Are Asian Women the new trophy wives? Marie Clare takes a look:
Call it the Woody Allen Effect. When the venerable director scandalously left Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter, South Korean-born Soon-Yi Previn—35 years his junior—he may as well have sent out a press release: Asian-girl fantasy trumps that of Hollywood royalty!
Not two years after they tied the knot, media baron Rupert Murdoch walked down the aisle with fresh-faced Wendi Deng—17 days after finalizing his divorce from his second wife. Then, CBS head Leslie Moonves wed TV news anchor Julie Chen; Oscar winner Nicolas Cage married half-his-age third wife Alice Kim; billionaire George Soros coupled up with violinist Jennifer Chun; and producer Brian Grazer courted concert pianist Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen. Add the nuptials of investment magnate Bruce Wasserstein to fourth wife Angela Chao and the pending vows between venture capitalist Vivi Nevo and Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang, and we’ve got a curious cultural ripple.
How many cinematic greats, literary best sellers, or even cell-phone ads characterize Asian women as something other than geishas, ninjas, or dragon ladies? “This is a common experience among Asian-American women,” says Bich Minh Nguyen, who broaches the stereotypes in her latest novel, Short Girls. “They’re dating a white guy, and they may not know if it’s a fetish thing.”
Consider that, stateside, Mandarin classes have spiked 200 percent over the past five years and China has claimed status as the world’s top export nation. In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell theorizes that Asian kids’ intrinsic work ethic makes them outsmart American kids in math. It’s as though these Western men are hungry for a piece of that mystical Eastern formula. As such, Asians are hot commodities right about now.
Could it be that power divorcees of a certain ilk make the perfect renegade suitors for these overachieving Asian good girls – an ultimate attempt at rebellion? Maybe these outsized, world-class moguls are stand-ins for emotionally repressed Asian dads. Or are these women just glorified opportunists? What’s so perverse is that while Asians have always revered their elders, sleeping with a guy old enough to be your grandfather is just creepy – in any culture.