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.

01.05.11

Won’t someone think of the chillens?!

Posted in Conventions, Feminism, culture at 12:51 am by kyrias

Warning: This blog post will now proceed to engage in the following potentially offensive and triggering activities: victim blaming, victim shaming, cursing, omnicidal intent, and incoherent rage-filled ranting. Continue at your own peril. I take no responsibility for whatever sensibilities might be offended. You have been warned.

C and I just had a fun little conversation where I ended up declaring that if I had access to a little red button that would end the human race, I’d hit it. I’d hit it so hard my wrist would break.

It all started out with the mention of how women at a certain workplace get let go when they fall pregnant.

I will not bore you with our rather longish convo log, but just state my conclusions because to be honest I’m in a frothing sort of rage right now and I can’t be arsed to go ahead and support all my statements with the facts:

I’m really surprised and disappointed that we women as a whole haven’t just closed our legs, sewn up our vaginas and refused to pop out more children unless things were changed. No comments from the peanut gallery about how that wouldn’t work because the mens would just force themselves upon the wimminz — it’s the principle that counts.

I like how we could chain ourselves to fences, to trees, to all sorts of things and endure all sorts of terrible treatment for voting, to save trees, so and so forth, but we’re just sitting here and taking it with regards to childcare and government support and gender inequality in the work place.

I like it because I see it as the result of socioeconomic strata at work again. The rich have enough money to throw at the problem so they can ignore it. The middle-class has dreams of becoming the upper class and being able to throw money at problems and somehow it’s just so gauche to complain that they just suck it up. The poor just take it up the ass, along with everything else.

It’s exactly like the organic food movement. The people who can afford to worry about where their food is coming from and how it’s grown aren’t exactly turning out in droves to fix the problem for everyone. No, they go to Whole Foods and help Whole Foods make a killing.

I just don’t understand it.

It’s not like any other issue where any one of us can stand aside and say “well, fuck it, this doesn’t affect me at all, so the rest of the world can go screw themselves”.

Everyone of us has a mother, some of us have sisters, a large number of us have daughters, and many of us have female spouses and at the very least has friends — gender inequality in the workplace affects you, affects the people you love, affects far too many people in your life — how the hell do people just stand aside and let it happen?

How?

C mentioned something about how the standing argument by the dumbasses is that it’s hard to argue for gender equality when the reality is that women are sometimes, maybe even often, semi-incapacitated (in terms of workforce labor) once they have the chillens.

All I have to say to that is: to explain why things are the way they are right now by saying this is how we failed women is like saying “Oh, I beat my wife up because she limps and isn’t fast enough at catering to my every whim. Oh, what’s that noise about how she wouldn’t be limping if I didn’t beat her to start off with? STFU, man, keep outta my srs bzness”.

To clarify: to complain that women often have to take sick days off to deal with their children, that women often are saddled with most of the childcare duties and so are somewhat more unreliable at work than men, to complain that often women are overworked in the house and so come to work with less than 100% is nothing but pure, fragrant, bullshit.

You know what?

I will think of the children.

I think that it’s better for the children if we just didn’t have anymore children until we cleaned up our act.

Fuck you assholes who see women as nothing more than cheap-ass brood mares that you can use and use and then throw to the knackers when you’re done.

12.26.10

Dear judgmental assholes who like to comment on my dating situation…

Posted in Racism tagged at 11:30 pm by kyrias

Caesura texted me the other day with:

…when I mentioned that I’d been dating someone from Taiwan for six years, she made a comment about how girls from Taiwan really seem to like white men.

Caesura called her out on it, but she wasn’t deterred and said something to the effect of: “…but it’s true!”.

My response?

Has anyone noticed that we’re in the US and Chinese men aren’t exactly thick on the ground here because Asians are what, 5% or less of the population? What does she expect me to do, go cradle robbing at BU?

Also, considering this was a Chinese woman, I would have dearly loved to have been there and been able to tell her: “I was in Shanghai for 6 years, at least, and during that time, no Chinese male showed any interest in me. To whine about my outsourcing for boyfriends is ridiculous. They’ve had their chance and they blew it.”

Besides, to generalize that way is stupid. not just because generalizations in general are stupid,  (harhar, see wat I did thar?), but because I don’t believe that mainlander Chinese girls are in any way shape or form less guilty of dating outside the race. It’s just that previous to this, they haven’t been coming here in droves for college because of socioeconomic reasons. So far as I can tell, the going abroad country of choice was the UK for the rich people back in the day and not the US and for the not quite as rich, they simply couldn’t afford the US.

I’m not quite sure if this offends me more or less than the comment that C apparently gets most from other men: “Asian chicks are hot!”

I think the default reaction to that should be: “My gf is actually 60 pounds overweight and a frigid bitch in bed. I only date her because I love her cooking and I’m a masochist who likes being whipped.”

That should turn them on their collective ears.

12.25.10

Thoughts on Christmas

Posted in culture, life tagged , at 4:31 am by kyrias

Note: I will sound like the worst sort of Grinch ever, so if you have a soft spot for X’mas, please go away and save us both the carpal tunnel and energy. Thanks.

I just realised something: I do not care to do X’mas, ever again.

I used to do it because I enjoy buying people presents and it was a good excuse to pamper the people I love without them freaking out about specific reciprocity.

Now? I figure that if they can’t deal with my giving them gifts, then they can really just suck it and shut up.

This said with all possibly fondness, mind you.

I guess I’ll just call it the generally accepted sanctioned time period of gift giving, or GASTPOGG.

Also, I’ve decided that I’m not telling my kids that there is a Santa. I’m not even going to hem and haw the way I originally thought I might.

The thing is, if I’m not willing to fudge on whether or not there is a Christian God, then why in the world would I worry about “depriving the poor dears of the wonder of childhood and believing in magic”? Seriously, I don’t think there’s very much more magical and wonder-ful than God, provided you believe in him, and if we’re taking that out of the equation, does Santa really matter that much in the grand scheme of things?

The poor darlings will just have to deal without this particular portion of love and wonder and magic.

Besides, I’m Asian — we don’t do Christmas.

Little tangent: The other day Zack and I were walking out of Walmart when a man shaking the Salvation Army bell heard me saying that I’m Asian and that I don’t do Christmas when complaining about how it was only the 17th and people were already slamming me in the face with their cultural imperialism. He then proceeded to yell: “Merry X’mas!” then “Merry merry X’mas!” then “Merry merry merry X’mas” at us. At last count before we left him behind, he was up to 8 merrys.

Azora, if you’re reading this, I won’t tell your children that there’s no Santa and I’ll try to keep mine from taunting yours about it too.

Furthermore, in response to the whole greed and capitalism bit of X’mas, I’m just going to submit that Santa is an anagram of Satan. Greed, after all, is one of the capital sins, no?

Convo between friend and I:

(2:07:03 AM) YourVillige: I have a santa hat and it makes me happy.
(2:08:10 AM) kyrias: yay!
(2:08:13 AM) kyrias: I’m glad it makes you happy.
(2:08:21 AM) kyrias: I’ve decided that I’m not doing x’mas anymore.
(2:08:29 AM) YourVillige: Too expensive?
(2:09:08 AM) kyrias: no, too dumb.
(2:09:12 AM) YourVillige: how so?
(2:09:36 AM) kyrias: the “wait, if I’m willing to deprive my children of the “wonder in the world” by telling them I don’t believe in the x’tian god, why the fuck would I ever consider telling them santa is real?” thought.
(2:09:47 AM) kyrias: also. I’m not even christian. why the fuck do I give a flying fuck?
(2:10:39 AM) YourVillige: Because without the presents you give every year, Santa couldn’t regenerate his health bar and the easter bunny’s assassination attempts might succeed next year.
(2:12:28 AM) kyrias: …that’s assuming I believe in the easter bunny who actually wants to give us all diabetes.
(2:13:57 AM) YourVillige: Right. Santa just wants to give us greed
(2:14:03 AM) YourVillige: I’d rather be greedy than diabetic
(2:14:13 AM) YourVillige: so I’ve chosen Santa’s side.
(2:15:31 AM) kyrias: that’s fair
(2:16:02 AM) kyrias: I’ve decided that, not being christian and thus being uninterested in general dichotomies for the sake of dichotomies, I’m going to disbelieve in both of them and thereby by-pass the problem.
(2:16:17 AM) YourVillige: I suppose that is also a valid solution.

All joking aside, here’s a little fic for your reading appreciation:

“Noelle Winters?”

“Yes?” Noelle turned towards the voice, one hand still fumbling around in her purse for her house keys.

“I’ve come to serve you with your contract with Nicholas ae Magi. You will find detailed within the parameters of your debt and the methods of repayment.” A man stood a couple of feet away, immaculately turned out in a white suit from the top of his golden head to the toes of his Italian leather loafers. Blue eyes gleamed from behind wire-frame glasses, the corners of his mouth tipped up in a friendly smile.

“I’m sorry, you must have the wrong person.” Noelle wrapped her fingers around her keys, grasping for a polite smile even as she slipped her other hand into her pocket for the mace.

The man shook his head. “Noelle Winters, age 19, daughter to Mary and John Winters. Attended St. Peters kindergarten through high school, now matriculating at Notre Dame University.

“You’ve got to be joking. Whoever you are. Is this someone’s idea of a joke?” Noelle backed into the door, yanking the canister of mace from her pocket and aiming it at the man.

“Nicholas ae Magi.” He bowed slightly, a sardonic twist to his mouth. He shook his head, the corners of his mouth turned down in mocking sorrow. “Now, now, my dear. We of the fey never take such things as debt lightly.”

“This is seriously not funny. If you don’t leave, I’ll be forced to use the mace on you.” Noelle’s hand visibly shook as she raised the mace higher.

Nicholas ae Magi’s body blurred for a second, twisting and distorting until a rotund man stood before her in traditional Santa Claus gear. The same blue eyes glinted at her from above the now bulbous nose and plump cheeks, his smile now bracketed by a set of full whiskers.

“But! Santa…gifts….good children…” Noelle sputtered, clearly at a loss for words.

Nick raised his eyebrows, blurring back to his dapper self. “You cannot tell me that you honestly thought that there was someone willing to give you gifts simply because you achieved the elusive and dubious goal of being good.”

Noelle’s mouth worked for a few seconds, but she soon lapsed back into silence, her teeth worrying at her lower lip.

“Everything has a price.” He leaned closer and whispered next to her ear, “Even for good little girls like you.”

“What do you want from me? Sell me into white slavery?” Her voice shook, husky with the threat of tears.

He contrived to look genuinely shocked, “Dear me, absolutely not. You’ll see. We have much better uses for you.”

She opened her mouth to scream, but his hand clamped over her face, blocking both her voice and breath. Before she fell into the darkness, she heard a voice chiding her gently, “Now why did you go doing that for? After your impeccable behaviour all these years too…”

12.11.10

Racefail Elizabeth Moon

Posted in Racism at 12:10 am by kyrias

Many people have already spoken long and eloquently on this particular racefail, so I will not go into the line by line stupidity.

Or, I reserve the right to go back on that and line by line if I so wish to illustrate a point — but really, Elizabeth Moon’s post is made of so much eye-bleeding fail that to look upon it is as if to look upon the misshapen visage of a fallen god. The mind simply cannot comprehend it.

Tangent: I will comment that clearly I need to write a story in which the Europeans had a failure to thrive problem, never colonized the wide swathes of land that they did, and the Chinese took over everything and implemented a most glorious, brilliant, and amazing dynastic rule upon every one. There was a better idea which I mentioned to Thene which sadly I have misplaced. Never fear. I daresay that writing the opus of how much more interesting and lovely the world would be if the Chinese had only taken hold of it would occupy me for time enough.

To me, if you cannot see the fail inherent in Moon’s post, then really, please go elsewhere as I do not wish to speak to you.

What I really want to address in this post is the question of censorship, book burning, and so forth.

On boycotting Elizabeth Moon: I find it entertaining that some people are offended at the idea of boycotting Moon’s works. I work very hard for what money I do earn and I find it ludicrous that people would presume to tell me how to spend it. I have never read Moon’s books and so the decision is clear for me: I will not support with my hard-earned money someone who is quite that failastic. I will also refrain from even borrowing her books from the library because I both do not want to be sucked into perhaps liking her books and therefore wanting to buy them and I also don’t want her books to gain any more popularity than they already have. If I borrow a book from the library, the library will see it as just one more person who has interest in her books and that might influence whether or not they purchase a copy of her book down the road.

If you will not tell a vegetarian that they are horrible, terrible people for refusing to eat meat from animals that have been mistreated their entire lives and then had their lives taken from them in a most brutal fashion — please keep your mouth shut about the boycott. If you would say such thing to a vegetarian, then you are insane and I don’t wish to talk to you anyways. Voting with my dollars is entirely constitutional and you can take that right from my cold dead fingers.

On the guest of honor to WisCon bit: Are you people out of your god-damned minds? To allow such a deluded, misguided, and just wrong sort of person to be a guest of honor to anywhere, much less a convention boggles my brain. No, we do not need to “rise above and be a better person”. To keep the GOH invitation is actually silencing to many more people who have a more precarious position than she does. Clearly, she is not negatively influenced by this dis-invitation, whereas I speak from the point of a POC when I say that I would in no way shape or form feel comfortable in a venue where she was a GOH. She should feel free to spout her beliefs as she wishes, but I draw the line at honoring her as a guest. Someone said very intelligently that it is all too easy to say that she should still come so she could have the chance to expound upon her views more clearly and keep her god-damn freedom of speech when you’re not the people being so grossly insulted. It is not suppressing speech or book-burning or any of the ridiculous hyperbole people have chosen to utilize. And for people to speak about suppression after Moon deleted all the comments on her blog? Brilliant irony, thanks. I’d like to ask who among those hyperbolic idiots in the comments above would feel as sanguine if a GOH voiced views bashing Americans and whites in general? Doubt it.

We are not silencing her. As evidenced by the 500 or so responses on her blog, she’s read, and people pass her words along. If no convention ever invites her to be a GOH again, she’ll still be read. In fact, there are those who have started reading her out of backlash against the people condemning her. To say that we’ve harmed her in any way is ludicrous. If anything, the brouhaha has possibly netted her more readers than she had before.

Dis-inviting her is not merely a radical politically correct action. It’s an endeavour to make people who are already marginalized far too much feel less silenced than they already are. It’s an effort for WisCon to distance themselves from her because god-fucking-dammit, they should have the right to dis-invite someone who would have an adverse influence on the event and who espouses views they don’t agree with. It’s also perfectly reasonable and adult and rational to expect that when you are wrong, you lose out on certain things. You wouldn’t sanction a three-year old throwing a tantrum and then rewarding him, would you?

In all?

I’m glad that WisCon made that decision. If they had kept her as a GOH, I would have written it off as somewhere I would never want to go.

As for me? Someone said it best when they said that Moon isn’t just talking to the Muslims or the POCs or ______, she’s talking to all of us wierdos who refuse to assimilate and be good, quiet, little Christian, white people.

Fuck that noise.

11.11.10

Differences of experiences with racism in Au versus US.

Posted in Racism at 5:41 pm by kyrias

Thene linked me to a page the other day of a woman speaking of her experiences with racism, and I found it very, very interesting. It’s a pity that I don’t know the nationality of this woman, because I suspect that would give me a little more insight into what she writes about. I’m inferring that she’s Chinese, btw, which makes aspects of what she’s saying doubly interesting in certain regards.

Couple of thoughts regarding what she’s saying:

So, in related subjects, I was told the other day to tone down my dressing, lest I appear to exude the air of a Filipina or Indonesian when with my white boyfriend.

I find that I’m often told that I need to be more fashionable, to not look like I’m an immigrant from China that’s fresh off the boat. Not that the Chinese girls I know nowadays look anything like what they used to. In fact, all of them are pretty much dressed to the nines. Probably because most of them are filthy rich, but then again, socio-economic distinction has always been key in dealing with racism.

Let’s break it down as to why I’m angry: common image of a Filipina/Indonesian = lower education, flashy in appearance, need a ticket out of the country of origin, looking for marriage as a consequence. Internal class hierarchy adopted by Asians in order of rank, from highest to lowest: Japanese, Korean, Chinese (roughly sub-arranged by country of origin: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, China), and every other nationality after that can fight it out. If I dress overly childish/trashy/loud and make my hair big and otherwise fuss over my appearance, I look like a mail order bride. I need to snare the white man. I am erasing my own middle class-ness, Chineseness and postgraduate degree in whatever by engaging in ‘look at me’ dress. Also times when I wish I could avoid the racial stereotype of Asian women – money digging, sexual nymphet – and just be somebody who dresses weird.

Again, I find that I’m expected to put more thought into my dress. It’s actually considered lower-class of me to just throw on whatever and leave my hair straight and uncolored.

What I really disagree with is that blanket statement that there is an internal class hierarchy adopted by Asians — insofar as there is not one internal class hierarchy but many. I find that generalization problematic.

For example, from dealing with the Chinese students who came to the US this year?

I’d say that their hierarchy runs along the lines of: Chinese > everything else Asian

The Taiwanese give me the impression that Japanese > Taiwanese > Korean > Mainland China > everything else.

But these are all my impressions, so they could very well be wrong.

At any rate, I find the fact that Koreans are placed above the Chinese to be immensely interesting. I wouldn’t have thought that in any case.

Perhaps this is the internal hierarchy for Asians who are second generation and more who live in Australia?

For me, this brings to mind the problem with having a dialogue with anyone about race — all of us have such different experiences that it can even be hard to find common ground talking about microaggressions like this. Now, of course, most of us can relate to the larger issues, but the smaller ones are where the strangeness comes in.

06.04.10

…and there was drama

Posted in culture tagged , , , , at 2:31 pm by kyrias

One of these days, there will have to be a very sad, very drama-laden, angst-ridden discussion with my parents about why I don’t think that my depression will ever get any better if they keep acting the way they do. I was just going to say that my depression is unlikely to get any better, ever, if I keep living with them, but their arms reach a bit father than that and to ignore that is to be stupid.

It all started today when suddenly, after I’ve been talking about moving back to Somerville for the summer for a while and nothing had been said to the contrary — my mother suddenly pops the topic, phrased in a “your home is here and you should stay here” manner.

Then there was the usual cultural crap; the “I won’t lie to the relatives for you” crap; the “omg, what will the Chinese people we know say?!” crap… etc etc etc.

Finally, at the end of my tether, I snapped out that I could just get married and solve all her problems.

See, there’s a Chinese phrase called 嘴贱, which literally translates to “mouth inexpensive / despicable”, but which actually means that someone just doesn’t know when to shut up. No mind-mouth filter. No tact. But it can also mean someone who trolls, who deliberately says inflammatory things.

Yeah. That would be me sometimes. Granted, it’s sort of hard not to trigger things with my parents, but you would think that I would have learned better by now.

Um, clearly not.

As a direct result of that retort, there was more talking at me. The usual topics came up again:

  • Now is not a good time to get married because you and C both have crappy jobs with no real job security and you don’t make enough money.
  • You’re fat and so if you don’t shape up, C will ditch you for someone else later when he’s seen more of the world and realized what a bad deal he’s getting.
  • The Bad Deal consisting of having a wife who doesn’t want to work outside the home, therefore being a life-crushing burden and giving him additional stress over being the sole provider of the family, having to put up with someone who is sickly, stressed, and depressed.
  • Putting all your eggs in one basket (C) is stupid and haven’t you seen enough TV or read the news or opened a book lately?
  • If you get married now, don’t anticipate any well-wishes from us.
  • ….more reiterations of variations upon the above points ad nauseum.

…where to even begin?

I didn’t know where to even begin and so I didn’t bother defending myself.

My depression and stress will probably not get better under their roof or under their tender mercies because that is how they see me.

Not having a conventional job and lacking the ambition to have a high-powered career apparently makes me lackluster, boring, and stagnant. In their eyes, I’m a burden, a defective product that needs to be fixed.

I swear, it is on these days when I just want to tell them I’m done. I’m utterly done. Tell them to stop trying to help me because all it’s going to do is drive me closer to the brink and watch out because I’m going to jump.

I was upset because despite my lovely, neat 5 year plan, it turns out that they’re going back to Taiwan once my brother gets into college. Therefore, there would be no one to look after the kids on weekends, so if I kept this job, I wouldn’t have any weekends for 10 months. I didn’t think I’d want to keep this job if it meant I would have to deal with spoiled rich kids day in and day out for 10 solid months.

Now, I think it’s probably for the best if they went back to Taiwan, because I am so tired of this constant bullshit. Maybe if they went back to Taiwan, then I’d stop getting the “this is your home because you’re not married yet” talk. Maybe I could have a social life again without them constantly harping on how I’m utterly consumed by my obsession with my friends, about how I revolve around them and have no properly grounded existence of my own. Maybe we could stop having these talks about how disappointing I am, how much of a failure I am, and why won’t I just get a nice job so they could quit worrying about me.

Something else that came up was that apparently my brother and my parents all think I won’t survive it if C dumps me. Therefore I need to find a job to center myself so when I get dumped, I can bury myself in my job and think that “hey, it’s not so bad after all, at least I still have a job and therefore am not a total failure”.

Too many things wrong with that assumption to even parse. Just. Too. Many. Damn. Things. Wrong. with that sentence.

I swear, what I won’t survive is their particular brand of tender loving care. Yes, lets destroy my ego for breakfast and confirm once and for all that I’m a failure in all things. That’s exactly the sort of thing I need.

After this debacle, I have decided that I need to find a job in Boston for the summer. If I’m working at a summer job, then I have a proper reason to be in Boston, and so they can’t quibble about it, right?

Even if not, I’m going to find a volunteer gig of some sort and not go back more than 2-3 days a week if I can help it. I’ll bloody offer to stand on the street asking for donations if I have to. In fact, I’m just going to not go back except for two days out of the week and then see what happens.

If it wasn’t that they’d probably be paying me better this year than I’d be making at an entry level job, and if it weren’t that I promised I’d take on the students — I’d be looking for an entry level job right now. Just so I can move back into Boston. Just so I can prove that I can find a job if I have to. Just so they can bloody shut up about how I’m going to end up starving on the streets.

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:

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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.

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