04.12.12

Can we stop with the strange self-hate, please?

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:34 pm by kyrias

Yet another “why Asian women date white men” essay that is apologetic, carries tones of own-race-distaste (let’s not call it hatred), and doesn’t say anything new at all.

One wonders why people even bother. On the other hand, it’s such an easy grab for attention that I should probably write my own dissertation on why I think Asian women date white men.

It would have been easy to laugh off except for a couple of lines that just leaped out at me, slapped me silly, and started a slow fire in my gut. If the rest of the essay had been a treatise in interracial dating psychology, or even just evolutionary psychology, or even just a nice list of statistics, I would have probably shrugged it off . As it is, it’s infuriating without being helpful.

The appeal of Asian women for Western men largely lies in the fantasy-indulging experience that engenders a feeling of dominance and masculinity which is lacking, or perhaps even threatened, in their own culture. Just look at the funny Charisma Man comic below (click to enlarge). Because Asian women come from a history where they traditionally serve men, the stereotype of the docile and submissive Asian woman feeds this dehumanizing fantasy. The sex industry catering to Westerners is constructed around selling not only the flesh, but what Sheridan Prasso calls the “Asian Mystique…the fantasy of the exotic, indulging, decadent, sensual Oriental who will indulge you and delight you with the decadence and servility that no women in your own culture could.” This fetishization of Asian women causes many women to wonder whether a Western suitor is interested in her as a person, or in the expectations surrounding the Asian Mystique.

A common conception, eh? It is correct? Incorrect? She doesn’t quite say.

But let’s start with “because Asian women come from a history where they traditionally serve men, the stereotype of the docile and submissive Asian woman…”.

Excuse me, but I seem to remember that women in the West weren’t exactly exempt from such practices as being submissive to their husbands and they also had to do all of the homemaking, childrearing, and other “serving type” stuff around the house if there were no servants.

I find the implied suggestion that Western women had it better to be disingenuous at best. If I remember correctly, a husband was allowed by law to beat his wife in some places in the West and even in the United States, for ages the government was loath to enter into a man’s home and tell him he was doing it wrong.

This wasn’t her word, but really? Servility of the Oriental? Servility? I mean, docile, submissive, exotic — those are bad enough — but servility?

It’s true that independence and power is valued more highly in Western women, whereas Eastern values traditionally emphasize community and social harmony, and are unfortunately more patriarchal. This may influence the behavioral traits of some Asian women. However, men sometimes take this to feel “remasculated” in their interactions and perceptions of Asian women because they can experience feelings of dominance, power, and wealth (real or imagined) — especially in Asia, where some women cater to these fantasies for personal gain, or associate with Western men as a status symbol. There’s fantasy built into the idea of dating a Westerner, too, which makes them appealing to Asian women; the stigma goes both ways. On the other hand, there’s also a common notion among more affluent Asian women that the only men who hang around chasing women in Asia are just “creepy losers” that can’t find a girl back home.

Does Lee Shien (I’m doing her name correctly, alright?) mean to say that Asia has traditionally been more patriarchal? If so, what does that even mean?

Patriarchal simply means that 1. men have most of the powah and 2. inheritance and other crap passes through the male line. It simply is — you cannot be more or less patriarchal.

You can, however, be more or less oppressive.

And I have to say, if someone wants to tell me that Asia has traditionally, historically, been more oppressive towards females — I might have to laugh. I’d get angry, but I might have to laugh a lot first. Mostly because that is a sweeping statement that is just bad in terms of how generalized it is.

For the sake of argument, let’s use China.

Around the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220AD), women were allowed education, jobs, and property. Han Wudi in 141 BC apparently allowed female officials. There were numerous women who held property as lords and given noble titles. Women were allowed to divorce, widows were allowed to remarry, and women were allowed to be queens regnant.

Then there was the Tang dynasty, where we had the first female empress, there were female officials, and women were still allowed to hold jobs, own property, etc etc etc.

Can someone conversant with the Middle Ages in Europe please do a side by side comparison? And I’m being generous here, since I could just compare the Han dynasty to the Dark Ages in Europe.

She states that “the stigma goes both ways”. What stigma? Is there one stigma that goes both ways, or does she mean to say that both the Asian woman and the white guy both get seen as complete losers for dating each other?

I know, it sounds terrible, doesn’t it? While we all know that the “Creepy White Dude” does exist, these notions feed dehumanizing stereotypes that prevent mutual respect, and taint those interracial relationships founded on mutual love and respect due to judgment passed by others. The fact is, each person is attracted to certain characteristics in a prospective mate, whether they are physical, cultural, or behavioral. Who’s to say the attraction is based only on fantasy? A bit of fantasy can be beneficial in relationships. It’s unfair to pass judgment on a person for race and culture-related characteristics they find desirable based on the color of their skin.

Oh god. I am not going to pass judgement on anyone who is attracted to say, redheads as opposed to blondes. However, anyone who claims that an entire culture behaves a certain way and then proceeds to choose their significant other based on said stereotype — really, tell me why exactly I cannot pass judgment on them?

Besides, the modern Asian female doesn’t necessarily know how to cook, or how to keep house, and certainly doesn’t know the ten thousand and one ways of fellatio learned at the knee of the premiere geisha in her home precinct.

As I mentioned before, a stigma exists toward Asian women who date Western men, which also casts interracial dating in a poor light. They are condemned as being social climbers, materialistic, and superficial. However, that, too, is a stereotype, and some of the reasons Asian women prefer to date Western men extend beyond perceived social status or physical attraction. Sexism has, in fact, been an integral part of Asian society since its origin, and is still prevalent in Asian societies. Asian women may prefer pairing with Western men because they feel like they are treated more as an equal, and enjoy greater independence in a relationship. Moreso in Asian cultures, men feel threatened when a woman’s abilities, talent, and social status exceeds their own. I’m sure there are plenty of Asian and Asian-American men who do not adhere to patriarchal beliefs, but there’s no denying the inherent values embedded within certain cultures that may shape a woman’s preferences.

Here’s the crowning gem of what made me angry enough to spit nails: “Sexism has, in fact, been an integral part of Asian society since its origin…”

Yes! Utterly unlike Western society!

You know, I am not saying Asia as it stands today is amazing. I would be the last person to say that China is in any way shape or form completely ready to join 2012.

But really?

Are we just going to toss over 4000+ years of civilization, during which a good portion of it women were not significantly more downtrodden than their Western counterparts, and probably a decent portion of it where they actually had more rights than their Western counterparts, and just say as a blanket statement: oh hey, us in the east, we’ve just been failing hardcore for the past four or so millenia and everyone should just hate on us, including ourselves.

Oh, and let’s forget that for a chunk of Chinese history women were actually expected to be worthy of their husbands in so far as intellect, artistry, and other such things. To broadly state that Asia has historically had issues with men hating on women who actually had half a brain cell is just factually incorrect.

Also — clearly men here in the US have no problems, none whatsoever, when women start getting uppity. Did Lee Shien even pay attention to how much crap Hillary Clinton get/got/will get? Sarah Palin? (Well, she kinda deserves it) Elizabeth Warren?

I mean, dude, I’m all for beating Asia with a stick for their misogyny and sexism and general backward idiocy, but to say that this is something inherent in the culture and that it’s something that’s been going on for millenia is just willfully ignorant.

Argh.

Seriously. I’m going to have to write a treatise on why Asian women date white men.

06.03.11

Sibling love

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:50 am by kyrias

Me: “I’m so bored I could jump out a window.”

Brother points at the bank of windows, “Yeah, sure, out there should work. It looks high enough.”

Me, looking downwards, “Nah, I don’t think it’s high enough.”

B: “Just make sure to land headfirst.”

Me: “Jeez, that’s too much effort. Besides, you’d have to go to Taiwan and China alone if I die.” *smirk*

B: “No, I’d go home to tell dad the tragic news and then I wouldn’t be able to leave the country because I’d need at least a month of mourning time.”

… and then college would start was the unsaid implication.

God but we’re bored. We’ve been sitting in Boston Logan Airport for, oh, like 5 hours now. Gah.

01.21.11

Piracy: some thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:33 am by kyrias

Things have been floating in my mind off and on since I read Shiloh Walker’s post on piracy and now that some people from a comm I subscribe to have posted their views on the subject, I figure it’s about time to finally hash out what exactly I think on the matter.

I’m not going to read anyone’s full post before I post this, just to see how much privilege I have hanging out.

So. Pirating.

I believe that it is the right of any creator to be paid for their work. I’ve caught flak for this in the past, but I also believe that if fan-fic authors wish to be paid for their work, then they should be.

For the point of books and other media for entertainment, I do not believe that anyone is entitled to free entertainment. If people desire free entertainment, then there’s myriad possibilities on the internet without going into illegal territory. If you’re downloading for the point of pre-viewing something before buying it, then that’s one thing, but if you’ve downloaded something and it’s something that you would have bought if you were forced to it, then you should. If it’s something that you didn’t enjoy and that you wouldn’t have bought if you read it in a bookstore, then I don’t believe that you’re necessarily under moral obligation to purchase it.

I believe, if there a way of acquiring it legally, then you are under moral obligation to do so.

EXCEPTIONS to my rule:

Textbooks. Non-fiction. Information in general. Information should be free for all and should be disseminated freely.

If there is no feasible way to procure the item in question, then by all means.

Now, I’m going to go off and read other posts and see how my privilege is holding up.

- crossposted from DW where there are 14 comments

12.22.10

Making lotion

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:26 pm by kyrias

I first got the idea of making my own lotion from asonomagarden.

I was already a bit frustrated with how expensive the KissMyFace lotion was, and how many ingredients was in their list, and also with how it didn’t seem as effective as it used to be. Frankly, I suspect them of doing something with their original recipe, but hey.

I’ve already quit using Burt’s Bees because their products have noticeably gone downhill since they got acquired by Clorox. I used to buy their products exclusively, but it was really too much after a while.

So, why not make my own?

asonomagarden’s original recipe is as follows:

1 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup emulsifying wax
1/4 cup olive oil
24-36 drops essential oil

Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.

I had heavy cream sitting around in the fridge, so…

1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tbsp emulsifying wax
1/4 cup hot water
20 drops lavender
30 drops Germall

Funny thing that happened:

I come out of the kitchen with a pot in one hand, whisk in the other, and approach Nora, “Hand.”

She extends her hand, I flick some of the liquid that’s on the whisk onto her palm.

She brings her hand in close to her face. I, thinking that she just wants to sniff it, am not too alarmed until she licks her palm.

Even as I belatedly start to freak, she pauses, wipes her tongue off on her hand, and I stutter out: “That’s lotion…”

She gives me a look, “Way to not warn me! At least it doesn’t taste bad.”

I sigh. “Yeah, at least all the ingredients are edible. Olive oil and heavy cream.” Relieved that I hadn’t put in the Germall and lavender EO yet, I flick some more lotion onto her palm.

“It was a pot and a whisk! How was I to know?”

I blink. “I thought you knew I was going to make lotion?”

Edibility aside, I liked the texture as is, but we’ll have to see how much more it sets up once it’s fully cold.

The thing is, I’m choosing to use preservatives. I figure that a paltry 1% is not going to kill me, and it’s gotta be better than anything else that I buy, and I’d really prefer not to get sick through mold and other microbes that will proliferate though my oh-so-nutritious lotions.

This, especially since I’m using ingredients such as heavy cream, organic milk, honey, and so forth in my body care items… I’d really much rather have the ability to have hydrous items up for making rather than not.

By the way? I bought my Germall and Calendula extract from Lotioncrafter’s and they are awesome.

Not only did they get my stuff out to me on the 22nd via Priority mail when I placed my order on the 21st of Dec, they also refunded me a whopping 2 dollars for over-estimating my shipping costs. The pipettes that they threw in as a gift was just icing, really.

I’m very impressed with them and I’ll definitely be a repeat customer. They could have sucked up that $2 and I wouldn’t have known, but now that they’ve given it back, they’ve got a very, very happy customer.

04.26.10

Same place, same crime, same outcome.

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:04 pm by kyrias

I remember when I first heard about Kitty Genovese in a psychology class.

Catherine Susan Genovese was a New Yorker who was stabbed to death near her home in Queens. Although she shouted out for help when first stabbed, no one came to her aid. Her attacker, supposedly scared off when someone shouted at him to “Let that girl alone!”, came back later, found her collapsed from blood loss after extensive searching  for her and proceeded to finish the job.

At the time I was appalled and speechless. To have a woman die, a few feet from the safety of her own home, because no one except her rapist and killer cared enough to find her was terrifying in its implications.

However, what happened to Tale-Yax recently might just be worse.

Tale-Yax was stabbed when he came to the help of a woman being assaulted by another man. After his intervention, the stabber and the would-be victim ran off in separate directions and he collapsed on the sidewalk. Dozens of people passed by him and yet none offered him aid. Not the person who paused to take a cell phone photo of him and not the person who shook him, saw the blood pooling beneath him, and let him fall again.

On a frivolous sidenote, this pretty much cements my decision to never move to NYC if I can help it. Especially not Queens, now the setting for at least two killings where the victim could have made it if only someone had bothered to care.

But it also reminds me to not be afraid to call 911 if I suspect that something is going wrong. That person who might or might not be dead drunk on the sidewalk — next time I’ll call 911 instead of wondering and then finally dismissing it as most likely just another drunkard or druggie.

Better safe than sorry, after all. I don’t know how people live with themselves, knowing that they walked away to let a person die in the street.

Rest in peace, Hugo, and may god have mercy on the souls of those who had no mercy themselves.

02.13.10

Coconut cake — take 1

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 3:40 am by kyrias

I’ve been having a craving for coconut cake ever since I got some organic coconut oil from Spectrum to use on my hands. The stuff is unrefined and smells absolutely divine — like coconut cake, to be precise. I keep getting these intense craving pangs whenever I use it, which tends to be quite a lot in this dry winter weather. 

So today, I went and looked up some recipes in an attempt to fix the craving. 

Usually the King Arthur site is my go-to site for recipes, but I didn’t like the fussiness of the recipes they had on hand, so I looked around some more. I finally settled on this recipe for a small coconut layer cake at CookieMadness because it looked simple, didn’t call for too many steps and it doesn’t need a ton of ingredients that I didn’t have at hand. 

Disclaimer: I wanted the cake to taste as much of coconut as possible, so I subbed in organic coconut oil for cooking instead of butter. This may have been the basis for all my problems — I have no idea. 

Coconut layer cake recipe — slightly adapted from CookieMadness

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.25 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
8 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk

I beat together the sugar and melted coconut oil until creamy. Then I beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure they were fully incorporated and beat for at least 30 seconds after each addition. Another departure from the original recipe is that I mixed in the coconut milk into this and then carefully folded the dry ingredients in.

Couple of things went wrong with the cake:

There didn’t seem to be enough batter to make 2 cakes in 8 inch pans. There was only a very thin layer of batter in the pans and it almost didn’t want to even cover the bottom. The end result was that the cakes were less than an inch tall. Also, they baked in much, much less time than the 22-24 minutes mentioned in the original recipe. When I pulled them out after 15 minutes,  they were pretty dry. 

I don’t know how much of this was my reckless substitutions and how much of it was just bad baking on my part. However, if anyone else wants to use coconut oil in place of the butter, this might happen to you too. 

Another problem was that the coconut oil that was sold for cooking purposes was refined and smelled nothing like coconut at all. It didn’t taste like coconut either. Although I used coconut milk in the cake, the end result was really more like a vanilla white cake than a coconut cake. This was quite, quite disappointing. I think perhaps next time I will use coconut extract in place of the vanilla extract and perhaps fold in some shredded fresh coconut into the batter. Also, I might consider using unrefined coconut oil to see if that adds some taste. For what it’s worth, Caesura thought that the cake was very good, albeit “bone dry”. 

For the filling, I melted a bar of Ghiradelli’s 60% cacao bars in 4 tablespoons of coconut milk and then folded in a cup of sweetened coconut flakes. This almost made up for the dryness of the cake and was tasty, but I still didn’t have the coconut cake of my cravings — I really wanted a cake that was redolent of coconut on its own without needing the coconut icing. Maybe that’s not possible, I don’t know. 

I will probably make this cake again with butter and see if that fixes my problems with not having enough batter and having thin cakes — just to make sure it wasn’t the fault of the coconut oil. On the other hand, I know of vegan recipes that sub that way, so I can’t imagine what went wrong. I was looking for vegan recipes involving making cake with coconut oil, but wasn’t terribly successful. 

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

01.31.10

Debt 2010 – January

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:06 pm by kyrias

As of 1-9-2010, we had:

20,000 in student loans. 

Paid $129.36 last month, of which $96.05 was applied to interest and $33.31 was deducted from the principal. Just looking at that, I understand why some people take decades to pay off their student loans. I mean, at that rate, say paying off $30 each month, it’s going to take us 56 years to pay that off in full. I don’t even want to calculate how much money in interest we’re just handing over to them.  Of course, it’s not that simply because the interest rate fluctuates. 

$7,900 in credit card debt over two cards. The bulk of the debt is on the 15.24% APR card, with 2k on the 12.24% APR.

I’m almost tempted to engage in credit card arbitrage to stop paying the interest for a while, but I don’t want to go to the hassle of applying for another card and then transfering the balance.  On the other hand, even the usual 3% fee for transfering is probably worth the interest I’d be saving. I suppose if I can find a 0% introductory APR credit card, I might consider it. Or I might consider asking Caesura to open up a line of credit — after all, he doesn’t have a credit card at all.

01.05.10

Review: Stop and Shop’s Forest Mushroom Soup

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:50 am by kyrias

“Thick and rich and full of the delicious flavor of mushrooms, our Forest Mushroom Soup will satisfy even the pickiest palates.”

This item is not available via Peapod, which amuses me. One would think that this sort of convenience food would definitely be listed on Peapod because I would think that the sort of person who would use Peapod is also likely to get this — via Peapod. 

There is only one plastic pouch of soup inside the box, so although the entire thing is 2.5 servings, there is no good way to split it up if you only want one serving. At 220 calories per serving, this is a potential problem if you’re dining alone. 

The plastic pouch was not at all easy to open whilst the entire thing is frozen. I ended up having to jab at it with a pair of scissors, laboriously cutting away bits of the plastic pouch, which did not tear easily, until I could pull the entire block of soup free. I’d suggest allowing it to defrost a bit for ease of extraction, thus cutting down on the convenience factor if you wish to heat it using the stove. Of course, since you can microwave it, this isn’t always a problem. Personally though, I dislike microwaves and dislike microwaving plastic-type substances even more. 

This soup was definitely very rich, with the definite taste of mushrooms. I liked the chunks of the different mushrooms as it gave the soup a hearty feel, but the onions were somehow somewhat distracting. Perhaps because they were not as meltingly soft as I usually expect when onions are in soup and the texture was markedly different from that of the mushrooms. As the soup is very rich, calories aside, I couldn’t manage to finish the entire thing by myself. I thought the soup was a tad too salty, which also helps to keep the desired portion small. 

Full disclosure: This product contains dairy, wheat, soy, and hydrolyzed soy protein,  partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and a host of other chemical-sounding ingredients. 

Verdict? 

It was tasty, and I wouldn’t be averse to eating it if someone else bought it and put it in the freezer.  However, I don’t think I’d want the leftover soup for later because it’s so rich and salty, which makes me worry about wasted food. I am also trying to cut out chemical-sounding ingredients from my diet, not to mention the partially hydrogenated oils — so I doubt I’d buy this for myself.

11.10.09

Officially withdrawing from NaNoWriMo

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:42 pm by kyrias

For closure purposes, I guess I’m going to announce that I’m no longer writing for National Novel Writing Month.

I thought about putting it off and trying to work through it regardless without saying anything “official”, but I’m feeling stressed out about not doing something that I want to do and told people I’d be doing. I figure at this point I really don’t need the stress and so I should get some closure and just try my best to get that 50k words. I’ll probably still be inputting my word count at the end of the month to see how far I get. Maybe I’ll hit 50k anyways — one can always hope, right?

Reasons:

My PCP suspects that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I’m using “suspects” really loosely. She pretty much thinks I do and just wants to make sure. I’m not currently dealing well with that news — because being diagonosed with chronic major depression and ADD isn’t enough, I apparently need yet another chronic disease to work with. Currently I’m going in for more blood work tomorrow and an ultrasound, but I have at least 7 out of the 15 symptoms listed here, on top of having an elevated testosterone level.  I’ll know about the pre-diabetic part and if I have cysts after the tests tomorrow. I honestly don’t know if I’m ovulating or not, so I can’t rule out the infertile bit yet either. Considering that my period skips out for more than a year at times, I’m not ready to take it off the list.

I realise it’s not a huge medical issue and it’s eminently treatable and not fatal and all that jazz. I just feel somewhat betrayed by my body and so am not dealing well with that diagnoses. At least she ruled out premature uterine failure. Thank god.

I’ve finally gone to see a psychologist in Boston. I had my first psych intake last Thursday — which was a trip, I assure you — and I’ll be getting my psychopharm intake this coming Tuesday. It was really not at all fun, and I’m not looking forward to rehashing my problems in front of yet another person, but I guess it has to be done. All I can say regarding that psych intake is that I felt so lousy afterwards that I decided to skip class because I seriously thought I’d jump off the platform in Sullivan Square if I had to go take the train.

On top of all this glorious loveliness, I have a test next Monday and a ten page research paper that I really need to get started on.

I feel like crap because I bought Dragon Age: Origins when it came out on the 3rd and so to a certain extent I feel like I’m sabotaging myself because of the amount of time I’ve spent playing that game. On the other hand, my rational brain is telling me that there’s no way I can write properly with the amount of stuff that’s currently going on.

Also, my mother just moved and she’s taking in a student to board — I’m expected to move back in with the parents to help out with this after I finish my classes unless I get a job or get into grad school. Not fun.

08.14.09

There’s no point in being orderly. None. NONE I tell you!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:10 pm by kyrias

I’ve often been told that I should be orderly. 

As of right now, I’m saying fuck that

Yeah, you heard me. Fuck that shit. 

I am currently recovering from a frenzy borne of not being able to find my keys. 

I distinctly remembered that I got home on Wednesday, took the chain they hung off of off my neck, and hung it somewhere safe so I wouldn’t lose it. 

More than 48 hours later, my useless brain could not remember where the fuck I put them. I only remembered that I put them somewhere safe. 

This is not the first time and I doubt it will be the last time. 

Fuck orderly. I’m just going to do, in this case, as I used to do and just keep the damn things in my pocket and go hunting through all the pockets of all the clothing I previously wore. 

At least that’s a finite number of places. 

As opposed to the number of places my Swiss cheese brain might deem safe. 

See, the thing is, I keep having the best of intentions to create a habit of putting my keys somewhere safe. I’ve been told that it only takes 30 days for a habit to form. 

Well. 

The only problem with that is: my Swiss cheese brain simply forgets every single day where the previous safe place was and so I find another safe place to put ‘em. 

See the dilemna? 

Just fuck this shit. Honestly.

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