You look closer to the European ideal of beauty with your light skintone and a nose that isn’t broad so you’re okay to date.

With that said, just because Western society at large venerates a European ideal of beauty, that doesn’t mean that all people do on the individual level. The women I mentioned above who wouldn’t date a black man but would date me have been, in my experience, the minority. I think that in your case, your feelings are the issue here, and nothing beyond that. You’re worried about something your girlfriend has never professed to believing in. It’s entirely possible that your girlfriend’s ex’s all share a similar type because they were the most suitable romantic candidates at the time, and she dated them based on that, not because of their blonde haired, blue-eyed, tall white guy looks. If she’s dating you, you can probably assume that she’s attracted to you, and that should be enough to assuage your fears. I can’t give you some foolproof way to make you feel adequate in comparison to her ex’s, you’ll just have to learn to accept that she’s dating you because she’s into you. Unless she’s specifically exoticized you in some way, like professing to having “Yellow Fever” or always wanting to date an Asian Man, just assume that your beauty, intelligence, and way of living are something she’s attracted to on a fairly deep level. Proceed from there, and drop the doubts.

Society might tell you, whether directly or not, that you aren’t good enough as your white male peers, but whether or not you believe it is up to you. If you’re finding yourself intimidated by white men, keep this in mind: you have no reason to be intimidated. You’re not inferior, just different. Different is neither good or bad, it’s just different. You’re just as good as any white guy out there, you just look a bit different and have a different cultural background. If you’re worried about comparing to her ex’s, remind yourself that they are her ex’s and you’re her current boyfriend. You’re in a position to date her and they aren’t which means, in my eyes, that they should be intimidated of you. Clearly she thinks you’re pretty cool, so maybe just trust her judgement?

Good Luck Out There.

4 thoughts on “How do I get over feeling inferior to my Girlfriend’s White Ex’s?

    • I think that we all, whether consciously or not, have these ideals to a certain extent. Even I struggled to name darker skinned women who society would consider beautiful and part of that is what you’re exposed to. If all the depictions of powerful dark-skinned women that you come across are of these women as either savage or utterly alien and removed from the world (i.e. Grace Jones or Danai Gurira on The Walking Dead) you wouldn’t associate people with darker skin tones as beautiful demure women.

      Liked by 1 person

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