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Chen observed that Asian women have often spoken out about fetishization, while Asian men complain about being seen as undesirable.
Hella Chen says she is now, ironically, unable to pursue a relationship because she’s been so busy moderating Subtle Asian Dating.
While less commitment-focused and decidedly raunchier, SAD is perhaps best described as a virtual marriage market for millennials of the Asian diaspora.
But despite the apparent purpose of SAD to facilitate IRL courtship, the page more often seems to serve as an outlet for people to lightly roast their single friends.
There’s also a certain lingo that comes with the territory.
In October, a University of Washington student who goes by the pseudonym “Hella Chen” joined the megaviral Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits.
The group, which has garnered more than 1 million members and received a flurry of mainstream media coverage, is essentially an image board for memes that illustrate the subtle tics that come with living as an Asian in a Western society.
Alan Chen, an MIT student who also has a profile on the page, says SAD appeals to him as a space to date and discuss relationships unencumbered by the expectations set upon Asians in Western countries.
“A significant number of posts on Subtle Asian Traits were aimed at the difficulties that Asian people face when trying to date in Western societies and I think that Subtle Asian Dating is a direct response to that frustration,” he said.