AYI, one of the largest online dating applications on Facebook, decided to do some research to determine if race is taken into consideration while online dating. They analyzed over 2.4 million interactions in the US to determine the likelihood a user would respond to a message based on race.
The results showed that Asian women are the most preferred by all male users with the exception of one group: Asian men. According to the data, Asian men are most likely to respond to Hispanic women and Asian women are most likely to respond to Caucasian men.
USA Today found that another online dating site, OkCupid, had users who generally dated within their own race, but only because of preconceived notions.
“It’s not that people’s levels of prejudice are changing,” says Sociologist Kevin Lewis. “People are avoiding others from a different racial background because they think those other people won’t be interested.”
This suggestion is supported by The Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences. They report that although people tend to date within their own race, everyone is more likely to reciprocate to interracial exchanges rather than initiate interracial exchanges.
“Our own behavior can, in fact, impact the prejudices of others, even if it is a short-term effect,” Lewis said. “It says some degree of the biases we display are based on a false premise.”
By acknowledging that prejudices hinder or encourage dating a particular race, Lewis has hit an even larger issue. If data from AYI reports that Asian women are the most sought after on their site, why is that so?
Time and time again, Asian women are told that they are lucky because “all races of men like Asian women.” Upon further inspection, we discover that this “compliment” may be laced with negatives. The public responses to Jezebel may have the unfortunate reason behind the popularity of Asian women.
So is the popularity of Asian Women in the online dating world based on a stereotype? Are Asian women sought after simply because of the belief that they will be submissive partners and good house keepers?
While we know Asian women have much more substance than these stereotypes, it turns out that this popularity in the online world may not be something to boast about after all.
This story was originally published in November 2013.