posted by missmsian
I feel like I’ve blogged about skin lightening before. Oh, wait … I have.
posted by ellephanta/Celine
I told my mother that I wanted to be an actress a long time ago, and she said, I support you no matter what you do, but here are two things about it you should consider before making that decision and pursuing it.
1. A woman’s beauty is prone to constant decay in the eyes of the society, and this is extremely the case when it comes to show business, which is aggressively superficial. It wants a specific kind of beauty and as a result, my professional career will depend entirely on the judgment of others. Intelligence and wisdom, however, knows no gender and it is certain and relatively within your control. It doesn’t decay with time, it only deepens and widens, and it is certainly a better horse to bet on.
2. Being a colored person, you will not get the title roles. You will get to be the title character’s best friend or brief love interest. If you do get a role, you will often be expected to discuss your identity as a racial minority, either insultingly vaguely or painfully in depth. It will be used against you everywhere. This is painfully wrong, but it will happen because show business is a place run by people who will do that to a colored person, for an audience that will eat it up exactly as is and demand more of the same. If it’s hard to make it as an actress, it is unimaginably harder to be a colored actress.
This was really painful to hear, not because I was that invested in wanting to be an actress (I had basically wanted to be everything in those days, from a teacher to a rock star) but because I realized in my young age that the North American promise of “endless opportunities and infinite possibilities” was a gross exaggeration.
There is a reason why there aren’t enough Azn/colored people in the media, why there are so few out there for the casting directors to hire (“well, bring me a sexy Azn girl who’s right for the role, we’ll hire her for sure!”). It’s because most casting directors don’t want them.
posted by ellephanta/Celine
This very interesting stereotype about asian parents unwilling to let their offsprings date or associate with white people (or any other race besides their own), I think suggests in subtle ways that “well, asians are racists too”.
But of course. Asians are capable of doing and saying racist things and holding racist beliefs. Or did you think that they were objects that are incapable of thinking, screwing up, changing, learning?
My race certainly doesn’t immune me from being racist towards my own race or any other race. It’s our actions, not our identities themselves that are either racist or not. I certainly run into a lot of racism (against white people, black people, etc.) in, for example, the Korean first generation immigrants community in Toronto (the one I’m most familiar with), especially in our parents’ generation (people of our generation are often just as bad, but in a subtler and different ways than our parents’, something I hope to write about at one point in the future) that remain thoroughly uninformed on race theory and the marginalized status of racialized people in our community.
But consider this: Most of those in Toronto’s Korean community with language barriers separating them from anybody who is not a Korean-speaking Korean are effectively segregated from the rest of Toronto, like a bubble in the middle of a bustling metropolis. I think this has real negative consequences. This certainly does not aid them in dispelling their messed up preconceptions about whole races of people — which, by the way, was first conceived by them through messed up representations in media, their one of very few source of contact with non-Koreans — and instead, as a small town might, intensifies xenophobia and other in-group out-group attitudes.
My parents have lived here for ten years and they do not have a single friend who is an English-speaking white person. This is not closed-mindedness on their part, but simply a refusal to take shit from people. They rightfully don’t want to be patronized because they’re grown-ass adults of remarkable intelligence and insight, but every encounter they have had with white people, they were patronized. They don’t want to be treated like “an identity” and they don’t want their failure to speak fluent English to mean that people can treat them like children – but every encounter they have had with white people in Toronto, they felt like they were in kindergarten – so they got fed up and quit. I’m not sure if I condone them quitting, but at the very least I understand it.
My parents have always been committed to feminism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-ablism, anti-nationalism, pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, anti-classism, anti-war, free speech, and freedom of religion (yes, even before they moved here and were “enlightened” by the flourishing “multiculturalism” in Toronto) as all of their friends back in Korea have been. They’re brilliant and kind and wise and in love with humanity and I love them very much, even though they’re super flawed as we all are and we fight often (my dad sometimes gets weirdly nationalistic when his masculinity is threatened but then my mom calls him on it), they are way more open and caring than a lot of young people I met at Queen’s University.
They’ve always been critical of bigotry in South Korea, and now of what they find in Canada and the U.S., as they obviously should and would be, given that they’re sane — just as a sane white person would be of their community if it is racist, anti-feminist, etc. My parents and their friends don’t give a crap about the race of the people their offsprings date as long as they’re cool and awesome, as they should. As white people should too. As any sane people should. They’re not exceptions to the rule (“asians have racist beliefs, and Celine’s parents are exceptions”) because there is no rule. One just think there is because they just love putting a whole race of people in an imaginary group and generalizing about them.
posted by missmsian
My old feminist self wants to kick my newly non-feminist self a little for thinking this. But this week’s Kardashianesque scandal about a former Citibank worker who was allegedly fired for being too hot to handle is, well, a little hard to handle.
Debrahlee Lorenzana says her male managers told her to stop wearing turtlenecks, fitted suits and heels because they were “easily distracted” by her figure.That’s completely inappropriate. It’s their own problem if they can’t keep their eyes in check. That part’s easy.
The harder part (it usually is) is understanding the media coverage. Lorenzana has announced she wants to sue Citibank because they essentially stopped her from wearing business outfits. However, most of the news articles have accompanying photos of Lorenzana posing in completely unrelated outfits, baring cleavage.
Whether or not she was subjected to sexism at work, she’s definitely being subject to it in the media now.
“Before she was bounced by Citygroup, busty banker Debrahlee Lorenzana sent the interest rate soaring – among male fans eager to catch a glimpse of her assets.” — a New York Daily News article, June 4, 2010
Entering murky waters; cue Jaws theme.
I can’t decide if she’s been doubly victimized (by her managers and the media) or if she’s a marketing genius. I mean, she agreed to the sexy photos, right?
It’s also disappointing so few people have brought up the fact that this entire debacle has reinforced traditional Western beauty standards. Every story I found described Lorenzana’s 5’6, 125-lb frame. Her wavy brown hair. Her perfectly tanned (note: but not dark!) skin. Her bodacious bod. We get it.
Some sites are actually polling readers on whether she’s too hot to handle. The implication is obvious: okay, she’s hot, but how hot?
I post up almost the same measurements as Lorenzana, although I’m about 1″ shorter, 15 lbs lighter and have a smaller frame. I would be considered non-traditional or “exotic”. Would Lorenzana’s issue ever come up for me?