The Mixmyth Defined

Baby Tall is doing well. She's seven months old, and now that she's been out and about a bit, we've confirmed our worries about something I'll call the 'Mix Myth'. That is, people in Hong Kong generally assume that any child who's a product of one Caucasian and one Chinese parent will grow up to be devastatingly attractive. No matter how grotesque her parents' appearances might be -- and I note I'm speaking entirely for myself, and not on behalf of Mrs Tall, who is growing more heart-stoppingly stunning every day -- a 'mixed' baby is expected to be catwalk-ready in about 15 years or so.

I've heard that this phenomenon is common in some other places, too, but I wonder if it is expressed quite as baldly as it is here. People come up to the Family Tall, and with no hesitation begin discussing the merits of Baby Tall's personal appearance right in front of Mrs Tall and me. So far, I can report the prognosis has generally been favorable, but this isn't necessarily a positive development.

For one thing, it means Baby Tall attracts an inordinate amount of attention. Mom and Dad can handle their irritation with this, but it can't be good for any small child to be fawned over too much.

Next, it creates unrealistic expectations. What if Baby Tall turns out to be just ordinary-looking, which is entirely possible, given her father's lack of photogenic features?

And what happens as she learns to think of herself primarily in terms of her physical appearance, which is already a big enough problem for most of us?

As Baby Tall develops, I'm sure my thoughts on this issue will too, so more later.


Such a beauty

Well actually, this myth exist everywhere. When I was pregnant and I was looking for some pictures on internet about mix people just to have an idea of how my baby was going to be, I've seen a website about mix people, it was very well-done with full scientific datas and so on... maybe with a quick search you'll find it too.

I'm not sorry that people find my baby to be such a beauty (she's even suppose to be the next Miss Hong Kong sometime...), I even like it. I don't think that it's going to be a problem, I'll just have to educate her and let her understand that appearence isn't everything. But anyway, I've come to understand that it is rarely the perfect beauty that attract the most, but the one who is charismatic and friendly.

And if she doesn't come out to be a beauty after all, I'm sure that people will just stop tell her that she is.

Beauty or science experiment?

My husband and I started getting comments about how beautiful our children would be even before we had children (he is caucasian and I am asian american). I agree that I think it is all over the world, but I tend to agree with Mr. Tall, it is a question of genes.

But since we have had our daughter, it isn't just a question of how beautiful she currently is or how beautiful she will become, which I think, is already dangerous enough, but a question of does she look more asian or white? And we get that everywhere! Sometimes, I feel like I have given birth to a science experiment, yes the mix has given this or that, but to me she is just our daughter, a unique little girl.

I especially do not want her to grow up feeling like it is better to look white or asian, I almost feel a certain pressure to give her a sibling so she will not be the only one in the family to be mixed! But I am sure also that not only will my thoughts evolve on this issue, but also how to address them to my daughter>

I see where you are coming from

As a British born chinese female, who is actually completely Chinese but for some bizarre twist of fate looks mixed, and has a white boyfriend, I get this 'beauty' comment all the time (about children we may have). It irritates the hell out of me - mixing Chinese and English may give you a lovley warm complexion, but perfect features? The looks of Maggie Q? No not necessarily. As you quite honestly say, two not-attractive people of different races will not spontaneously create a thing of beauty, like some weird scientific breeding experiment.

I have seen, in all fairness, some beautiful mixed race children and adults and some rather odd looking ones. Just being honest! Yet I am sure they all get the "beauty" comment because it seems like an exotic mix to most, and the inevitable - "its thanks to the Chinese/White genes he/she is attractive."

Chinese people are searingly blunt. It doesn't surprise me that people will discuss your children's appearance in front of you although it is extremely rude. And as you said, it doesn't seem healthy to me for a child's appearance to be the focus of people's attention at such a young age...I'll be interested hearing about how you deal with these things in the future!

Mixed Race Children

"It doesn't surprise me that people will discuss your children's (mixed-race) appearance in front of you although it is extremely rude." I think it is a compliment.
It can't be rude if they don't know that you would consider it rude. It is customary for friends and relatives, especially in their 40s and older, to praise that your kids resemble you or your spouse in appearance. I is partly patronizing partly they have nothing more intelligent to say about your kids. Or else they could say " -- sorry, I think they don't look like you!"
Your offsprings will grow up looking like either one of you, or a mixed of you both. It is 99% genetic and 1% environmental, plus or minus a few degree.
I think it is a very good mixed - English and Chinese, and I am not racist. I haven't seen an ungly child born of a mixed-race parents. Congradulation!

I think it's common

I think it's common everywhere in Asia, with the growing number of Expats in almost every country and major city, and (assumption here) a growing number of inter-racial marriages.  No matter where I take my 3 yr old I get an inordinate amount of attention, not just in Malaysia where we live, but in Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.  

In predominantly Chinese areas we get obviously appaling looks from the Chinese Auntie's in regards to our mixed marriage.  But they still have to walk by, pinch his cheeks, and tell him how handsome he is (in Chinese or English), without a single word spoken to us.

We were asked to bring him in for casting before he was even born.  He was selected as the 'Dumex' kid here, Magazine covers, Newspaper ads, TV ads, Billboards, the whole works.  Apparently (we were told) he earned at least X3 what a local eurasian might demand, by the mother of the 'back-up' baby.

Fortunately although mixed looking kids are sought after here, there isn't actually a lot of work for kids, especially toddlers.  I agreed to it originally because I thought my wife was a bit bored.  But now if it were to continue, I also often wonder unrealistic expectations being set early on.