In summer 2015, I learned that the relationship I have been in for years is commonly characterized as a so-called ‘AMWF’ relationship online. On the very same day I found a big community consisting of blogs with Western females sharing their experiences with their East-Asian partners, boyfriends, husbands and their families. They turned out to live all around the world, in North America, Europe and even more turned out to be expats living in East Asia.

Many of them use the ‘AMWF’ tag to be found online easier by like-minded people. ‘AMWF’ is the short form for ‘Asian Male and a Western Female’ and is used to describe a love relationship consisting of – yes – an Asian guy and a Western girl. But what exactly does ‘AMWF’ describe?

google_search
What does Google say about “AMWF”? – “AMWF = relationship between Asian Male and Western Female”

My Korean Husband does not use it.  My Hong Kong Husband, Yamanashi Kei and Greece Meets Taiwan have already written about it. Many use it as a tag, so does Speaking of China, Marta lives in China as well as I too – just to name a few. They all use the tag ‘AMWF’ on their blog posts for many different reasons. They use it to make clear that their relationship consists of an Asian dude and a Western chick, try to make it easier for others to find like-minded people or try to promote interracial relationships and so get rid of untenable stereotypes.

A few girls writing blogs about their interracial/intercultural/international relationships put out a statement to try to justify their usage of the ‘AMWF’ label. Ever since I carefully read them, I learned why people like to use the tag – or do not, but I never found out how it could actually be defined as a term.

Ever since then I try to find out what ‘AMWF’ actually means. Aside from the acronym for ‘Asian Male and a Western (some might say White) Female’ I have been struggling with the term itself as it is lacking a comprehensive definition. I have been thinking about for which reasons a relationship could be labeled as ‘AMWF’.

Is it about looks? Is it enough that he looks East Asian?
Is it about culture? Does he have to practice or mainly live after an East Asian culture or philosophy?
Is it about origin? Does he have to be born in faraway East-Asia grow up there?
Do we have to speak different native languages?
Do we (the Western females) have to live their heritage with them (Asian males)?
Do we have to live in East Asia?
How ‘AMWF’ is a relationship when both grew up in the same country and more or less were raised with the same morals?
Do we just use it to make it easier for people to find us, a pair of different looking individuals?

To tell you the truth, I did not think much about when I started to use the tag. Some of the blogs

The girls of the blogs I follow date East Asian guys from different backgrounds. They got to know them in their home countries and live now there with them. Or they migrated to or were already born in a Western country (or South Africa) and grew up there. They experience their cultures with each other or not. Is the only thing they have in common their looks? Do black hair and dark brown teddy bear eyes qualify you to enter the ‘AMWF’ club?

What is ‘AMWF’ to you? What would you say makes a relationship ‘AMWF’? Is it about looks, culture or origin? I would love to hear your opinions so I can finally come up with a clear definition for myself.

 

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Further readings:
My Korean Husband – Why we don’t label ourselves AMWF
My Hong Kong Husband – AMWF的標籤 – the AMWF label
Yamanashi Kei – The AMWF label
Greece Meets Taiwan – The AMWF-tag
Xiananigans – Labels: The good, bad and ugly

Other blogs using the so-called ‘AMWF’ tag:
Speaking of China
Marta lives in China
Linda goes East
My Chinese boyfriend

If I missed you, please write me. I will gladly include you to my list.

The WMAF-Tag:
Crazy Chinese Family

What exactly does ‘AMWF’ mean? What exactly defines an ‘AMWF’ relationship? When becomes a relationship ‘AMWF’?

21 thoughts on “What exactly does ‘AMWF’ mean? What exactly defines an ‘AMWF’ relationship? When becomes a relationship ‘AMWF’?

  • May 8, 2016 at 20:43
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    This whole AMWF/ WMAF was completly unknown to me untill I started reading other blogs some years ago. Though it is so stupid to label something like a relationship in this way I still use the tag in my post for a few months now as it does attract new readers.
    I cant really say why people are so fixiated on relationships between partners from different cultural backgrounds. I never cared about it but reading more and more about it for the past years made me realize that there is a awful amount of stuff regarding this matter…

    Reply
    • May 9, 2016 at 10:22
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      I also just started to use it because it seemed that my blog would be easier to find by people who are looking for ‘this kind’ of relationship.
      Still I don’t really get why my relationship would be more special than others of people who look more similar? Are born and raised in the same environment? I don’t really get what makes a relationship “AMWF” other than looks.

      Reply
  • May 8, 2016 at 21:47
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    Hey Betty,
    Thanks for this article! I also have a mixed feeling about the AMWF tag and we do use it on our IG account and youtube channel. I think the tag was used originally because the AMWF combo was very rare, kind of like a unicorn. I’ve never heard of that term until my wife introduced me to it about 3 years ago. As you said, I found a huge online community of similar couples. It is very eye-opening and allows me to connect with a lot amazing couples all over the world. For me, love is love, disregard of color or gender. I am with my wife not because she’s white but because of who she is. If I really have to define her, she is probably more Asian than most of my Asian gfs! LOL. The tag just gives me the opportunity to connect with people and engage in some interesting discussions. It does not promote one type of relationship over another. If you do a search on Twitter, most of the tweets that are associated with the AMWF tag are porn. On YouTube, there’s a whole new business model targeting Asian males using the AMWF tag. Like everything else, there are always pros and cons. What matter the most is how you use it.

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    • May 9, 2016 at 20:18
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      It looks like now we all connect because of how we look. And it looks like many girls dating Asian guys had the hots for Asian stuff before anyway. I, for example, am also “more Asian” than him. So we should be more like an AMwaWWFwaA/AMWWFA (Asian Male who acts Western Western Female who acts Asian) couples?

      It is funny that we connect through a tag which refers to our looks instead of our personalities lol. #AMWF #crazychick #nerdyAsian

      Reply
    • May 18, 2016 at 3:09
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      Yes, indeed, the AMWF is a unicorn… Hey, have you been checking out my “Welcome” page?

      Reply
      • May 18, 2016 at 14:23
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        I did, I also wanted to cite you in this article but will do so in another one I’ve been working on for some time now. I am so slow lol, want to finally finish my thesis. 🙁

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  • May 9, 2016 at 13:43
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    Thank you for including me in your post 🙂 The reason why I use the AMWF tag is for the reason that it’s easier for people to find my blog and read up on it. Personally, Derek is sometimes more Westernized than I am at times! And I do certain things that are really Asian… in fact, everyone calls me an egg (white on the outside, and yellow on the inside). I use it to connect with some lovely people around the world and I have made a lot of friends due to it. I prefer not labeling myself as such, but it helps meet others like us 🙂 Like you and all the others who have commented.

    Reply
    • May 9, 2016 at 19:49
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      But what does “others like us” really mean?
      So when you say Derek does not act “Asian” at all, is it just about the looks?
      Do we make it easier for girls with “Yellow fever” to find us?
      Ahhh too many questions…

      Reply
  • May 9, 2016 at 17:32
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    I have to admit, I’ve been thinking about it lately because I saw some “AMWF” videos appearing on youtube. To be fair, having been in AMWF relationship for over nine years, I didn’t really think much about it as I’ve always seen it as a normal relationship. I certainly didn’t come across this term until a couple of years ago on social media.

    Betty, you questions you asked are all valid. I don’t think there is a hard and fast definition attached to this tag, but it’s just a loose term describing “our type” of relationships. Especially, when the world is getting more mixed, terms like these are getting more ambiguous.

    I want to put a questions you, and indeed everyone else, why do many people have the perception of “A” in AMWF being referred to as East Asians? Asia is such a large continent, it could be people of South Asia, Central Asia, Persian or Arab descendants. Technically, they are all Asians, right?

    Ever seen Genghis Khan established his empire, ranging from today’s China in the East and Caspian Sea in the west, AMWF or WMAF relationships probably flourished as a result. Indeed if you meet people from countries like Kazakhstan these days, they are likely to be a child of either AMWF or WMAF, or indeed being in such relationships.

    Reply
    • May 9, 2016 at 19:59
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      I have been struggling with how “our type” of relationship might be seen. It seems like our relationship can be put into a certain category because of our looks only. Because even though Mr. Panda was born in HK he already moved to Austria so many years ago. I can’t even sense anything “Hong Kong-ish” from him expect his weird taste in snacks (he loves dried fish).

      About the East Asian thing I have looked at other posts from couples from other than EA countries and could not find the tag. It looks like it is yet used by a small amount of bloggers which – how it looks so far – are all dating guys of EA origin.

      Reply
      • May 10, 2016 at 17:38
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        Haha, yes I guess this tag is really niche for the bloggosphere in this very specific context. But I was being pedantic about the actual “definition” as I would normally do 🙂

        Anyway, I think this tag is more related to the perceived look of couples. It does, as many people here say, hoping for looking to share similar cultural and life experience… After all who would eat dumplings with a fork except Panda and myself?! You know, when I go to parent’s home to have dinners, I would “secretly steal” a spoon from their kitchen to scoop out the last few bits of rice in my bowl!
        #VeryHongkongese #OddOneOut

        Reply
  • May 11, 2016 at 5:10
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    As everybody already mentioned, I wasn’t aware of the tag AMWF until I had been dating C. for 2 years (and had several other experiences with Asian men before). I had never thought of us being special, or strange or anything. Maybe because as I wrote once, I have met many AMWF couples in my life and never gave it much thought. But it seems in other places, or for other people, it is something uncommon, and many girls and women seem to search on the internet for support from other women in “similar” relationships. So a tag definitely helps them. I read somewhere that the tag was originally created in porn movies but honestly I have no idea about that and couldn’t care less, haha. If it helps people find us, and give it more visibility in places where it seems it’s still seen as “strange” or “wrong”, then it’s already doing something good.

    For me it would have to do more with cultural differences (so women looking for “why is my Chinese MIL so strange”, “why my husband has difficulties saying the L word”, etc). But it seems that as you said in many cases it is only referring to looks.

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    • May 16, 2016 at 15:17
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      Other than looks I think Mr.Panda is not not very “Asian” at all (lets let aside what that really means for now). And about the L word I think many guys have problems with that here too.
      If it was about cultural differences, it would mostly be because of my parents in law, and I would need a #WMAPIL (Western woman Asian parents in law) tag. 😀

      Reply
  • May 11, 2016 at 23:01
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    You raised some really good questions.

    I, too, learnt about this tag after I started dating Josh, when I came across Grace’s blog, Texan in Tokyo. At first, I was so confused, and I almost, but ALMOST, found it racist in some way. Then, I understood how it was actually used as a means of finding others who are the same.

    As for the definition, it’s really difficult to offer one. It could be only related to only one of those characteristics you listed, or it can incorporate them all, I think.

    Reply
    • May 16, 2016 at 15:41
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      I too found it questionable to use it at first, I only started with it after two months I think.
      It makes it easier for people to find a pair with people of certain races, and different culture or not, it once again comes down to the looks only. Sometimes I even think it makes it easier for people who are only into looks anyway. Like these types of girls: I took Chinese classes a few years after we started dating, and there were a lot of “I definitely will date Chinese guys only!”-girls in my class. D: So sometimes I feel like I make it easier for certain type of people to find me, although I don’t really want them to find me at all.

      Reply
  • May 12, 2016 at 3:10
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    My Chinese husband and I were married in 1967. For many years we were an AMWF couple and didn’t know it. Ha ha. I suppose it means whatever you want it to mean. It’s probably more useful to couples from different cultures.

    Reply
    • May 16, 2016 at 15:43
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      Then do you think couples who were born and raised in the same country should not use it? Like for example Asian American and Americans of European descent who were both born in the US? And who were raised in the same city or similar environment? :/

      Reply
  • May 18, 2016 at 3:18
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    Yeah, like everyone else, I discovered the term AMWF when I was online. I knew Andy and I were drastically outnumbered by WMAF couples, but I’d never been labeled as AMWF. Andy had never heard of it either, growing up in very mixed race Hawaii.

    I think of the label as a form of shorthand online, but I get My Korean Husband’s dislike of the label, especially since she’s Australian and he’s Korean — when they use AMWF, everyone assumes she’s American and he’s Chinese. I’d probably be annoyed if everyone got my nationality wrong, too.

    Or maybe not. Because of the rise of Donald Trump, the rest of the word assumes Americans are even stupider than they thought.

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    • May 18, 2016 at 14:35
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      I think because of our friends and my institute at the university, I am used to AMWF couples as there are running around a lot of them. But for me it was normal, because living in Austria it was easier to find an Austrian girlfriend than an Aisan one. 😀

      So tell me more about getting annoyed if someone got your nationality wrong? What can I say, coming from a small state many never ever heard of? How many times to I, dumb me, get corrected for pronouncing my home country’s name from, it’s AustrALia, and not Austria. I’ve been assumed to come from [insert any English speaking country] so far, like there are no other countries caucasian people can come from.
      And countless times he was complimented how AWESOME his English is he speaks with me, although we only speak German with each other, our “secret language” in HK. 😛

      Oh and don’t feel bad about trump, most of us here in Europe had tought bad about the US waaaay before… although I assume it might be the same the other way around? It is too funny to see how the TTIP negotiations are portrayed differently in US and EU media.

      Reply
  • May 24, 2016 at 16:38
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    Hi Betty! Thanks for including me on this list! Happy blogging! 🙂

    Reply
  • August 10, 2016 at 10:37
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    I gotta say, I’m with Marta. I didn’t know about AMWF until my boyfriend told me about it, actually. He was way more familiar with the phenomenon then I ever was. He always tells me to blog more about AMWF, but i kind of shrug my shoulders. I hope my blog can become more than just a solely AMWF blog (even though blogging about the differences is quite interesting!).

    On another random note, I hardly see AMWF in the United States but when I went to Vancouver, Canada they were EVERYWHERE! It was a very nice change. I didn’t feel so alone…!

    Reply

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