Asian Fetishization from Current Media


The fetishization of East Asians grows as Asian media progresses into western entertainment. The popularity of Korean media and culture such as Kpop and K-Dramas in the recent decade has also come with cultural appropriation. 


Fetishization is the act of making someone or a group of people an object of sexual desire based on their identity. The fetishization of East Asians is harmful as it could reinforce harmful stereotypes. The fetishization of Asian cultures glosses over the negative aspects of some countries. Its romanticization can be harmful and erase problems since people choose to cherry-pick only the parts they like from a culture.


“Yellow fever”, the fetishization of Asian culture, could be seen for example in the TikTok comments of Korean people where you might often see people compare Koreans to idols. It’s not only limited to Koreans but other Asians, this is erasing diversity among Asians and is generalizing.


Julia Cheng’s article, “Stop fetishizing East and Southeast Asians” on the rise of Asian culture and media, “The rising popularity of anime and K-Pop in the West harbors a culture of fetishization. Engaging in media from other parts of the world is great, but it can go too far when one becomes obsessed with these cultures. Different Japanese and Korean honorifics are used poorly by people who aren’t of those ethnicities, and some have even sexualized honorifics. In the K-Pop world, Asian men are commonly fetishized and, just like Asian women, are dehumanized because they fit a certain look or aesthetic.”


This behavior reduces an entire group of people to a false narrative and reinforces stereotypes.  As Asian culture becomes more and more popular,  there is severe backlash.