Ask the Yangxifu: Will Chinese Men Date Taller, Heavier Women?

Chinese husband and I beside Lake Michigan
Will Chinese men date women who are taller and heavier than them?

Big and beautiful asks:

I’m an European woman. Because of my job, I’ll be staying in China for 2 years. I’m already studying Mandarin, but I’ve never had a Chinese friend or boyfriend. I’m curious about Chinese men’s opinion of women who are taller and larger than them. Is there a lot of discrimination? Is their ideal woman short and skinny? Where I live, most men don’t like dating a woman who’s bigger than them, but it’s not completely taboo.


When I walk the streets of China, I don’t see a lot of couples like John and I. That’s not just because I’m a Western woman and he’s a Chinese man. I’m also three inches taller than him, and many pounds heavier — a combination you rarely see even with Chinese-Chinese couples.

It’s no secret that Chinese women are under a lot of pressure to be thin:

…eating disorders, particularly bulimia nervosa (binge eating followed by purging), are increasing in prevalence in China at an alarming rate, especially among girls from higher income families aged 12 to 22 (Chen and Jackson, 2007). A revealing human interest story featured on the All-China Women’s Federation website about two American-born Chinese (ABC) girls studying in Beijing, highlights their difficulties adjusting to cultural differences in regard to both weight and skin tone. The article notes that whereas both girls wore small sizes in the United States, in China they are considered “fat” (and are readily told so by both friends and casual acquaintances) and can only fit into large sizes (Martin, 2007).

I’m sure these societal expectations factor into why I almost never see a Chinese man with his arms around a woman larger than he is.

As for height, I think Chinese men are no different than men the world over — that they might feel like “less of a man” if she’s taller. My Chinese husband claims he doesn’t mind I have a three-inch leg up on him, but that hasn’t stopped him from joking with me that there’s a “ban” on high heels in our family (which really isn’t a “ban” because I stopped buying heels years ago, deciding that fashion wasn’t worth foot pain). All joking aside, if I ever changed my mind and suggested wearing some stilettos, you can bet he’d put his own foot down. His acceptance of our height difference still demands that we go no further beyond what nature gave us.

When a Chinese man dates a woman who is taller and heavier than they are, they’re definitely going against the grain of society, and dating expectations. But you could say the same about when a Chinese man dates a Western woman. I’ve never done a study on this, but I’m willing to bet there’s some overlap here — that the unconventional Chinese men will also be more open to dating bigger women.

Even so, don’t be surprised if these Chinese men happen have a no-high-heel rule. 😉

P.S.: You might also find Jo Kelly-Bai’s relationship very inspiring, as I do.

What do you think?


Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture (or Western culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.

21 Replies to “Ask the Yangxifu: Will Chinese Men Date Taller, Heavier Women?”

  1. It depends on the personality and I dont mind if I am date a woman like she said. But probably some men feel stressful if they date a taller woman.

  2. No, not SOME men feel stressed about dating a taller woman. MAJORITY of men feel like that. And this is an issue which is less likely to be overcome than any other difference – cultural, religious or financial…
    Of course, there are exceptions (like with anything else), but they will always be like that – exceptions.
    Recently I wrote a post about the height difference as the major reason for the rarity of Asian Men/White Women couples ( )
    Paradoxically enough, accepting such point of view can be helpful in restoring the pride of Asian males when it comes to inter-cultural dating.

  3. I think height couples are rare in general not just in Chinese couples. Anyway I think at the end of the day people in a couple should be able to get over the height differences if they are able to get over the cultural differences and also if they love each other. As for the weight difference, I don’t think that will be a problem at all. If you have a good personality a guy will like you.

  4. As Crystal said, there are always exceptions. Since I can remember I have always had overweight, and I dated a chinese guy who was my same height but thiner. I worried about the fact of being heavier than him, but he didn’t seem to care about it, and the times I asked he made jokes telling me he liked my curves and my meaty body, haha.
    It depends, I think, on how open minded they are and what values they appreciate from you.

  5. I think it is only natural that most men prefer their women to be shorter and lighter than them and vice versa. Except perhaps for some societies where men find women who are well endowed and I mean chubby, attractive. Still, at the end of the day, an attractive personality and good heart surely play an important part in any relationship. Of course, there will be this initial or innate reluctance for any guy, let alone a Chinese guy, to want to date someone who is taller and heavier than himself. But affairs of the heart are a strange thing, and magic does happen. So, there is nothing to say that someone won’t find you attractive just because you are taller and heavier. Take heart and go ahead!

  6. I think you had a good point. If the Chinese man is open minded enough to entertain dating a foreign woman than his idea of beauty is not going to fall in to the society’s norm.

  7. The height factor is a global issue among men, however, like others said, there are exceptions. I’ve met couples where the woman was almost half a foot taller than the man. Though if I have to guess, most couples with taller female partners tend to be only a few inches apart, at the most. Some Chinese men (from China not just ethnic Chinese) might be ok if a woman is an inch or two, maybe three, taller. Unless the woman likes to wear high level shoes constantly. It depends on the guy.

    The weight issue might be a little more accepting than height. There are quite a lot of men out there, in every society, who do like the heavier set figure (to various degrees). You all just have to find them or be more aware of men who are interested.

  8. …and then there are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ,Penny Lancaster and Rod Stewart,Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman,Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupree,Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy…

  9. If the guy is a maverick/unconventional, height is not going to be a problem. If the guy dates western women, he probably won’t mind dating taller women.

  10. why can’t you find Big chinese guys? lol as i said eariler, big /good looking guys, are taken, by pretty, hot and tall chinese chicks, its funny, once you go China’s dating news, info section, lot people put their height right after education and age section, by what i can see that, here in China, in Cities, big /tall guys like taller/good looking girls, some big guys like samll but cute girls, thats why, shorter guys tend to have more problem for dating, however unless shrot guys are very smart and sccussful, then they could have tall/good looking runway material girls, i think its just human natures, in every country and secitey, not just Chinese, we aren’t that short, since our guys are good at Basketball in world wild stages been over 80 years, i just don’t get why so many white women have trouble to find phycially matched Chinese men, there are tons and tons of them, so have to end up finding smaller /but nice guys in China?? anyways, the Yangxifu and her husband is just exception.

  11. I’m only 5’5 and weigh about 120lbs but sometimes I still feel too tall and fat for a lot of Chinese men and find myself wishing I was a petite 155cm and 40kg…but I think since falling in love with an awesome Chinese guy I’m a lot more comfortable with my body. I do get a little embarassed when I’m sitting next to one of these skinny guys on the subway and it’s obvious my thigh is like double the size of his. LOL. Or when I’m in a fitting room and find I can’t even zip a Chinese L size dress up because my ribcage and bust is just too large. It’s frustrating. 🙁

    If you insist on solely dating men who are taller than you, then just like any nation there are actually quite a lot of guys in China who are well above the 6′ mark. What about finding a Chinese basketball player?? Okay, I’m kidding. But hey, some of them are like almost 8ft tall! 😀

    My boyfriend is a little skinnier than me but I’m thankful that he doesn’t mind that I’m taller than him in heels. A moment that was particularly meaningful was one morning while weighing myself on the bathroom scales & to my great displeasure found that I had gained weight. The bf comes in and with a cheeky grin *tactfully* tells me I have a big butt. But after a moment of silent contemplation he simply says: ‘Honey, even if one day you weigh 100kg, I will eat hard and become 200kg, so I can always lift you’.

    I might just hold him to his word 🙂

  12. I guess it’s okay for my wife to be a little bit taller than me and heavier than me if the pounds and curves are at the right places. It’s sexy to look at women with high heels but they mess up your toes though. It’s okay for a woman to be heavier. I’ve help my wife to lose 30 to 35 lbs and maintained the wieght loss for 4 yrs. It’s a lifetime commitment. Don’t think about a yr or two. Your diet and constant exercise are the two ingredients to success. . Anyway, DON’T GIVE UP on changing your body!

  13. Maybe I can add few words here.

    I have dated an American girl for a month, ya, a bit short. She’s actually a bit big in terms of the body, but it’s actually fine. We once discussed about this, and she said it;s okay as I am taller than her. ( She said size doesn’t matter too much, but the height is a real concern for her, she couldn’t allow her boyfriend to be shorter than her).

    I am few inches taller than her (same height when she’s on high heel) , but I guess around 2x – 30 kg lighter than her. In the beginning I was a bit worried, as I am not sure how others will “Look” at us, but you know what, the more I have spent time with her, I dont have that feeling anymore. It becomes natural!

    Sad that it didn’t work out, but Height, weight are factors that matter to a certain extent depending on the particular persons. The rulers for everyone is different. Anyway, we should at least try, because if you dont try, there is no hope.

    OH and for me? Tall girls are pretty! I love those tall western girls, so if I really see one? why not? but I feel more nervous when approaching them, need to work harder, but then, if you dare to approach them, maybe they will think that you are absolutely confident, western girls love that!)

  14. Can’t speak for other Chinese guys, but I like girls with some meat on the bones with curves. Something to hold on to. 🙂

    I find the skinny and anorexic supermodel look unattractive.

  15. I love my woman to be voluptuous. I don’t like my woman to be too skinny. I’m 6’1 already and I don’t really mind if my wife is 6’2″ with high heel. It’s the personality, caring and loyality that I’m attracted to. I have a female hispanic client just ask me if I know some nice male friends who are caring, family oriented with values to introduce to her. I told her that I’ll keep in mind about hooking her up. All my brothers and I are married and it’s sooo damn tough to find quality people out there. You have millions of people but finding someone who matches your personality is hard. I mean she had a bf 11 yrs ago but that guy was not the “TOTAL PACKAGE” at all.

  16. Don’t want to sound pessimist, but height does matter. While most men will not reject taller women outright, they’ll give priority to shorter one.

  17. Height matters a lot.
    And in very strange ways as well. Im a 5’2 Asian male (Indian) – and Ive had 5’4-6’0 white women wanting to be my girlfriend. I know Im not imagining this from the strength of the signals I received.

    But unfortunately, I can’t do it. I can’t be the odd person couple that all other guys stare at. I can’t take the stress of thinking I would be disrespected in front of my girlfriend by other guys hitting on them in front of me, I can’t be the dominant person in our relationship if I was shorter than her, and don’t know how to be the non-dominant person.

    I dont think of myself as very shallow – but when I say can’t…**I MEAN CANT** – the fear and confusion etc etc is too great.

    Its a pity – I will be alone my whole life, despite having some hot chicks coming after me.

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