In 2009, when I first began blogging about my interracial relationship – and how it wasn’t so common in China – I wasn’t aware of any acronyms to describe it.
Then I discovered AMWF, AMXF and WWAM. Nowadays, these acronyms have become powerful connectors and tags that have given rise to new communities.
That of course, leads to new questions. Such as, what’s the right one to use? And should we even bother with all the labels?
AMWF (Asian Male, White Female) relationships
I’m not exactly sure when I learned about AMWF, which most people refer to as Asian Male, White Female. But what I do know is this — AMWF is probably one of the most popular acronyms out there to describe the very relationship I have with Jun. He’s an Asian man, I’m a White woman.
So it’s not surprising, then, that many people have blogged about AMWF relationships.
One of the most popular was penned a few years ago by Grace of Texan in Tokyo, who wrote about the good, bad and ugly of our relationships. Blogger Anna Reco has shared many love stories of AMWF couples, including this one advising other couples they’ll need patience, understanding and the will to go on. Meanwhile, Laura, who blogs with me at WWAM BAM, penned a post about the influence of race in our relationships, and Autumn at When West Dates East even devotes an entire tag to whether couples like us “can survive the parents”.
Now, on this blog, I’ve diverged a bit when interpreting AMWF relationships as being “Asian Male, Western Female.” That’s because the perspective can be a little different over here in Asia. I’ve developed a camaraderie with many women from Western countries around the world dating and/or married to Asian men. That includes women who are not White and also women who are Asian themselves but born and raised in a Western country (like my friend Michelle Guo, who is Chinese American and married to a man from China). For us, it’s issues of culture that often come to the forefront of our relationships.
But if AMWF relationships doesn’t work for you, here’s another option:
AMXF (Asian Male, Non-Asian Female) relationships
Enter AMXF, which stands for Asian Male, Non-Asian Female, and describes a wider range of women in interracial relationships with Asian men – including Black women, Latinx women and White women. While the acronym appears less often in internet searches, you can find it in a number of online spaces — from discussions in Reddit groups (on the idea of being woke in these relationships to reasons why there are fewer of these couples) to forum posts to hashtags on Instagram to even Youtube videos like this.
WWAM (Western Women, Asian Men) relationships
So, just when you thought we couldn’t possibly stir up the alphabet soup of acronyms to describe our relationships, here’s another: WWAM (Western Women, Asian Men) relationships.
The term WWAM first emerged a few years ago when it became attached to the name of a virtual community in China, uniting women from Western countries who happened to have Chinese boyfriends or husbands. The community grew and so did people’s identification with the label (some even calling themselves WWAMs).
Later, the term WWAM inspired the name of our group blog WWAM BAM (Western Women, Asian Men – Breaking All Molds).
As I mentioned above, we gravitate toward the term “Western women” because cultural differences often loom large in our relationships.
Is it AMWF relationships? Or AMXF relationships? Or WWAM relationships? And does it matter?
But now that we have three acronyms in play, is it better to say AMWF relationships or AMXF relationships or WWAM relationships? What should you use?
I personally feel it depends on your perspective and what feels most comfortable (and descriptive) to you. There’s not necessarily one right answer.
But then again, does it even matter? Should we care about labels – or identify with them?
Not everyone wants to categorize their relationship with an acronym like AMWF. After all, just because your relationship looks similar to others, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a lot in common.
If you’d rather ditch the labels and find your community elsewhere, then I say more power to you. Nobody has to wave an AMWF or AMXF or WWAM flag in their lives, even if they happen to be in a relationship like that.
However, I’ve embraced AMWF and AMXF and WWAM for a very simple reason – because they allowed me to connect with other people who share many of the same experiences I’ve had. Whether that’s cultural differences in how people show their love or meeting the parents or even handling negative comments about our relationships. Some of my closest friends have come from the community. We meet up, chat, support each other in difficulty and even blog together.
Knowing them doesn’t mean I don’t have other “tribes” as well, circles of people who share other interests of mine (like reading books or hiking in the woods).
But when I think back to my first steps into China — a time before the rise of social media, blogs and even video calling — I remember feeling so isolated as the foreign girlfriend of a Chinese man. I couldn’t even share it with my foreign coworkers (who actually said some openly racist things about Chinese men around the dinner table).
After years of that, finding the community was a revelation, the most universal and comforting of all. Finally, I wasn’t alone.
What do you think? Do you prefer AMWF relationships or WWAM relationships? And does it even matter?