(NOTE: Read my 2014 update of this list)
March is women’s history month, and just last week, March 8 was international women’s day. As we remember the women who make a difference in our world, there’s one minority voice we shouldn’t forget — the Western women who love Chinese men.
China blogs are still a man’s world, so our voices are often lost in the comments and trackbacks. But Western women who love Chinese men have a unique perspective to a woman’s experience in China — which makes their blogs even more valuable in the blogsphere. Here’s my list, in alphabetical order (according to the blog’s name).
Aimee Barnes. She’s more known for thoughtful, probing interviews with China’s up-and-coming movers and shakers — but she once loved a man from Shandong (and, I hope, hasn’t given up writing about it). I’ve come to appreciate her voice even more after reading this post about how she went against expectations (she had a learning disability) to master Mandarin and succeed in college and graduate school.
American Family. An American woman with a Chinese husband, a hapa daughter, and an adopted daughter from China, living in the US — and blogging about it since 2003. While it’s not all Chinese culture, all the time, you have to love a woman who writes about things like learning how to cook good Chinese (for her husband, of course ;-)) and guanxi conundrums.
The Downtown Diner. Melanie Gao, who lives with her Chinese husband in Beijing, has no pretensions about her — and her blog is a homey, welcoming little slice of the China blogosphere. Some of her most interesting posts are about her children’s experiences in Chinese schools (trees can’t have green trunks?). She’s also my unofficial twin in the China blogosphere (we really do look alike). Thanks for keeping it real, Melanie.
Elise in Korea. Elise is a Canadian woman married to a Chinese man — who happens to live with him in Korea. Her blog is an eclectic kimchi sampler that reflects an interest in so many things East Asia. But don’t worry — Korea hasn’t taken the passion for China out of her, since she devoted a page to China, with some helpful links on learning Mandarin.
Foreigner in the Family. Elliot, an English woman with a Chinese husband, writes about her ‘ordinary’ Chinese family — with an extraordinary sense for character. Her thoughtfully written blog feels more like a novel about Chinese women, whose portraits come to life with each paragraph, such as this recent entry on Meimei. Keep up the outstanding writing, Elliot.
[Insert Suitably Snappy Title Here]. Kathmeista is a New Zealand woman living with her husband in Taiwan — with an appetite for the written word, so her blog focuses on great reads. She does, however, slide Taiwan into the stacks here and there, including this entry on a book about Taiwan. Of course, I’m so jealous that she’s got the Eslite bookstore (èª å“æ›¸åº—) right in her backyard.
Life Behind the Wall. The only blog here written by an African-American woman with a Chinese husband. Jo Gan is one extraordinary woman, and her writing provides insight into a life rarely chronicled in China. I love how she takes on the Chinese standard of beauty. You go, Jo!
The Local Dialect. Jessica is one unique yangxifu (æ´‹åª³å¦‡, foreign wife of a Chinese man, that is). She fell in love with and married a Chinese man who speaks no English. She also has two children, and is the primary breadwinner for her family, working as an English teacher at an international school. And, with no inlaws (her husband’s parents passed away), the couple has, until recently, had to care for the children themselves. I admire Jessica for her ability to balance work and family in China — and that she shares her experience with the world.
Looking for a Chinese Husband. One European Girl’s quest to find that Chinese leading man in her life — a journey that, as it turns out, is not so straightforward. She writes about meeting Chinese men who only want Chinese women, and even a sad one-night stand that she believed was something real. Let’s hope this blog has a happy ending!
Musing Mandarin. Marie Cardenas is a Southern California woman, living in Shanghai, with the love of her life — a Chinese man she calls Ken. While she doesn’t call attention to the uniqueness of her relationship, she offers a virtual scrapbook of observations, experiences and photos that capture her new life in Shanghai — including those small moments where something, such as using a cell phone while bicycling, might surprise you.
Plate of Wander. Ellis, you had me after this line in your About page: “she teaches college English, travels China, and eats enough food to feed two or three grown men.” You have to love a woman who is passionate about writing and travel, and never apologizes for her appetite. And while she has no Chinese beau, she’s written about the rarity of such relationships (and expressed an openness).
Shandongxifu. Ericka, who lives in Qingdao with her Shandong husband, is better known to us through her posts at the Lost Laowai blog — where she confidently reminded us that Laowai Girls Love Asian Boys. I share her passion for Jay Chou and, yes, Meteor Garden (quiet sigh). She’s just launched Shandongxifu (with, from the looks of the design, firecrackers, perhaps) and I look forward to some more explosive reading from her.
Tianjin Shannon. Shannon’s blog makes me feel red all over — wedding red, that is. She and her Hunan boyfriend just had a wedding ceremony in Hunan in February, and they’re getting ready to say “I do” in Thailand later this year. Even though I’ve long past the wedding stage, Shannon’s writing is like stepping into the bridal store in China all over again. So many of her experiences, such as whether or not to change her name, resonate with yangxifu everywhere.
Too real to be mythical. Juliet, an American woman, and David, a Chinese man, decided to start their blog to show the world that couples of Asian Men and White Women really do exist — hence the name. Their blog offers a friendly window in family, marriage and more, and, unlike the other blogs listed here, also includes David’s voice, such as in this post.
White Girl in a Chinese-American World. This is the voice for the Western women in relationships on the opposite side of the pond. She’s a blond Southerner, he’s a Chinese American, and they’re in love in America. Yet, not even this melting pot will always understand relationships like theirs, as she writes recently about misgivings from her grandmother. But she writes courageously about their love, and the cultural misunderstandings — and makes the blog a valuable read to the would-be couples in the Western hemisphere.
Wo Ai Ni. Rhiannon, an American woman who met and married her Chinese husband in the US, creates a whimsical collage of an intercultural family (see this recent trip to Florida) on her site. It’s a snapshot of daily family life — including two blonde-haired children from a previous marriage, and three young half-Chinese kids. In a way, Wo Ai Ni is the world I hope for — where having a Chinese husband, and children of different ethnic backgrounds, is a natural, everyday thing.
Do you know of other blogs by Western women who love Chinese men? I’d love to add them to this (hopefully growing) list of unique voices online.
UPDATES: Added in American Family. Added Musing Mandarin. Correction on Wo Ai Ni. Added in Too real to be mythical.