03.05.12

More masochism and renditions of Gretchen Wilson’s song

Posted in Beauty, Gender, culture at 5:46 pm by kyrias

*puts on Redneck Woman at full blast*

So, in further news of just what I have issues with Ms Pundarik-Dossin:

Cook for him.

I spoke to many gentlemen and found that the reason they appreciate a girl knowing how to cook is because when she does, it creates a sense of intimacy, comfort, care, and nurture. People fall in love and gain closeness over a good meal. Also, when a man comes to the dining room to see his favorite meal on the table, the house he lives in suddenly feels like a home. I remember speaking to a male friend of mine who was talking about to me about family dinners. He described the wonderful feeling he had of sitting down and waiting for the meal to be brought to the table and how he felt so loved and nourished, and he felt like his mother was loving and taking care of him.

It seems to me that gentlemen like women who cook not because of the food itself (although that’s an obvious benefit) but because of the emotional and sensory factors surrounding the woman taking the time to prepare a nice meal for her loved ones.

Really? And what is to preclude the man doing such things to make a home feel like a home? Why is it up to the female to create the feeling of being nurtured and cared for? Why can’t a man be *ahem* man enough to step up to the plate and create a warm home before he goes wife-hunting?

Hi, sexism.

Contrary to public opinion, bringing warmth, joy, real food, and culture to a man’s life is not exactly high on my list of “how I want to shape the world”.

Also? I do not want my partner to associate the feeling of his mother taking care of him with me at any point. In fact, there is so much I do not want I don’t even. Reminding a man of his mother is hardly one of my highest aspirations.

The art of being the perfect guest:

When Nina’s fiancé casually asked him during dinner how the apricot-dijon pork was, he was unresponsive (and the pork was quite good yet his actions and lack of response still made the hostess nervous that there was something wrong with her cooking and the host feeling tense with his fiancée, leading to some awkward questions directed at her after the party). His actions hurt the experience for the rest of the people there. I was secretly upset to be sitting across from him, Nina was worried that her food was bad and was wondering during the entire party if all guests disliked it, her fiancé felt irritated and was wondering what she did wrong, the woman on the man’s right was upset that she didn’t have an attractive dinner companion sitting next to her, and the entire environment became tense.

*blinks*

Where to start?

Let’s just say that if C were to become tense with me and directed awkward questions my way when I had gone to the effort of organizing a dinner party because of one guest’s bad behaviour — there would have been words. Why is it taken for granted that Andrew, instead of comforting Nina, would have “directed awkward questions” her way after the dinner? Why is it said, so casually, that A was wondering what N did wrong?

Japanese Etiquette Rules:

Unlike in China and other parts of East Asia, it is considered to be bad manners to burp.

Oh really? I wasn’t aware that it was considered proper manners to burp in China. My parents must have been mistaken all these years.

Then there’s the feminine appearance page.

Ye gods, the judgey.

Yes, that’s a word.

I don’t think I can even go into it without wanting to claw my eyes out and start muppet flailing.

Then there’s The Elegant and Proper Ladies of Jane Austen:

In Jane Austen novels, something else that is portrayed as being delightfully attractive is an appeasing nature, one that cares about pleasing others above all else. In Mansfield Park, the character of Mary Crawford’s obligingness, among other traits, are what Edmund Bertram finds to attractive in her:

“Miss Crawford’s attractions did not lessen. The harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good-humour; for she played with the greatest obligingness, with an expression and taste which were particularly becoming, and there was something clever to be said at the close of every air.”

-Mansfield Park, page 57.

“[W]hen being earnestly invited by the Miss Bertrams to join in a glee, she tripped off to the instrument, leaving Edmund looking after her in an ecstasy of admiration of all her many virtues, from her obliging manners down to her light and graceful tread.

‘There goes good-humor, I am sure,’ said he presently. ‘There goes a temper which would never give pain! How well she walks! and how readily she falls in with the inclination of others! joining them the moment she is asked.’”

-Mansfield Park, p. 99.

It is viewed as an attractive quality because it hints to a woman being free of selfishness. It hints to her more traditionally feminine qualities: selflessness and obligingness to both the needs and the wants of others, qualities which hint at her being built for both a good wife and a good mother. Men wanted women who were soft, gentle, and sweet.

I swear, I might break something if I flail any harder.

Yes, because women are essentially decorations and entertainment. This is, quite simply, rank objectification and sexism.

One must be obliging, beautiful, graceful, and accomplished. To what purpose? To be pleasing to others, of course.

Note that at this point, women who read and thought for their own edification only were called bluestockings, and they were not held in the highest regard.

Then there’s Even Ladies Make Mistakes.

The judgey. It pains me. I swear it does.

I might not necessarily approve of being a party girl, but is Michelle Obama’s stance, Cindy McCain’s cleavage, and Audrey Hepburn’s nipples that offensive?

Languages that Refine you:

(I really should stop. I’m starting to come across as a creepy obsessed stalker and I really don’t want that.)

Japanese for being the language of possibly the most elegant nation in Asia and also a good language for business and travel.

Chinese is good for business.

*sigh* Alright, I admit it. Nationalism and cultural pride is rearing its head.  Asides from the harm of even positive stereotypes, what’s it about Asian languages being good for business and not much else? After all, China only has a couple thousand years of poetry and prose to indulge in. Japan is only the country that came up with the first full length novel.

I’m not even going to mention about how Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea don’t even merit mentions.

I think I’m going to call it a day.

Nothing is going to be served for me to continue in this vein and it’s just making me depressed.

The thing is?

I don’t feel inspired.

I feel judged. I feel pained sympathy for those who are also being judged. Although it’s nice to be in the ranks of Michelle Obama. :/

I am horrified at the amount of casual sexism, gender tropes, and stereotyping that goes on and I don’t even know how to begin to address that.

03.04.12

Cuz I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad…

Posted in Beauty, Conventions, Gender, culture at 3:29 pm by kyrias

Usually I try to be classier than to single out other blogs that espouse opinions that I don’t agree with and flambé them, but I’ve hit the point where I can’t resist because I finally hit a post that made me so angry.

My conscience and manners tell me that I really could just click that useful little x in the top right corner of this woman’s blog, but it’s not that easy.

You see, I do try to be classy and elegant whenever possible or necessary. I feel that it is important to be courteous, to always keep the higher moral ground, behave with all possible decorum etc etc etc etc. I also feel that it is very important that we hold onto these ideals of civilized behaviour in this day and age where it seems like courtesy and common manners has gone the way of the dodo.

No, in fact, I will not be joining C in sitting on our lawn and screaming at the neighborhood kids to GTFO our lawn, thank you very much. I’m not quite that curmudgeonly, I swear.

As an aside, I’m also not going to take the higher moral ground in this case because I do want to give credit where credit is due in terms of quotations. Besides, I know from reading other blogs and my own reactions to blog owners not giving out incriminating identifying information that people who are really interested will just go ahead and search for the offender anyway. Traffic and imprints be damned and all that.

However, my beef with Ms Pundarik-Dossin is that she’s somehow managed to make me want to cringe and rake my nails over my face every single time she mentions the word “elegant”.

Originally, I was going to settle for making catty comments to my friends and my suitably cryptic Tweet about how I find judgmental people to be infinitely more classless than most things they’re passing judgement on, but one post in particular just lit a fire under me.

I was already wondering, what sort of background does this woman come from?

I had the impression that she must have a decent sort of background because of the people she mentions hobnobbing with, the sort of friends she mentions her parents associating with, and other various tidbits that just hint of at least a bit of disposable income somewhere in her life.

I was becoming frustrated because of the royalty-chasing, the borderline offensive cultural stereotypes, the sexism,  the constant low-key reminders of the differences in privilege and financial ability…

Then there was:

I was inspired to write this post because when I first started dating my fiancé, our dating style was very reminiscent of The Easy Life and that led to a greater intimacy and care for one another. It allowed us to devote an entire few hours to one another. It allowed us to bond and to get to know one another. It allowed us to converse about romantic ideas and it allowed us to have conversations about literature, art, culture, history, science, etc. while dating instead of having the typical “what do you do?” conversations.

and

Most simply: The Easy Life is characterized by a life where one is never flustered or in a rush. A life where one is rarely too busy for their loved ones. A life where one can put aside hours for their family and friends – where they can speak over a cup of tea for long periods of time and where dinner is extended, either with courses or by not leaving the table right after the meal until all conversational has naturally ceased or until one has made good use of the cheese tray.

Does this sound like something that you might be interested in? Make a few small changes in your life so that your life can start to resemble that of the Easy Life culture:

  • Extend dining periods: make the meals longer so that you can eat slowly and enjoy your company while dining – extend dining periods so that you can make it a time for family and friends
  • Set Aside Personal Culture Time: set aside time each day to read, to cook ambitious recipes, to watch a videotaping of an opera performance, to listen to a ballet recording from start to finish, to discuss culture with valued companions, etc.
  • Make Regular Theater Trips in an Attempt to Socialize

Pundarik-Dossin, N. The Easy Life. Retrieved 3/5/2012 at 3:15pm from http://theproperlady.blogspot.com/2011/04/easy-life.html.

The Easy Life?

Indeed.

I would love to have a life where I don’t have to be in a rush. Where I have the time and wherewithal to have long, leisurely tea parties and dinner parties without worrying about either the cost, the time, or the energy that would require.

My partner works full-time, has overtime frequently, and goes to school part-time. I have work with odd hours, weird days off, and not nearly enough time in a day to clean all the things, go to the bank, and do what needs to be done.

Small changes?

Why do I hear the screams of class warfare right there?

Regular theatre trips? With what money, what time, and what energy?

Personal culture time? When the drama is screaming, when the chores are an albatross around your neck, and when you get home from work at 10:30 to find that there’s been yet more work created for you in your absence?

Then there’s:

When trying to achieve grace, there are some things that we do that really cannot help in any other way. However, there are a few ways to help us be graceful that also help us to become refined and/or elegant. One of these is an instrument that requires good posture and skilled and steady movements (harp, piano, viola, violin, cello, etc.) Fine ladies of the time period placed much more importance on things like music when it came to catching a husband, after all, things like music and art were the societal values of the higher society.

Playing an instrument that requires steadiness, good posture, and preciseness of form really can develop grace and composure in a person. You’ll learn coordination and movements that are not only pleasing to the eye, but create pleasing sounds on the instrument itself.

Dance, especially classical ballet, can also be very helpful in both the creation of grace and the quest to achieve refinement. Ballet requires talent and dedication and it also helps the body to “stretch,” improving posture.

…perhaps we should see classical dance plus classical musical training as a perfect combination for achieving pose.

Pundarik-Dossin, N. Grace and Composure. Retrieved 3/5/2012 at 3:15pm from http://theproperlady.blogspot.com/2011/03/grace-and-composure.html

Tea parties, ballet, and learning a classical instrument? When so many of us all but need a second job to get by, when half of us are trying to find jobs and can’t, when children are starving in Africa?

(Alright. That last was a low blow on top of being a strawman argument that made no sense. I admit it. :D )

This almost makes me want to join the 53% in their poor logic with a rant of my own. I shall refrain, however.

What I’m getting here is elegance is what you do when you have money, time, and energy — something that almost all of Americans are running perilously low on. What I’m hearing is the plummy tones of the aristocracy, asking with all innocent confusion as to why the commoners don’t eat cake or meat gruel.

And that, that makes me want to muppet flail like nothing else.

I just might address my other concerns regarding sexism and stereotypes at some other time.

Right now though? I just want to sit sprawl legged with my hair unkempt, and howl “I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad” at my laptop screen.

05.20.10

East of Main Street: Asians Aloud, the single story, and other thoughts.

Posted in Gender, culture tagged , at 3:14 pm by kyrias

I was a bit intrigued by the concept of HBO doing a collection of perspectives from an Asian standpoint for Asian Heritage Month, so I clicked over to watch a bit.

The second person on is Mariana, an Asian American woman, and at first glance, what she’s saying isn’t that unfamiliar to me. The real hilarity starts when she starts talking about an experience with a cab driver at about 5:42.

…finally, he turns to me and says: “You know, for an Oriental girl, you have big beautiful breasts!”

And I was so shocked, I had no other answer than: “Well thank you, I grew them myself.”

He wasn’t sleazy, he wasn’t hitting on me, he was actually quite proud: ”Good for you miss, good for you.”

Somehow I was an Asian unicorn in his universe, um, he said it in such a way as if I had somehow overcome the shortcoming of my race — by sporting a big rack. I’ve worked hard at a lot of things in my life and if I ever had a Rosie Wong the riveter moment: “You can do it girls!”, I never expected that to be it.

O.M.G. That was so funny in a “this is fucking disturbing, but I can’t stop the horrified giggles for some reason” way.

The woman after her speaks of the disconnect between praying to a blond, blue-eyed Jesus and yet not being allowed to date an American boy — despite her assertions to her mother that if she dated a guy who looked like the Jesus in the pictures, she’d be closer to God.

Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai speaking of the need to efface themselves in order to blend in that some Asian feel struck a nerve somewhere. It seems that I don’t see as much of that need in other ethnicities. To have an Italian nonna or a German grossmutter is not necessarily something to hide and perhaps even something to flaunt. Observing traditions from the “old country” is sometimes a point of pride, a connection that is cherished, and not something to discard at the earliest opportunity.

It is possible, perhaps, that for every Asian who shook the dust of their heritage from their feet, there is another or two who not only keep their tradition but cling to them — but that is not the story I hear.

Maybe I, too, am falling into the myth-trap of the single story.

Maybe I have read too much Amy Tan and other similar authors and thus believing that most Chinese Americans are in a hurry to shed their heritage much the way a snake would shed a skin grown too small and old.

What does it say though, that when I look at Asian American literature, this is what jumps out at me? I have made no comprehensive study of Chinese American literature — but I don’t remember reading anything where the characters celebrate their heritage rather than running flat-footed from it.

I cannot blame authors for writing what they know, what they want to write, what they want to tell the world. Perhaps there is no blame to be cast, but I can wonder how different things would be if I were not constantly placed into the box of the single story that everyone has heard.

Speaking of my parents, my family, and what they think is almost always a trial with my American friends. When I do, it is one of the few times where I understand why sometimes the Asians will seek each other out to the exclusion of their American counterparts.

Everyone has heard this story before. The story of the repressed, suppressed, oppressed Asian girl with traditionally Chinese parents. The story of how sexism fuels sibling rivalries and creates family drama. The one where East meets West and East comes out looking really, really bad.

It’s been getting better, I feel, in recent years. At least now I can point to different friends and say: “Hey, what the fuck, this isn’t any different from _____”

My parents aren’t keen on me marrying outside the race, but then I know Jews who have that same issue.

Nolly’s parents clearly have favoritism issues with their offspring with roots that probably stem from gender. I’d like to clarify here that I’ve never felt like my parents have shown my brother favor simply because he’s male. Now, there’s another can of worms of what’s expected, but there’s been no differential treatment that  I can clearly point to.

Kell’s parents can sometimes come across as ungrateful, psychotic, and passive-aggressively controlling. All his words, not mine. *grin*

Zach’s mother used to try to micro-manage his life, in fact, she still does certain things that make Azora twitch.

Dochola knows an American girl whose mother won’t let her drive long distances, wants her to live at home, and keeps an amazing number of tabs on her.

Nalia’s mother has a similar hold on her life.

I’m me; I’m not just that oppressed and repressed Asian girl, if that, and my parents aren’t straight out of an Amy Tan novel.

Somehow when other people look at me, there’s all this baggage of what they perceive what I should be like, what my interactions with other people should be like, and how my brain ticks because all they know is the last 200 odd years of Chinese fail.

Man, I’d still be in bad shape if they were presupposing me based on the whole 4 thou something years of Chinese history, but perhaps they’d get at least a wee bit more of it right.

Five or so years later, I think we’re in a better place, my friends and I. I think that nowadays we can accept that my relationship with my parents is screwy and messed-up and to deny that there are parts of it rooted in Chinese culture would be lying but not all of it is Chinese, just human stupidity and fail.

Still, that single story, it goes on and on and on.

05.14.10

Why is one comparatively benign compared to the other?

Posted in Drama Ilamas, Ethics and morality, Feminism, Gender, Sexuality at 8:47 pm by kyrias

Supposedly, people are getting all up in arms about the movie Kick-Ass — because Hit-Girl swears like a sailor, gores her way through upwards of 50 people over the course of the film with all sorts of weaponry, is unrepentant to boot, and worst of all: she’s 11 years old.

I really enjoy how sexism immediately comes into obvious,  irrefutable play despite all supposed to-do about the age:

Deb Sorenson claims that somehow “It’s different to any other superhero film which focuses on good triumphing over evil“, perhaps because it’s “a disturbing step into the perverse, revelling in the corruption of an 11-year-old girl”.

Oh really?

Why exactly is it perverse? To see a child engaged in violence? Or is it because it’s a female child engaging in violence that’s the problem?

I really suspect it’s the latter and not the former. After all, it’s not as if foul-mouthed, violent male characters are lacking in the market and yet there isn’t a huge brouhaha about that.

It gets funnier:

Frank Furedi, a professor of sociology weighs in with: “This promotes the idea that infantilising adulthood is ok and that we are no longer expected to draw lines between us and kids.”

Oh. Give me a break. Infantilising adulthood? So what do we call the current trend of putting prepubescent teens in stripper outfits and those high heels for babies?

On a related tangent, here’s a clip of 7 year old girls performing dance moves that look as if they’ve come straight out of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” MV:

Or, if you don’t like videos, here’s some pictures:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Granted, there’s somewhat of a firestorm going on because of these girls, but this isn’t the first or only instance of things like this happening.

Girls have been increasingly sexualized at younger and younger ages for years now and yet that sort of behaviour is alright and yet violence isn’t?

I love how there’s the comments that range from claiming that because it’s dance and therefore an art form, it’s not dirty or inappropriate to those who claim that sexualization is only in the eyes of the beholder and whoever sees this as being problematic should really get their mind out of the gutter.

Deanna:
I completely agree with you. These girls are talented little dancers and have skills! They are doing real choreography! There is a difference between getting dirty on the dance floor and body isolations! and do people not understand the difficult turn sequences in this piece.

Ken:
Unless you are one of these girls’ mothers, shouldn’t you keep your ridiculous ultra-conservative opinions to yourself? Anyone who sees sexuality in an outfit on a 7-yr old needs serious professional help. If your mind wasn’t thinking that way, you wouldn’t have this opinion. Period. Look yourself in the mirror and ask why you would see a costume on a 7-yr old as sexual.

Beammer:
The outfits look like swimsuits.

Peters (executive vp of The Hozman Group):
“It has been taken out of context.” and “There was NOTHING provocative about what they were doing.”

Presch (parent of one of the kids):
“The costumes are designed for movement, unrestricted movement and to show body lines.” Also, this is because “the judges need to be able to see the girl’s movement and technical skills.”

Um. Right. I see we’re going from justifying to rationalizing to flat out bullshit in very short order.  I wonder if Presch thinks the rest of us are all idiots who haven’t seen ballet performed before. I’m sure that leotards would show body lines and allow for full range of body movement.

I’m gratified that there’s still people who still think that this sort of dance routine and costuming choice is wildly inappropriate for 7 year old girls, but the fact that we have managed to let public morality slide to the point where this sort of performance is considered de rigeur in this sort of venue is frankly appalling. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if a 17 year old I knew was doing this, I’d still be somewhat taken aback. You know it’s bad when Beyonce was wearing much less skin in a much less provocative manner in the original video.

Back to Hit-Girl. I appreciate how Chloe Moretz, the actress who plays Hit-Girl seems to be taking this way more in stride than some of the people blowing their tops off.

“Hit-Girl isn’t very adult at all. She may say this stuff, but she doesn’t know any better. That’s how she was born and raised. She watches John Woo movies — what do you get from John Woo movies? You get violence and cussing. And that’s all she knows. She doesn’t know how to speak kind words to people. Her Dad tried to raise her like that, she really doesn’t know any better.”

and

It’s a movie for a reason. It’s not meant to be taken as real life.

She also doesn’t suggest that kids watch it nor does she think that Hit-Girl should be a role model. She does see it as female empowerment insofar as it’s a female character who is kicking ass instead of being the damsel in distress.

What I really enjoy is the dichotomy. When it comes to violence, cursing, and such non-feminine pursuits, where are all the comments about it being art, about perversity only being in the eye of the beholder, about taking a chill pill because obviously to pull this off takes talent and that therefore excuses all?

Elisabeth Rappe puts it beautifully when she says that it’s because the violence isn’t sexual in nature.

Charlie’s Angels where they seduce men and then beat them? Perfectly alright.

Death via sex? That’s alright too.

But having a girl get all bloody and spill gore? Oh wait, that’s not ok at all, because a woman is supposed to either be the whore or the Madonna. The Madonna nurtures, teaches by loving pacifistic example, and “lends civilization to a brutal world”. Irony quotes. The whore kills with sex, poisons, and is essentially a back-stabbing bad girl who you do not want anywhere near your mother.

When it’s a girl doing all the bloodspilling, it’s no longer “just a movie” or “just entertainment”, it’s something infinitely more subversive, perverse, and problematic.

Hypocrisy, people. Hypocrisy. You’re so bad at this game.

03.24.10

This is why we don’t get ahead. This.

Posted in Gender at 2:25 pm by kyrias

As a woman, the human rat-race kind of sucks.

To start with, I don’t believe we are taught to be good friends. As girls and young women, what is valued is being an obedient daughter, a loving wife, a good mother. This is pretty well illustrated by the eulogies I hear: “She was a loving mother and the best wife a man could have…” Oh so rarely you hear that she was a good friend, unless it’s the friend who is speaking, and even then it feels tacked on, an afterthought. Go for a stroll in the graveyard and count how many headstones celebrate a woman who was a good friend.

Even beyond what we’re taught, the many demands of being that dutiful daughter, that accomplished wife, that doting mother — how much time remains after you throw in the usual work week for interacting with friends? Real friends, not just other women you meet by happenstance during your offspring’s play dates or whilst waiting for them to get out of ballet or soccer or any of those many things that children are saddled with nowadays. Even assuming you have time, do your friends have time for you and is this a loss that is felt or is it just shrugged off as part of what life demands?

Moving past societal expectations and what we learned at our parents’ knees — women are trained to see each other as competition.

Women are conditioned to see each other as being in competition for male attention from a very young age. It certainly doesn’t help that a woman’s shelf life is so short, but the general idea is that there’s a shortage of “good” men and one must needs vie for the attention of all eligible men for fear of growing old alone.

Romance aside, the fact that often there’s only a token number of women in higher places means that all women are keenly aware that if they mentor the newcomers, then they’re just making the competition harder. Doesn’t help that there’s the usual stereotype that women are hired based on their looks, further lessening the likelihood that an older woman would be unwilling to teach the newcomer the ropes for fear of being replaced. This makes an already cutthroat situation even more hostile.

Then there’s the conditioning. Society’s perceived ideal is the nuclear family. This means that to snare a man and pop out babies is the be all and end all of everything. The problem with this mindset manifests in myriad subtle ways:

There’s the women who are simply incapable of having real female friends because they can’t fuck them or some variation thereof. Their lives are barren and meaningless without a man in it and whatever female companionship they do seek out is only to tide them over until they get their next fix of cock.

There’s the women who are one step above the former in that they can attempt some facsimile of being a decent friend — except you start realizing that you get whatever leftover dregs of affection and attention after her man is tired of all her doting.

Then there’s the women who for all they say that they like you and want to spend time with you — if push comes to shove and they have to pick between their boyfriend and you? You get the shaft. This is the sort of woman who you lose contact with once they get married or have a boyfriend because suddenly there’s just not enough time in the world for them to hang out with you. Ten years down the line you might meet her somewhere and wonder just what made you think that the two of you were ever friends.

Then you start venturing into more subtle territory. The one who swears up and down that you’re just as important to her as her man — except when you aren’t. The one that you think is a true friend — except when you realize that you might be willing to donate a kidney to her but she’s certainly not willing to return the favor — but for her husband she would.

All of this boils down to one simple point: We women have no equivalent of the rallying call of “bros before hos” and we know it. As a woman, I know that I’m seen as competition by my own gender, that I’m never going to rank as highly as the spouse in the minds of my female friends, and so I’m less likely to want to even try to forge relationships that could prove as fragile as plaster. I don’t think I’m the only one, even if I’m the only person who will admit it aloud.

For those who are reading this and shaking their heads:

Would you agree to donate a kidney to a friend as quickly as you would agree to donate to your spouse? What about your liver?  Corneas?

How much more inconvenience in your life are you willing to suffer for your spouse than a friend?

How much more willing to compromise when it comes to dealing with your significant other?

How much less money are you willing to spend on maintaining the friendship if it is long-distance?

I was reading an article from the Gastronomica about the dearth of famous female chefs and the author said that the status quo needed to change.

Unless we start from the ground up, it’s not going to happen. Women aren’t ever going to manage to get the rights they deserve unless they manage to stop the in-fighting and manage to rally together for each other. I believe that we are our own worst enemies.

03.08.10

Gender, East-West gender and politic views and just general stupidity

Posted in Conventions, Ethics and morality, Feminism, Future, Gender, culture, life tagged , , at 7:21 pm by kyrias

A friend emailed me an article from the Economist. 

He asked me my thoughts on the article, and one thing really stood out to me: the author says that “most obviously, China should scrap the one-child policy”. 

I think that’s just rank stupidity talking. 

The authors says in the article that other countries without the one-child policy also suffer from a skewed sex ratio. This, to me, says that the one-child policy may be a significant cause in causing the numbers to be as ludicrous as 200 boys to 1 female, but it’s not fixing anything to scrap that policy. 

There’s a couple of problems with the entire situation:

For those couples who can afford multiple children, they’ll simply keep having children until they get their desired boy. If there is enough affluence, then this would just cause a population surge at worst and at best there would be more girls brought into this world to live in a world of passive abuse and neglect with names like “bringing brother” and “summoning brother” or “might as well keep feeding”. Yes, that last was actually a common name. 

For those who cannot afford to feed, clothe and school multiple children, then abortion is still the answer. As standards of living rise in China, more and more couples are realizing the immense amounts of money, time, and energy required to raise a child to be successful. With this in thought, it is more than likely that under those circumstances those people who would prefer sons would abort girls anyways to keep the best for their sons. 

In rural areas, I can all but see rag-tag armies of girls doing the chores, working in the fields, toiling whilst their brothers go to school. For a family who has to scrimp and save for tuition, the only person in the family who will go to school is, of course, the son. 

As a Chinese female, I would rather die than live in the above scenarios. It would be kinder to strangle me at birth or even much more humane to kill me in the womb. To live and be denied education, to be seen as lesser simply because of my gender, and to be seen as a breeder on legs? No thanks. 

Of course, others may not share my view. Others will probably think that life as a slave is better than death. That’s alright. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. 

Speaking as a Chinese woman living in today’s times seeing the gender inequality and the crimes that rise from it: bride-napping, sharing stolen wives between brothers, gang rape by villages of men who just want to breed their next generation of rapist sons — at this point I’m not even particularly keen on living in China. Sounds like a rather dangerous proposition to me, actually. 

It speaks rather eloquently to me that when the demand for women rises, violence against them also rises in proportion to said demand instead of more respect. Instead of having more choices, our lives are put in more danger. 

Nothing is going to change, not the sex ratio, not women’s rights, not anything unless some fundamental views are changed. Before that, perhaps scientists can comfort themselves that at least the numbers aren’t looking quite so horrible at the expense of having more people on the face of this earth — but nothing is fixed

It’s stupid, stupid, stupid to even think so.

06.02.09

Moar lulz

Posted in Feminism, Gender, Sexuality, culture tagged at 12:06 am by kyrias

So, my aunt and my mother and I had a little conversation the other day.

We came to the conclusion that it pretty much sucks to be a woman.

So, when a man has money, he has plenty of opportunity to cheat. Even if he doesn’t necessarily seek it out, there are plenty of women who will come sticking onto him like flies onto honey.

On the other hand, if a woman who has money wants to cheat — it’s comparatively harder. For one thing, men appear to be somewhat less enamored of being a kept man — at least I’ve never heard of men claiming that they wanted a sugar mommy whereas it’s pretty common to hear women talk about such things.

Further on that road, it seems that it’s more or less accepted if not lauded for a man to marry or date a much younger woman. However, if a woman tries the same, even if the man is a negligible five years younger to the twenty or so that is common amongst men who practice december-may matches — that’s somehow indecent.

In that vein — ugly and fat old rich men can find a nice, warm, willing cunt if he so wishes whereas a fat, old, wrinkled rich woman might find it comparatively harder.

Did you know that there’s actually entire detective agencies in Taiwan who center their entire business around finding the concubines of Taiwanese businessmen based in China?

Further more, did you know that supposedly there’s laws in China to protect the rights of said concubines? Purportedly there were so many women and children abandoned by their “husbands” that the government had to step in. Isn’t it telling that the Chinese government chose to semi-legalize adultery instead of telling the men and women that adultery is wrong wrong wrong?

And you know what takes the cake?

When there’s a dearth of men — we women have to work our asses off to get married. Consider the competitiveness women have towards each other. See the many ploys women employ.

Then see how when there’s a shortage of women — such as in inner China — men simply kidnap women from the coastal areas where they are more plentiful, because there’s more foreigners there, to sell to inner China to be wives to men who can’t otherwise find someone to bear their sons. Sometimes wives to multiple men who simply want sons. The concept of women getting more power because there’s less men as in “A brother’s price” ? Not really — not in China at least.

Fuck.

No wonder there’s some saying somewhere in Buddhism that states that you must’ve done something pretty bad in a past life to be born as a woman.

Fuck twice over.

05.08.09

On being intolerant and other matters…

Posted in Gender tagged , , at 12:32 am by kyrias

J, so far as I know, is trying to determine what her gender is1. She has, as far as I know, rejected being purely female and are heading somewhere else.

In the meantime, she uses a packing penis2, binds her breasts, and — uses the men’s restroom.

I would have nothing against this, if she were only a bit more consistent about it.

On the one hand, they cheerfully draw attention to themselves by doing things such as, plopping a box with a prosthetic penis in it onto the table in the student dining hall and exclaiming so that all and sundry can hear, “My penis finally came!” or going to the men’s restroom, or wanting to pee standing up, or etc.

On the other hand, she still goes to the women’s restroom at times, wears skirts on occasion, has worn boob-popping corsets in the past, and in general, confuses the fuck out of me.

The way I see it is, if she were more consistent about what she’s doing, then I’d have no problem accepting whatever she ultimately decides she is.

If she wants to use the men’s bathroom all the time because she feels like she really is male and don’t feel comfortable using the women’s bathroom, that’s fine. But swapping back and forth on her whim makes her position that much more precarious, and it makes me feel like even she’s not serious about her choice.

If you really want to pass off as male to the extent where you went and bought a prosthetic penis — then why are you wandering around in stereotypically feminine garb?

I feel, to a large extent, that she is undermining the credibility of other people who are trans-sexual or trans-gender. I feel that I can’t take her seriously, if she herself doesn’t appear to be taking herself seriously.

I also feel, to insist on doing things your way and ascribing it to “expressing your gender” and disregard how uncomfortable it makes others feel is just being inconsiderate.

I am not saying that people should not express their genders. However, Kell said the other day, “If I as a man, am not allowed to take out my penis and put it on the table because it would cause distress to other people — then they really shouldn’t do so and expect other people to react well.”

Granted, it’s a pretty big stretch, and I didn’t think that it was particularly apt — but I can see where he’s coming from. It’s not about not allowing expression of individualistic gender, but about — gender related conspicuous consumption, so to speak.

What I really have issue with is the concept of saying that they have the right to the men’s bathroom because they don’t identify with being female. Yet if they’re not passing themselves off as men, then isn’t it possible that the men would be uncomfortable if a random girl just walks into their bathroom? I don’t know that this has happened, but isn’t it possible that they would get perturbed at seeing a girl peeing at a urinal with a P-mate? How is it their “right” to do so without care for what other people think?

In the end, I have to say I’m more than slightly undecided on the entire matter.

It may be that I would have been or would be more accepting of whatever they’re doing if I had been given notice, “Hey, I’m experimenting with gender and I’m putting several concepts through their paces to see what works and what doesn’t”.

But at any rate, what I see is that they’re saying one thing and doing something that isn’t quite the same, and it makes me wonder if what they’re doing the entire movement a disservice.

Or maybe I’m just secretly incredibly intolerant. I don’t know.

1. I’d use ze or E, or one of the gender-neutral pronouns — but frankly I can’t keep them straight and she hasn’t really decided yet anyways.
2. Or if you want to be more politically correct, it’s a “prosthetic penis”.

04.03.09

There’s nothing like family

Posted in Gender, culture tagged , , at 8:41 pm by kyrias

– to make you hate yourself.

I’m sure my family would be horrified to know I felt this way.

I’ve always felt like the black sheep of the family. My mother’s side of the extended family, that is, since they’re the ones I had most contact with. They lived in Taipei or greater Taipei when my family lived there for three years whereas my father’s side of the family lived in southern Taiwan, about a 5~6 hour trip away.

Partially because instead of inheriting my mother’s beauty, I’m clearly my father’s daughter. Whilst my mother was the reigning belle of her school, my father was quite homely. He has grown distinguished since then, but he’s still not what one would casually call handsome. Whereas it seems that all of my female cousins on my mother’s side inherited their good looks.

Some of it is definitely because since I am the oldest female child, all the younger kids were told to look up to me. Unfortunately, I was never the model of decorum, nor did I particularly excel at academics. I often felt like somewhat of a fraud, especially as the family would not-so-quietly compare us. I was not as obedient as any of the other girl-children, not as tall or pretty or ladylike as one cousin, not as athletic or sunshine-y as another, and ultimately I invariably came short. Things got rather worse when it turned out that I was not only the shortest of all the children, but also horribly overweight.

Then there’s the quibble about my “Americanized” ways. Everything would be blamed on my parents having partially raised me in that heathen country. A country that knows nothing of filial piety, respect for their elders, the ideals of Confucious, or proper morals. Nothing could convince them that not everything was the dreadful taint of America talking.

There was something of a revolt when people learned that my parents were sending me off to the US. My grandfather had a huge fight with my parents about it, something about a western education being wasted on a mere girl. Then again, my grandfather is a dreadful troll — more on that later.

So now that I’m going back to visit — I’m feeling terribly apprehensive and somewhat vulnerable.

Not only am I unbiddable, short, less than stellar in academics, plain, fat, a hoyden, but unemployed to boot.

What was that about a hideously expensive education going to waste?

My family’s always had words about my parents being willing to send me to a private college in the US. Mostly because not only is a private college horrendously expensive even for USians — my parents were making RMB at that time. So considering that it was about 8 RMB to 1USD at that time, one can well imagine that amount of conniptions that were going around.

To a certain extent, I’m not looking forward to this at all.