I’ve only seen pro-Asian posts like „This gal’s looking for a VIET boy“ or „she needs a tall OPPA,“ never any explicitly white-excluding descriptions…sadly. On the other hand, the countless number of “Pinay looking for white husband” groups on Facebook are still left untouched despite the inappropriateness of some of the comments and contents posted on these groups. After the group’s removal on Monday, administrators issued strongly-worded statements through SAD’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts calling for its reinstatement, and moved quickly to launch a backup group .
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While the admins intended for the hypes to form meaningful relationships, students said the virality and amusing premise often convince people to write them for their own amusement. On a September evening this year, a twenty-one-year-old radiology student in Melbourne, Australia, named Angela Kang and her younger brother were once again cracking jokes about their Asian upbringing. Not that it hadn’t been comfortable—Angela and her brother had all the piano lessons, tutoring, and private-school education that their parents, who worked multiple jobs and had started multiple businesses, could provide. Not that it hadn’t been inspiring—when Angela’s parents immigrated to Australia, at nineteen and twenty-two, they were so poor that they slept on mattresses made out of milk crates. The Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits has become a happy home to memes that center on the experience of being a second-generation Asian living in a predominantly English-speaking culture. This isn’t a “Subtle Asian” page, but it is an amazing resource for Asian creatives.
Members post the best photos and list their friends’ most impressive traits – some are studying at an Ivy League to become doctors, others have traveled to over 100 countries. Chapter has grown into a community of over two thousand members. Similar to the parent page, the group provides a space for Asian creatives to connect and collaborate. Recently, the group has hosted a variety of in person meetups including talent showcases, photoshoots and even work sessions.
The company is examining why SAD’s administrators were not given the opportunity to appeal the group’s removal
The strawberry cake layered with fresh cream is every bit as good as she remembers. This mode of communication may be preferential for some, but it remains to be seen if the online medium is a help or a hindrance when it comes to romantic relationships. For every failure there can be successes, such as Yang’s new friend. And there are others like him who post about their success stories to celebrate the fact that they met in the most unlikely of places. Since these interactions take place on social media, they are subject to the very same problems the platforms perpetuate – namely, our craving for instant gratification.
Hella recruited some friends and formed an unofficial offshoot called Subtle Asian Dating, or SAD, in November. It began as a 10-person group but started attracting thousands of followers within the first few weeks, mostly due to the newfound demand for groups that have “Subtle Asian” in the title. When a meme promoting the group gained traction in Subtle Asian Traits, users flocked to it in droves. By Wednesday, it had more than 310,000 members, primarily from the U.S., Canada, and Australia, according to an informal public poll.
The group has over 1.9 million members and has been featured in a variety of mainstream news sources for its insights into the Asian diaspora. Subtle asian dating was created November 2018, just two months after the birth of subtle asian traits. Currently at around 561,948 members, the group encourages others to form healthy relationships, according to its About page. For most members, Subtle Asian Traits is just a meme group, a place to brighten a Facebook newsfeed with short and silly posts; but, for others, it’s a springboard for in-real-life friendships and new understandings. Law said the admins view the hypes as a viable way to foster meaningful relationships. Its community guidelines require members to follow a structured template and require only the subject’s Instagram handles on the post, all aimed to minimize “clout-chasing” and nudge people to, well, shoot their shot.
Tbf, there is a fair amount of anti-white comments on that page though. The admins have instituted strict guidelines around harassment and hate speech, and they now approve every post before it goes up. They’ve also been trying to promote more potato positivity with pride days for people who don’t fit the general aesthetic of the page. Even more perturbing is the harassment and ad hominem attacks that bubble up at times in comment sections.
Less than two months after they began talking online, the pair’s first disagreement forced them to confront how they felt about each other. When Poon worried Ly might be questioning the viability of a long-distance relationship, she “panicked” and booked the next available flight to Vegas to see Ly. This year, she is permitted to crack the eggs into the baking bowl. Ah ma performs her magic, spinning raw ingredients into pretty confectionary.
Hella decided that she wanted to form a group focused on dating after seeing that the topic was generating a lot of comments on Subtle Asian Traits, to the point of overpowering other conversations. She also thought that, unlike Subtle Asian Traits, this dating page could be a way for people to actually meet in real life. Both said the Facebook group served initially as respite for those who don’t live in a large queer community. But Ly caught Poon’s attention when she introduced herself in the group in hopes of making friends. When 27-year-old Michael Dulay, who lived an hour away, found the post and messaged Ly on Instagram, the two started chatting platonically. But after a series of virtual Netflix hangouts and, eventually, Covid-cautious outdoor dates, an unexpected romance blossomed.
On the other side of the world in Australia, 27-year-old Bradley Prasad and 24-year-old Ranika Nath might have never run into each other despite living 15 minutes apart in Sydney. But Subtle Curry Dating brought them together one day in early 2020 as Prasad scrolled through Facebook on his way to work. She had auctioned off her friend on Subtle Curry Dating, but Mridha found himself wondering about the woman who made the post instead. “Not to be like Joe from ‘You,’” he said, but he knew he wanted to meet her.
Pathik Gandhi, 30, was living in Chicago when he reached out to Iowa City-based Destinee Soubannarath Gwee, 28, after seeing her auctioned in the group. The two were hesitant to meet up during 2020, before Covid vaccines became available, but hourslong FaceTime dates convinced them it was worth preparing for a visit. Others argue that Subtle Asian Traits memes perpetuate negative stereotypes about Asians, particularly those of tiger parenting and Asians as a model minority. However, it is suggested that the use of stereotypes in memes helps to provide a sense of commonality and community among Asians. “I firmly believe that when you clap back, bullies will stop, whereas if you’re passive and let it slide, they’ll keep stepping on you,” says Lieu.
This approach is working, as the stream of hateful comments has slowed down — but not completely stopped. Subtle Asian Traits , a 2-million-strong Facebook group, one of the largest Link online Asian communities, and the antecedent of other ‘Subtle Asian-’ niches. Simply key ‘subtle Asian’ in Instagram’s search bar for an inkling of the phrase’s prevalence.
Yet because the platform — and its related spinoff groups — includes hundreds of thousands of users from anywhere in the world, distance can also make it more difficult to form connections. That was a hurdle for 29-year-old Vy Ly and 27-year-old Patricia Poon, who lived 1,200 miles apart when they met on Subtle Queer Asian Dating+, a spinoff group of SAD. Living in a predominantly white area, Soubannarath Gwee said dating apps didn’t present a wide selection of Asian matches. But the global reach of Subtle Asian Dating enabled her to find Gandhi.