Nationalism and Girls who Date Foreigners

by on 週二, 24 四月 2012 評論

In Taiwan I've often heard the word Xicanmei (西餐妹) bandied about —— Xicanmei literally means girls who like to eat Western food, but here it is used to mean Asian girls who date Western men—— but the term always made struck me as over-emphasizing the difference between Taiwanese people (us) and Western foreigners (them). The fact that it refers almost exclusively to women suggests also that there is a male chauvinist implication behind the term - it functions to undermine the individuality and independence of women in the choices they make in their love lives, and sees these choices instead in terms of a failure to be patriotic and marry 'into the tribe' so to speak. The term was popularized when a Taiwanese rapper wrote a song about it, the lyrics of which are anti-Western in sentiment and very critical of girls who date with foreigners. This is an extract from the song originally in Taiwanese:

'When they're not listening to ICRT [Taiwan's English Radio Station] they're looking for girls, they go round bars with a Heineken in their hand

The stuff they talk about is vulgar and shallow, they're all talking about Dog-G's new album.

One of my friends is dating a big-nose [Taiwanese word for foreigner] She says he's a gentleman and very romantic

She thinks maybe she can get a green card and have a little foreign baby, she's at the night market buying oyster omelettes

You say that some are actually alright, I understand, they'll toss you a "ni hao" and you think it's so cute, give me a break!' (Dog-G)

 

Below is an interview with several women and one man who express their views on the use of this term, and its ideological implications:

(Remember to press CC in the bottom right corner for English Subs)

For readers in Mainland China you can watch the video by clicking this link

Illustration by C. Phiv

 

Conor Stuart (蕭辰宇)

Born in Belfast. Just finished his Master from the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature at National Taiwan University (NTU). Currently lives and works in Taipei. 

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