“It’s not about the size” – Breaking out of the Asian male stereotype

By Kai Teo

I eat rice, know kung fu and have a small penis

We’ve all heard this shit before. The mysterious East Asian man. He lives on rice and noodles, is really good in mathematics and engineering, and has a really small penis. But don’t piss him off, because he’d destroy you with his rib-shattering kung fu punch.

Hollywood has somehow been responsible for this widespread misconception of East Asian men. Koreans, Japanese, Chinese or Thai men never really made it as the hero, aside from Bruce Lee. Everyone else is thrown in as a clownish sidekick, a physically unattractive genius scientist, or a mysterious grandmaster like Mr Miyagi. 

I don’t know where the small penis idea came from though. Japanese porn? I mean, how many East Asian penises have you seen, compared these to penises of people from other ethnic origins, and actually made the conclusion yourself? As a straight male, I haven’t seen many other penises to make the comparison. And no one has ever burst out laughing when I took off my pants, well, at least not yet.

But in a recent Facebook video by SVT Edit, a Swedish inhabitant of East Asian origins, Patrik, spoke out against how this stereotype has affected his personal life.

Erm… what the fuck?

First of all, Patrik, my Asian brother, you have shit friends. Yes. Friends who would consider someone’s ethnicity as a basis of whether to fuck them or not? They’re shit friends. 

Secondly, just because you didn’t get a single match on Tinder doesn’t entitle you to blame the entire female population for being racist. Maybe you’re just not attractive to them? Maybe you chose the wrong profile pictures? Maybe you didn’t write an interesting enough self description? 

I agree that Western media has portrayed East Asian men unfairly. But do you really want to sleep with people who don’t think critically and are so easily swayed by the media? I mean, it’s Hollywood, for fuck’s sake. People who base their outlook of life on “Twilight” and “Spiderman”? Trust me Patrik, stay away from them. 

And what’s with the obsession over proving to others that you don’t have a small penis? If you’ve never doubted yourself, why would you let some internet idiots fuck your mind over? Google “small penises” and you’ll quickly realise that you’re normal. But ok, so what if East Asian penises are really smaller than our white male counterparts? Does it make us less “manly”? Well my brother, if your definition of manhood is proportional to your penis size, you might want to reevaluate your measurements. 

Please think that I'm as cool as Bruce Lee.

Please think that I'm as cool as Bruce Lee.

All racists are stupid

Stereotypes exist across all ethnicities, nationalities, and even subcultures. I’m sure you know a few “general traits” of Swedish people, or the shitty things people say about the hipsters in Malmö. Many of them are based loosely on a single bad experience, and just as many of them are completely made up. 

A large proportion of young people these days recognise that stereotypes are merely stereotypes. It’s when we, the stereotyped people, subscribe to them, that it becomes reinforced. If I really knew kung fu and walked around with a straw hat and long whiskers, I’d be that walking cliché of the East Asian man. But I’m not. 

In this day and age, any racist is a stupid person. Someone who judges another person’s character, beliefs, or even sexual abilities, based on ethnicity, is ignorant. Even with the amount of information that exists on the internet, if someone’s still a racist, they might be rather difficult to convince.

Since living in Sweden for five years, I’ve also been a subject to a fair share of racist and homophobic remarks. I’ve walked past idiots who’d jump into a Bruce Lee fighting stance and say “Kung fu, you!”. I’ve been tapped on the shoulder at a supermarket and asked by a woman if I played the flute, before she went into a trance and did her impression of a Native American dance. To be honest, looking at the pictures below, I'm not sure if I can blame anyone for mistaking me for Pocahontas.


I wasn’t affected, nor felt at all insulted. These ignorant people were merely displaying their stupidity in public, and I honestly felt sorry for them. Did I blame the society for perpetuating the idea of an East Asian, or in some cases, the Native American, when I encountered these assholes? No. These are individuals responsible for their own actions, and I’m sure many would not approve of their racist remarks. They were the victims of stupidity, my life is fine.

Breaking the stereotype

We are not our ethnic stereotypes. We might be smarter than white people, but that doesn’t mean we’re good at ping pong. I do eat a lot of rice at home, but what I eat doesn’t give me special fighting skills. There are East Asian men who have large penises, and East Asian men with tiny ones. There are Chinese people who are good at math, and I’m sure there are many who are absolutely shit at it. 

All the friends I’ve found in Sweden never saw me as only “the Asian guy”. To them, I’ve always been just me. I never felt that there was anything wrong when they would describe who I was to their parents – “the Asian guy with long hair”. Quick and accurate description. Nothing insulting. Because I know I’m more than just a stereotype, and I’m not afraid to show everyone why.

Of course, living in a city with mostly white people and Arabs, my unique, constant craving for jasmine rice and spicy noodles makes me feel more Asian than ever. But I’m embracing every bit of it. Because of me, many of my friends have today, made rice a regular part of their diet. And because of me, many of them have come to understand Singapore as a country, and the good parts of the Chinese culture, including filial piety, table etiquette, and the beauty of Mandarin.   

Dear brothers, sisters, and everyone in between and outside of the spectrum, let’s not fall victims to the people who choose to use stereotypes to judge us, or even belittle us. Let them say what they want, but it is our unique individualities, our vast differences and similarities, and our beauty as human beings, that would one day change the minds of racists and bigots. 

So Patrik, don’t blame the women on Tinder, go find better friends.

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