I wanted to express my frustration regarding the recent editorial “Balancing Act,” (The Sais Observer, Vol. 17, Issue 6), in which Teal Mingledorff reported on the gender imbalance at HNC and outlined some of the possible causes and implications of this interesting trend. While I appreciated the sociocultural approach in hypothesizing the roots of this problem as a step towards a future rebalance, I thought the suggestion that “yellow fever” is a contributing factor to HNC’s gender imbalance was unsupported and disrespectful.
In an article with many statistics and graphs, the “yellow fever” explanation had only anecdotal reports by the author and a male student. There was no data to substantiate racial preferences in the hetero- normative dating scene at HNC. Furthermore, and this may very well be a result of printing, page 3’s figure “HNC Student Body Breakdown (Fall 2014)” combined the International Male and Female segments into a single color such that they match the size of the Chinese Female segment, whose color was distinct from Chinese Males.
There was scant definition of “yellow fever”: race fetishization and Asiaphilia are recognized phenomena, but defining the pejorative “yellow fever” as simply “the sexualization of Asians” is tenuous. (Are all Asians becoming “sexualized”? Is this an active or passive trend? How is this sexualization happening?
Finally, the implication that “yellow fever” is an influential factor in either gender’s decision to pursue or avoid a degree (and presumably eventual career) from a prestigious international institution is disrespectful. It is insulting to suggest that International females choose to avoid the opportunities offered at HNC (even though there exist more than enough matching roommates) because they perceive their demand in the hetero-normative dating scene to be negatively affected by the large percentage of Chinese females and their effect on International males.
For the aforementioned reasons, I believe this theory marginalizes both genders’ motivations for pursuing a graduate degree and is too anecdotal for an above-the-fold article.