“Asian males are just not viewed as being lovers, as being manly enough, or sexy enough, to carry a story or a commercial. The idea is that they’re not strong enough to woo a white woman. So they don’t get the roles” and are rarely paired with women of any race.
Ads featuring Caucasian males and Asian females play off a long history of such portrayals, says LeiLani Nishime, a professor and Asian studies scholar at the University of Washington. “I think part of the comfort with those images comes from the way they affirm a lot of stereotypes we already have about asexual Asian men and sexually available Asian women,” she says.
From a WaPo article on the stereotypical white-man-Asian-woman relationship in many ads (and TV shows… and operas (okay, one, but it’s a significant one!).
I spent an entire class talking about this today—how the West has tried its best to emasculate the East and portray it as some Exotic Feminine Other to complement its own strong, masculine identity.