Yangxifu Pride: 5 Creative Women Who Should Be Honorary Yangxifu

Pearl Buck
Pearl S. Buck (from wikimedia.org)

Some of the best creative works about Chinese men and Western women in love came from Western women who never once had a Chinese husband. I’d like to salute five of these women, who in my opinion will always be honorary yangxifu (foreign wives of Chinese men).

Pearl S. Buck

Pearl Buck didn’t just make her mark in the literary world with her novels about life in China — she also was one of the first to write about love between Chinese men and Western women in East Wind: West Wind. Pearl married twice, both white American men, but some allege she was a secret lover of the famous Chinese poet Xu Chimo. Maybe her supposed affair inspired some of those on-the-page Chinese man-Western woman romances? Who knows, but she’ll always be the ultimate honorary yangxifu in my book.

Rachel DeWoskin
Rachel DeWoskin (photo by Anne Li)

Rachel DeWoskin

Rachel DeWoskin tied the knot with playwright Zayd Dohrn, but some of her heart still belongs to China. She dared to love Chinese men in real life and on a Chinese soap opera, as she shared in her book, Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China. She also wrote Repeat After Me, a beautiful novel about a surprising relationship between a Chinese dissident and an American woman. I’m looking forward to her upcoming screenplay (and secretly hoping she might squeeze in a little Chinese men-Western women romance). 😉

Kate Furnivall
Kate Furnivall (photo by KatieA3)

Kate Furnivall

Kate Furnivall is happily married to fellow British author Norman, who goes by the pen name Neville Steed. But her mother spent her childhood in Russia, China and India, and those experiences inspired her to pen two beloved novels, The Russian Concubine and the sequel The Girl from Junchow, which feature a love story between Lydia Ivanova and Chang An Lo.

Anna Sophie Loewenberg
Anna Sophie Loewenberg (photo from http://news.ucsc.edu)

Anna Sophie Loewenberg

As Su Fei, her hilarious alter ego, Anna Sophie Loewenberg explored the idea of a Jewish-American woman dating Chinese men of all stripes in Sexy Beijing, inspired by her own actual relationships in the past with the Sons of Han. Sure, Sexy Beijing feels a little campy at times, but you have to admit she made the idea of loving Chinese men look cool and kind of sexy too. Just last month, Anna Sophie married her Venezuelan sweetheart, but this fabulous filmmaker will always have a seat at the yangxifu table.

Nicole Mones

Nicole Mones
Nicole Mones (photo by Owen Carey)

If Nicole Mones even has a Chinese husband, Google won’t say, and neither will she (her bios normally state that she lives in Portland, Oregon with her family). But her two novels, Lost in Translation and The Last Chinese Chef, offer some of the most sumptuous and even sexy portrayals of romance in China between Chinese men and Western women — not to mention that they’re written with such intelligence and depth. You also have to admire a woman who entered China in 1977 and ended up running a textile business there for 18 years, smashing the unspoken rule that only men can be “China hands.”

What other artists/authors/filmmakers do you think deserve a shout out for sharing stories about Chinese men and Western women in love?

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9 Replies to “Yangxifu Pride: 5 Creative Women Who Should Be Honorary Yangxifu”

  1. What this list indicates is that although some women may talk the talk they will not walk the walk! With the exception of very few people many of whom are on these blogs, Asian Male-White Female couples are rare and white Americans have a very tough time believing that Asians are Christians..not withstanding the fact that there are loads of Chinese Christians in Singapore and Korean Christians in Korea and that 90% of the Philippines is Christian. A young lady moving to Singapore for the first time from Katy, Texas was stunned that there were many Chinese Christians in Singapre!

  2. @Jocelyn, I must agree that Pearl S.Buck deserves the ultimate honourary yangxifu title. But unfortunately I have only read one of her books , The Good Earth and I don’t think that was about AMWW. That too I read it when I was still in my early teen and can’t remember much anything of it now. I did enjoy DeWoskin’s Foreign Babes in Being and that was as a result of a serendipitous find. I was at this book-store and they offering this cute hardback, hidden in an obscure corner still in mint condition, for a steal and the title just caught my eyes too. So I grabbed it. I must admit that that book ultimately led me to your site! Anna Sophie Loewenberg’s videos were really fun to watch and I do admire her gung-ho spirit. Have not heard of Kate Furnivall though. Will look out for Lost In Translation. There is one other white woman who deserves more than a mention here too but off hand I can’t recall her name. She did marry a handsome Chinese man and that was when it was very rare and she had written a book about their relationship. I have not read the book and also can’t recall its name.

    @Jocelyn, your commentluv has not been working for some time now!

  3. This article was interesting to read..and I did enjoy it.

    The operative word in your article is “should be”…because almost none of them married Chinese.

    Please continue your excellent work…

  4. I’ve heard of the authors, and didn’t know the affair between the Chinese poet and Pearl Buck. I read her Good Earth Trilogy and there isn’t an AM/WF love in Good Earth, although in the last book, A House Divided, the grandson of Wang Lung, Wang Yuan, travels to America where he meets Mary and unfortunately for us, decides that white women aren’t worth it.

    I think I tried to read one of Mones’ books but couldn’t go through it. I’m not sure why. I hadn’t seen Sexy Beijing and unfortunately, DeWoskin’s female character in Repeat After Me ruined the whole book for me. I loved reading Kate Furnivall’s novels on the other hand.

    An author that should get mentioned is Jade Lee. Her mother is Chinese and her father an American, and she herself is married to an American, but in the Tigress series four books are white female and Chinese male.

    I could recommend a lot more authors who write of Japanese male and white female pairing or Korean male and white female pairing. Let me know if its okay 🙂

  5. My top three would definitely be in the following order:
    1. Pearl S. Buck should be included, I got into some of her writings as a kid.
    2. Ms. Lowenberg, I enjoyed watching her show Sexy Beijing.
    3. Rachael DeWoskin, read a teaser for Babes in Beijing, definitely want to explore more of her writing.

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