Aowen Jin, a 36-year-old British Chinese artist, thinks that cultural differences, such as the inability “to say no”, are often misconstrued by westerners as agreeableness, or even misinterpreted by western men as a sign of romantic interest.
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Furthermore, stereotypes around timidness, not being outspoken or politically active also mean people can make such comments with no backlash, she says.
Certainly, the idea of the “passive” Chinese is a well-known, but an increasingly misguided view – particularly given the meteoric rise of China and its achievements in women’s education.
Elizabeth Chan, a British Chinese actress, says acting has offered an insight into how society sees Chinese women, calling parts on offer to her “massively stereotypical”.
"It’s rare to see a Chinese character written that is ‘normal’ or ‘well rounded’," says Chan, naming a set of typical roles that include: hard-working businesswoman; exotic, gentle flower; illegal immigrant selling DVDs or turning to prostitution (someone once actually yelled “selling DVDs? In the book The Asian Mystique (2005) the author Sheridan Prasso traced the “exoticism” of East Asian women as far back as Marco Polo’s travels along the Silk Road in the 1200s, in the literature and art it inspired.
No, not the disease you can pick up when travelling to certain countries.
I'm talking about when Caucasian men develop an acute sexual preference for East Asian women – even becoming a fetish, for some.
One acquaintance told me in wonderment that Chinese women are great in the bedroom – as if I wasn't one – to being casually asked if I’d be interested in a guy “who has been with Chinese girls and likes it”.
I’ve been left puzzled by the insensitivity, and the lack of awareness that such comments may cause offence.
But while some gendered biases exist in all interracial dating, few have gained as much notoriety as so-called yellow fever.
In parts of the US, such a notion has become so pervasive that last year, Debbie Lum, an American filmmaker of Chinese descent, sought to capture the madness in her documentary “Seeking Asian Female”.
She notes the sexy Geishas, femme fatales and Kung Fu fighting seductresses in place of what she calls “ethnically neutral roles”.