As a kid, I was used to standing out for lots of reasons, like my “Star Wars” obsession or the black eyeliner and vampire chic that made up my high school wardrobe.
I never expected my race to be one of those reasons.
I grew up as an Asian-American among Asian-Americans, so I certainly wasn’t used to being viewed as what we English Lit majors call “the exotic other.” Even when I went to college in St. Louis, it wasn’t that much of a problem. I did go on a date with a guy who went on about his trip to Japan and the extreme “femininity” of its women, but that was about it.
It wasn’t until I moved to the UK that it kicked in: men – and it was always men – shouting “NEE HOW MA” or “KOH-NEE-CHEE-WAAAH” or even “Me love you long time!” as I walked down the street; starting conversations with “Soooo … are you from … China?” before they’d even asked my name; playing up their supposed interest in Asian culture while going on about how “feminine” and beautiful Asian women are. Keep reading »
At the age of three, I already didn’t want to be a girl. I saw from watching my mom what it was like to be a grown-up girl and it didn’t look good. Here are the few memories from childhood that I hadn’t managed to suppress:
We came home once to find our apartment ransacked by burglars. I was forced to drink powdered milk everyday, which I hated. My dad chasing my mom with a big knife into the kitchen. My brother and I, who were kneeling facing the wall as punishment for who-knows-what, turned and watched them run by. Screaming. My dad coming in the bathroom interrupting me and my brother taking a shower together. He came in to punish my brother, hitting him on the butt. My brother remembers us hiding under the dining table while chairs were being thrown around. Apparently my dad used to bring women home, even when my mom was home.
Needless to say I was a sad little kid. By the time I escaped to the U.S. at age six I told myself my life starts now and never to look back. Keep reading »
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they’re untrue but they are incomplete.” — Chimamanda Adichie
Let’s play a game. It’s called Guess The Race.
Gentleman A was a hard partier. He did a lot of drugs and drinking in his youth. He almost failed out of college. He had a tumultuous relationship with his parents. He was in tremendous debt. He had a huge sense of entitlement. As he got older, he rarely exercised and gained weight. He cheated on his wife.
Gentleman B never drinks or does drugs. He prefers an evening at home programming or watching TV. If he stays out late, it’s to see a movie, listen to music, or talk about computers with his friends. He graduated from college in three years. He’s extremely fit. He always carries heavy loads. He cooks.
Which one is Asian? Which one is white? Keep reading »
See that older white man over there with the younger Asian woman on his arm? That might not be love—that might be an Asian lady fetish. Author Ying Chu suspects as much, a subject she explores via an uncomfortable trend piece in Marie Claire about rich men like Rupert Murdoch and Woody Allen and the ladies she suspects are their “Asian trophy wives.”
“…[A]fter two or three failed attempts at domestic bliss with women of like background and age, these heavy hitters sought out something different. Something they had likely fetishized.”
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Most of us have some body hangup, whether we hate our hair (“Too curly!” “Too straight!”) or bodies (“My boobs are too small!” “My boobs are too big!”). For many Asian women, it’s the lack of an eye crease — some Asians don’t have defined indentations above their eye, which is called a “double eyelid.” The trouble, women claim, is that this “single eyelid” look makes them appear tired or mad.
Eye surgery is a very popular procedure, but now the Japanese have created a product to fix this “problem,” at least temporarily: Koji Technical Eye Tape. The tape can be applied on top of makeup in the morning to create this coveted “deep lid” look. While it sounds wacky, it’s probably not any weirder than other things we do in the name of beauty. And it’s a lot less dramatic than going under the knife. What do you think? [Koji Technical Eye Tape, Amazon] Keep reading »