The AMWF Label

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The other day, I read a post on the My Korean Husband blog that got me thinking. The post is called Why We Don’t Label Ourselves AMWF and it really struck me. With the way the meaning behind words is hotly debated in social media online, it’s really made me think about what the AMWF label really means. Read what Nichola and Hugh think about this label. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Did you read it? If you didn’t, in a very limited summary, they don’t label themselves AMWF for a few reasons:

  • “white” and “Asian” are blanket terms encompassing very diverse cultures, and these terms don’t represent them or their relationship
  • the blog represents two unique people and they don’t fit under a general tag
  • the use of AMWF invokes a fetish or a sense of oddity in a relationship that they don’t view as strange or fetish

What’s the big deal about AMWF?

Honestly, I’d never thought that being in an international relationship was an unusual thing until I moved from a big city on the west coast to a rural area in the middle of the country. When I was in an international relationship in an international city, no one thought twice. Now that I’m in an international relationship in a primarily white town, it’s been brought to my attention. So, I naturally used the internet to find other people in international relationships.

When I started reading blogs about intercultural relationships, I naturally focused on American, Australian, and British women involved with Japanese, Chinese, and Korean men because, well, it was a similar situation to mine. I was looking for cultural similarities and I found that this tag AMWF allowed me to search for similar blogs quickly and then I could sort from among those. It also brings up a lot of AV sites on search engines, which I thought was kind of weird (there’s the fetish part, I guess). Is it unusual to be in an AMWF relationship? It seems to be fairly rare when considering the number of relationships. But, the good news is that it seems to become less rare as time goes on.

Once I decided to start my own blog, I didn’t label my posts AMWF right away, but I eventually started doing it because I thought it would be easier for people searching for specifically that kind of information to find it. I follow blogs for many international couples, including non-white females with non-Asian males, white males with Asian females, and other types of couples. I also have friends of many different nationalities in relationships of many types. I even have a friend who is in what she readily terms an AMBF relationship. I really never thought about these types of tags as much more than trying to quickly find people with whom you can identify.

Of course, when I am thinking about topics related to my own relationship, I tend to relate to the stereotypical AMWF relationships: American, Australian, and British women involved with Japanese, Chinese, and Korean men. I can see how a label can give the impression of forcing people and relationships into narrow categories and alienates others. This was never what I intended when using the tag, as I am not the type to alienate anyone based on such petty labels. Conversely, labels can also be seen as a useful way of identifying something at a first glance. That’s how I choose to view this label when I use it on my own blog.

So what is my next step? My blog is a newbie and not a lot of people visit it on a regular basis, so I don’t think I will remove the tag because it is something to help people who are interested in reading find my blog. (Yes, I’m labeling this post AMWF ^^) However, Nichola and Hughs’ words have really made me think about the impression that it gives off. I’m pretty sure that’s what their intent was in writing that post, so well done!

What do you think about labeling relationships as AMWF, AMBF, or any other acronym? After reading Nichola and Hughs’ opinions, does it change your opinion on the subject?

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13 thoughts on “The AMWF Label

  1. At first, I found it racist. Then, I thought it was a good thing because it helps me find people I can relate to easier. Honestly, I think I’ve only googled it once, since after I have found one such blogger I then jumped from one blog to another (yeah, I sometimes read other comments too) and so I’ve discovered others and others, without the help of google. And then, it was WordPress who suggested what blogs to follow. So, yay for the tag-partially.

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  2. Reading your post and the original one it really made me stop and think, since I myself am in an international relationship with a Korean guy. I never heard of this label AMWF since recently after I started my blog when I was looking for other blogs like mine. I never wrote nor tagged my posts with this label. My intention when we started the blog was simply to share my experience that connected two different cultures and what we are going through, in hope that people like us will be interested in sharing their experience or just stop by and get to know something new about our cultures since we write about them a lot. I find your points of view very interesting and I enjoy reading your blog!

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  3. I never heard of AMWF until I started blogging 🙂

    For example I don’t tag any post with WMAF or whatever the term is. Just too many creeps out there searching for those terms And once googled it in the beginning of my blogging i just ended up on some fetish and dating sites :p

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  4. I agree with you. Tags are only something that helps you find what you are looking for and I think this “debate” is overthinking things that really are not a big deal.
    Of course every couple is different and no one fits under a general tag, then what are you going to do, tag your posts as “jane and mark” or whatever your names are? Then don’t use any tag and that’s it…

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    • My opinion has not been changed in the slightest. To me AMWF is just a blogging tag that helps me find other couples in a similar situation and them find me. When I first started WordPress I discovered it on someone’s blog and found it really handy for that purpose. I am not even fully white, I am half Asian. But who cares, I just want to read about other couples with interesting cultural differences like ours and this amazing tag has led me to many blogs where I can do just that.

      I encountered this kind of overthinking a lot in the States, and I find it tiring and silly. It’s all about the meaning you attach to things yourself, labels, names, and categories are designed to organize, that’s all. It’s not a bug deal. Don’t waste time overthinking or energy getting offended. I am pregnant and recently googled ‘breast milk’, you can find lots of weird or fetish things when you do that, but that doesn’t mean I am now no longer labeling my baby’s food breast milk.

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      • I definitely think it’s a useful tag! It’s how I found your blog 🙂 In a country where many cultures are represented like the US (and maybe Australia?), people tend to overthink what kind of words and labels they use. I think it’s important to be aware of what kind of terms you use, but also important not to be overly sensitive. I really like the breast milk example, thanks for that!

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    • Exactly! That’s the whole point of tags. Especially to find something that you are interested in easily, without having to do too much searching. I thought it was an interesting perspective and I respect their opinion, but sometimes it’s hard not to be general!

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