Collage of three single woman enjoying themselves

Why should I date you when I’m already awesome?

More Asian people are embracing the single life

Words by Vandana Pawa

It’s no secret that Asian parents want their children to get married. This pressure has been a part of the collective experience of people with Asian parents globally, and therefore the search for a romantic relationship has permeated the core of our being, from books to movies and beyond. Recently however, there appears to be a trend online of Asian and Asian American people rejecting romance in new (and often cheeky) ways. From creators encouraging solo dates to taking your best friend on dates, the tide is changing when it comes to single-ness.

@christy_ix This is your sign to book that pottery class on @Eventbrite⭐️ #chicagothingstodo #chicagodatenightideas #eventbritepartner ♬ original sound - Christy Lee

Dating has taken an interesting turn in the last few years. According to Forbes Health, more people are prioritizing mental health and their own happiness, rather than dating or finding a partner. Stacey Diane Arañez Litam, Ph.D., a clinical counselor and sexologist, told Forbes that “the current state of dating in America is trending toward dating yourself first.” In this same study, nearly 36 percent of respondents to a survey said they were not actively dating at all.

Even when dates are happening, the standards are high (as they should be!) One creator documented her feelings after a first date, sharing how the man she had just met was not in competition with other men, but rather with herself. “I’m fun, I know how to do everything for myself. What is going to make you special enough for me to want to share my life with you,” she asked in her video. Viewers in the comments sounded off in agreement, sharing similar attitudes towards dating and singleness.

@denimchromosome also hilarious that the govt thinks just throwing money at pregnant ppl is gonna fix the problem instead of addressing the cutthroat lvls of competition, insane housing prices, misogyny, and the worst gender gap in OCED 😌 #fypシ #korea #4b ♬ original sound - jeanie 🍉

This trend doesn’t exist solely on TikTok, or even just on the Internet. Since 2019, a movement called “4B” or “Four No’s” has emerged in South Korea as a response to patriarchal pressures, gender-based violence, and widespread misogyny in Korean culture. The movement’s name refers to four Korean words that its’ members have chosen to renounce, in respect to men: bihon (marriage), bichulsan (childbirth), biyeonae (dating), and bisekseu (sex). In the five years since this movement technically began, South Korea has set a record for lowest fertility rate in the world, with childbirth numbers continuing to plummet. Marriage numbers for the country also hit record lows in 2022, with the rate of couples getting married decreasing by more than 40 percent since 2012. One TikTok creator spoke to this trend, and declared herself a big fan of the movement. “Korean women literally just gave up on their men,” she says.

No matter your reason for taking a step back from the dating scene or embracing the joys of singleness, It’s clear that many Asians and Asian Americans are on the same page—it’s time to start dating yourself.

Published on April 2, 2024

Words by Vandana Pawa

Vandana Pawa is a Bangkok-born, Brooklyn-based culture and fashion writer. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @vandanaiscool.