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.
In fact, the most recent figures from 2.4 million users of Facebook dating apps showed a clear skew in preference for women of East Asian descent by men of all racial groups, except, ironically, Asian men.
As a Chinese, single woman in the UK - where I have rarely come across racism – my East Asian friends and I have encountered a fair share of men with telltale signs of yellow fever.
But even at Stanford Business School, Ting feels that presumptions still linger, on a name: “I really regret not using my English name 'Jacqueline' here”, she reveals.
“I would have had so much more social equity to start with”.
Yet this portrayal epitomises what many see as a narrow perception of East Asian (defined as Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc) women.
Elsewhere, in an open letter to the culture minister earlier this year, actors from The British East Asian Artists (BEA) criticised the BBC and other outlets for their cultural stereotyping of East Asians on TV and stage – describing the female parts as “passive and submissive”.
“And let’s not forget Hollywood’s global influence”, says Dr Sandy To, who specialises in gender studies at Hong Kong University.She notes the sexy Geishas, femme fatales and Kung Fu fighting seductresses in place of what she calls “ethnically neutral roles”.In the BBC’s official response to BEA’s letter, it stated its commitments to diversity (in a rather patronising, verbose manner). But Asian women are understandably in a rush to change the status quo.Professor Miri Song, who specialises in ethnic identity at the University of Kent, suggests that the parodying of Chinese people is seen as more “socially acceptable” in part because East Asians are not seen as truly disadvantaged, or merit the same protection status as other ethnic minorities.She points to how British Chinese do well academically and professionally.“I like to joke that San Francisco is the epicentre of the yellow fever phenomenon”, says Debbie, who describes a general awareness of being looked at by men because she’s Chinese.