What Is Asian Fishing? Why Is So Problematic?

What Is Asian Fishing Why Is So Problematic

East Asian culture has become more prominent in recent years in the eyes of westerners. East Asia has significantly impacted fashion, as evidenced by K-Pop, anime-inspired design, and bubble tea. What is asian fishing? A new makeup trend that aims to make one look ethnically ambiguous and nearly East Asian also emerged along with the rise of East Asian influence. People who attempt to pass for East Asians, primarily through photo manipulation and makeup, are referred to as “Asian fishing.” Given that it sounds similar to the term “blackfishing” and because it refers to all Asians when East Asian aesthetics are the only ones used in Asian fishing, the term “Asian fishing” has generated some controversy. Asian fishing, however, continues to be used to refer to this phenomenon because there is no other term for it. 

Asian Fishing: What Is It?

Asian-fishing refers to those who attempt to pass for east Asians. This is mostly visible through makeup or photo editing, where the eyes in particular are purposefully made to look slanted or as though they have monolids. Winged eyeliner is no longer acceptable, and Asian fashion trends are not being gate-kept; rather, non-east Asians are purposefully changing how they look for personal aesthetic reasons.

East Asian cultural appropriation in the West is not new. For many centuries, desirable aspects of east-Asian culture were appropriated and distorted into Western works of art, clothing, and architecture by movements like Japonisme and Chinoiserie. The irony of it is that many people who admired this condensed, repackaged representation of Asian aesthetics continued to denigrate the Orient and uphold the notion that the incredibly diverse Asian cultures can be reduced to a single, homogenized aesthetic.

Element That Makes Asian Fishing Problematic

The Source Of Asian Fishing Problematic

Asian women have a perverted definition of beauty thanks to their patriarchal culture. Asian women are seen as submissive, young, thin, and pale, and they appear to be simple targets for manipulation in that mindset. The male gaze completely shapes this beauty standard. 

It has long been a problem for Asian women, who are working very hard to change the norm. After all, the beauty standard is flawed in and of itself.

When not Asian individuals try to mimic the “aesthetic”, they are automatically fitting themselves into this beauty standard without understanding the trauma behind it. 

Asian fishing is never just about the costumes, makeup, or eyeshadow. By adhering to the beauty standard that patriarchy created, you can alter your natural facial features. The system of which it is a part, therefore, emphasizes financial gain while fostering Asian fetishization. Without considering the effects, they act in this manner. 

What Is Asian Fishing Why Is So Problematic
What Is Asian Fishing? Why Is So Problematic?

Fetishization & Sexualization

Truth be told, Asian women have historically been oversexualized by society. In Ricey Talk, an Asian woman described her own experience as:

“I generated about 100 likes in just under two hours after joining Hinge, which took me only ten minutes. Men frequently complemented my appearance, from my dark straight hair to my dark brown slanted eyes, in my private messages. The gift was unusual in some way.  Being Caucasian has always been regarded as desirable by those who have a deeply ingrained colonial mentality, among whom I grew up. I was thrilled when I realized that what I was born into was being celebrated.

But I soon had a horrifying epiphany. These honeyed words gradually became clear to be a façade of their repulsive fetishizations of Asian women. Then I experience a fear I never imagined I would.” 

Asian communities have experienced a great deal of trauma as a result of the fetishization of Asian women. When non-Asians upload pictures of “sexy Asian anime girls” to Instagram, they are promoting the fetishization of Asian women by engaging in “Asian Fishing.” Asian women will experience the effects, but not them.

Profiting Without Suffering From The Bad Results

It is impossible to ignore the history of misogyny and sexualized violence that has long been a part of Asian American women’s experiences, claims CBS News. Unusually many (64.8%) of incidents reported to Women reported the incidents to Stop AAPI Hate, and in many of them, the victims described being subjected to both sexual harassment and racism at the same time, demonstrating how COVID-19 is being used as a weapon in sexual harassment.” 

In the tragic Atlanta Spa Shooting that occurred not long ago, 8 Asian women were brutally murdered by the shooters. As per the New York Times: “The shooter admitted to the police that he suffered from a “sexual addiction” and that he committed the crimes at the massage parlors in order to quell his “temptation.” 

The lives of Asian women are in danger because of the fetishization and sexualization of Asian women. Stop supporting the fetishization of Asian women by Asian fishing!

Asian Women Have Long Struggled Against This Very Image

This line of thinking is dangerous because it is evident in Asian-fishing, where the most stereotypical features that have been the target of taunts and bullying for east Asians are primarily recreated by white people. While it is simple to think that these aesthetic movements were simply symbols of racism from centuries past, This particular type of cultural appropriation is particularly risky because many people who engage in Asian-fishing adopt a negative persona.

These individuals behave in a manner that is perceived to be distinctly Asian, which is clearly the submissive, kawaii stereotype while donning highly sexualized, infantilizing clothing. Some of the worst examples involve white influencers who pose for their OnlyFans content while wearing an “Asian” face and schoolgirl-like garb. Asian women have long battled against this very stereotype that those who claim to appreciate their culture perpetuate, despite the fact that it is obvious that they do.


With the fox eye trend in 2020, Asian fishing on social media gained popularity. The fox eye trend emphasizes lengthening the eye and elongating up and out toward the temples to make one’s eyes look thinner and more slanted upwards. The cosmetic appearance is similar to the natural eyes seen in East and occasionally Southeast Asia. The fox eye trend was just one more instance of how Eurocentric mainstream culture selectively chooses ethnic features and pushes them as desirable, but only on white people. This trend became even more troubling as more people started pulling their eyes upward in photos to give off a more prominent fox eye appearance. 

While Asian fishing is still a major issue online, the fox eye trend has largely disappeared in recent months. On Instagram, people frequently blur their faces to the point where it is impossible to tell if they are Asian and base their entire online persona on Japanese or Korean aesthetics. Participating in trends from other nations is never a bad thing, but warping your own features to fit those trends is. When challenged on this, many people have reacted angrily, claiming that they are merely appreciating Asian culture. It’s never a good reaction to immediately go on the defensive. And the best way to understand Asian culture is to listen to Asian people rather than trying to imitate them.