Hello everyone :) Sorry for the typos in punctuation and grammar in this post; I just needed to get this off my chest as soon as possible, and will edit this properly as soon as I can.
I am currently living in Taipei, Taiwan, and I am attending a hot yoga studio run by a white American male and his Chinese wife. My concern is that the studio fosters a social atmosphere that unknowingly re-creates white privilege at the cost of dividing the Chinese student population along gender lines. Putting aside this social ignorance, I otherwise belief the studio is an effective business and school, and I desire to continue attending it for health reasons.
Here is my concern: at the studio, the owner, overall a friendly and efficient guy, tries to have conversation with customers at the front desk as they leave class each time. More specifically, although he does this with everyone, including me, he does this more with women under a certain age. Early into my enrolment at the studio, I overheard him casually saying to one young woman: my, you're looking beautiful today, before asking her how she enjoyed the class, the studio, etc. Such behaviour strikes me as flirtatious, especially since he is already married. Also, i saw a racial dimension, as he is a white male and the women he speaks to are mostly Asian, his wife is chinese. There are a few other Chinese men and men of colour attending the studio, and they are typically not as integrated into the studio's community.
i was rude to him the last time i entered the studio, because as i was leaving, he was having a conversation with a young woman that had nothing to do with yoga: where she lived, how far away it was from the studio, etc. i clearly interrupted his conversation, and asked him a question in English (something administrative i was about to ask anyway and didn't have anything to do with this particular situation). Even though it wasn't directly concerned with me, it was a situation I'd encountered numerous times before: a white male chatting with an asian female with increasingly personal overtones that had nothing to do with the situation. Furthermore, this conversation was entirely in English which I felt was a willing ignorance of the local language and customs -- problematic because he is the studio owner.
He didn't get the unwritten message, however, and continued having his conversation even after I left the desk. Therefore, i'm torn between frustration that he didn't get the message that repeated conversations with young women as a married man is flirtatious and improper, that what he was doing had racial overtones, and between my own concern over being rude to the owner -- I had no good intentions in mind, and was offended by his behaviour.
i believe the studio is overall fostering an atmosphere where white people from Euro-America may gather together and re-create the sentiments and attitudes of their home countries, which i consider problematic *only* because they reproduce the racial and gender discrimination of their home countries as well. Coming from the united states myself, I see this kind of subtle Westernization and sexualization of Asian women by white men all the time. Other than these repeated incidents in the studio, I enjoy my yoga classes and the studio tremendously; several of the classes conducted in the studio are half in Chinese, a few in Chinese only, taught by other instructors or the co-owner (this white owner's wife), although not by this owner in particular.
I'm probably leaving out a number of crucial details in this situation, as I am still torn between indignation and my own need to continue with my hot yoga classes. Please help with some reflections and advice, and feel free to ask any questions about the situation, the studio, my need and reasons for attending, etc.
Thank you very much for your attention~