When you compliment a random woman who doesn’t know you, no matter how nice you are about it, there’s a good chance she’s going to freak out internally because for all she knows, you could be that latter type. And I get that it’s really unfair that women would just assume that about you. I get that it sucks that sometimes, expressing totally reasonable opinions like “hey you’re hot” will make women terrified of you or furious at you. That’s not fair.
But if you’re going to lay the blame for that somewhere, for fuck’s sake, don’t blame the woman. Blame all the guys who have called her a bitch and a cunt for ignoring their advances. Blame all the guys who may have harassed, abused, or assaulted her in the past. Blame all the people who may never do such a thing themselves, but who were quick to blame her and tell her to just get over it. Blame the fact that if she stops and talks to you and then something bad happens, people will blame her for stopping and talking to you.
Libby Anne, “How I Lost Faith in the ‘Pro-Life’ Movement”
This quote just about sums it all up for me. You can’t advocate for the rights of an unborn zygote without subsequently infringing on the rights of the mother carrying it.
My personhood is worth more than my ability to bear children. The fact that I have a uterus should not make me less deserving of the right to make my own healthcare decisions.
Women make a multitude of decisions that impact the course of their lives. Some of these decisions are specific to marriage or partnership, career, education, and children. It seems, however, that out of all of the decisions that a woman makes in her lifetime, there is no choice that comes to define her as more “naturally” feminine than her decision to become a mother. The concept of motherhood is so tightly associated with female identity that we’re unable to conceive of a woman who has children and regrets doing so – or who chooses not to have children at all.
There is something about “choosing” not to become a mother that is tied to this ideology of motherhood as a feminine imperative. It’s as if choosing not to have children is choosing not to be feminine, and a woman choosing not to be feminine is a tough pill for people to swallow. Not surprisingly, a Canadian study has found that approximately half of women in their forties who made the decision to remain childfree declined to share with people that their decision was…a decision. The study found that this was because of the social pressure they believed they would receive if they disclosed that they were childfree by choice. It seems that even those of us who choose to remain childfree often keep this decision to ourselves, because we understand that there is an unwritten social contract that comes along with being a woman – not keeping our end of the bargain is something that people judge us for, so why share it?
Recently, a study conducted by sociologist Julia McQuillan found that distress over not having children is something that women only experience if motherhood is meaningful or important to them. Voluntarily childfree women feel little distress over their decision, regardless of what their family or friends think about their choice. This may seem like an obvious argument – of course women who want to conceive and are unable to do so will experience distress. But if a woman does not get a promotion at work or doesn’t get into the college of her choice, she doesn’t typically receive the same kind of judgment from society and doesn’t typically feel the same type of distress that comes along with not being able to experience motherhood. This is because those achievements and failures are not explicitly tied to gender, and by extension, femininity the way that motherhood is. Nicole Verdes, “Inconceivable!: Detaching Motherhood From Femininity,” The Feminist Wire 4/21/13 (via racialicious)
gunzwei-deactivated20130429 asked: I liked your post on enculturation. Might I suggest a slight critique. The process isn't just making someone "american" but also enforcing a whole new value system on them. This can include appearance, gender roles, language, and every aspect of identity in general. It can also leave a lasting effect of feeling like your own views don't matter (self-doubt). The concept originates with how to subjugate a conquered nation after a war and integrate it into an empire.
Yes! I completely agree - especially with that sense of self-doubt coupled with the lower sense of self-worth as a Vietnamese girl in America.
I also had another thought the other day about how well I actually did become integrated/assimilated and the privileges that allowed me to do so versus my peers. Have you read/studied anything on the impact of economics on assimilation within immigrant communities? I mean, just to start I can already recognize how my family’s economic background allowed us to live in a primarily white suburban neighborhood, adopt a “whiter” lifestyle, consume “white” products, etc. And those details matter as a young girl trying to fit in! My friends in grade school were primarily white, I wore certain brands (Abercrombie, Gap, American Eagle, etc.), rarely used slang found in urban communities, and could afford luxuries like braces that made me while not whiter per se, but definitely more acceptable (prettiness is a privilege!). And in retrospect, I can confidently identify these details growing up as the reasons why many of my friends always told me I was “different”, and that I wasn’t “like other Asians”.
#gunzwei, I hope you’re okay that I posted this, but it is a meaningful discussion to me, and I’d like you to be able to continue and others to join!
I’ll state the obvious: you shouldn’t get consent because it’s sexy. You should get consent because it’s the only way to be certain that you’re not assaulting someone, and not assaulting someone is the only way to be a minimally decent human being. If getting consent is also a huge turn-on, that’s great, but it’s just the icing on the wonderful cake that is not assaulting people.
NYC is beautiful, but consent isn’t sexy - it’s required.
a little white lie
When I was younger I used to pretend to not remember growing up in Vietnam. I was born in Saigon and immigrated to the U.S. when I was 4. In school, when anyone would ask me about Vietnam and my cultural background I would giggle and not say much about it. I wanted to be like everyone else - born in America, American, “cool”, “popular”, … white.
I don’t even remember who taught me this shame or what events lead me to feel insecure about my upbringing and heritage. I was so young!
I realized something else recently. In the past when someone would ask me how long I lived in Vietnam, I would say “3 years”. My justification was that I had *just barely* turned 4 when I moved to the U.S. I’ll walk you through the math. “Just barely 4” really rounded down to 3. 3 is less than 4. Less time in Vietnam meant more time in America. Less Vietnamese meant more American.
At such a young age, I had already such a strong perception of what it would take for me to succeed in my new environment. So much that I slowly began the erasure of my ethnic identity.