Let’s Talk About Body Image For Asian American Women

In a tug of war between two cultures, many Asian American women are left in the dark.

Asian American women deal with pressure from all levels on body image. (See: Kita – Addicted to Tanning)

Navigating body size and image as an Asian American woman, especially as a daughter of immigrant parents can be difficult,” says Rachel Kuo from Everyday Feminism.

Asian Americans often come from two different cultures: their cultural heritage and the American culture. Because of that, Asian Americans feel ambivalent, caught in the ambiguity of the in-between. For women in this community, body image is a large issue.

The Cultural Pressure from Asia

The ideal woman in East Asia is feminine, slim, and pale-skinned. I only saw women who fit these standards in film, media, and advertisements when I visited Japan and Taiwan. Selling fat-burning pills? I would see a beautiful, slim woman with a bottle of pills in her hands on a poster. It sends out the message that beauty is the norm. It’s supposed to be effortless.

Because of that, being overweight is synonymous with laziness and lack of self-care. In East Asia, people are quick to point out your weight in casual conversations under the veil of concern. If you’re overweight, how can you find yourself a partner? These kinds of words reinforce how beauty is used as a tool to oppress people, especially women.

While it’s true that East Asian people are genetically predisposed to health concerns, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, having a lower body mass index (BMI) than their Caucasian counterparts doesn’t dismiss the issue of body-shaming under the excuse of health. Unfortunately, the body size isn’t the only problem in East Asian societies.

The skincare and cosmetics industries in these countries also feed into this beauty standard through popular products such as skin-lightening cream, sunscreen, and foundation.

In South Korea, the country where K-beauty originated from, extensive skincare and makeup routines are seen as normal — a form of self-care. While that may be true to a certain extent, the pressure to maintain a perfect body and the resulting “Escape the Corset” movement demonstrate the oppressiveness of South Korean society.

From my understanding, pale skin symbolizes wealth because it means a person didn’t have to work under the sun. The conflation between skin tone and beauty comes from a historical context when rich people had the luxury to earn money in ways other than farming. This holds true even today in East Asia, as evident by celebrities and models in China, South Korea, and Japan.

 

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What Happens When Your Girlfriend Finds Out You’re into Trans Women

When cis women find out the men they love are also attracted to trans women, their reactions can be devastating.

Wen’s girlfriend never expected to see transgender porn on his phone. No one knew he’d been hiding his attraction to trans women since middle school. Despite the discretion, deep down, Owen optimistically hoped his fear was unfounded; “I always figured she’d find out and be so accepting that I’d feel like I never should have hidden it,” he said. He was wrong.

Instead, Owen’s girlfriend was devastated, the 22-year-old recalled. At first, she cried and interrogated him: Was he gay? Was she just a prop for him to look straight? Why did he hide this from her? Then, she got mean. Over the course of a month, Owen said she used his sexuality as a weapon against him. According to Owen, she pitilessly mocked him, remarking on how disappointed he must be that she doesn’t have a dick. He obviously “wanted to be a bottom,” he recalled her saying; to “get a good fucking.” Sometimes, when they were intimate, Owen said that she would climb on top of him and mockingly simulate fucking him in the ass.

She ended the relationship in March. Though she didn’t say, Owen knows why: “What did my attraction to trans women have to do with my attraction to her, a cis woman?”

Owen lives in Upstate New York, and was taught to respect trans people from an early age, he said. But the shame he received from his girlfriend made him question himself. “I immediately tried to change, [after] six-plus years of loving myself,” he said. “I unfollowed all the trans girls on Instagram and Twitter.” He stopped watching trans porn, too.

But abstinence was ineffective. “It just made me desire trans women more,” Owen said. “I couldn’t go back.”

He’d love to have a healthy, public relationship with a trans woman. But it feels unlikely. He doesn’t really know where to meet trans women, and if his next girlfriend is a cis woman, he expects to keep this secret from her. The trauma of being shamed by his ex has marked him with paranoia. If found out again, he’s afraid he’d be ostracized completely, “scarlet letter style.”

Owen is one of the countless men who are attracted to trans women but are too afraid to say so publicly. I’ve reported on this for years, but the coverage rarely draws these men out of hiding. In July, though, an interview I conducted with four straight guys inspired many such men to speak up, across the internet, onto countless social media timelines, and in emails to me. Their reasons for hiding may seem obvious, a blend of homophobia and a fear of being stripped of their masculinity.

But there is another source of pressure to conceal trans-amorous desire that may be even more powerful, yet has long gone unspoken. I have seen it myself many times over since I first transitioned—and I saw it again quite recently, wrapped up in many of the notes men wrote after reading my article. They had all been impaired by the same, devastating rejection by cis women in their lives.

Owen’s story is the most typical example of this rejection, and perhaps the most damaging, but the stigma against trans amory is much more complex than that story alone. The rejection doesn’t always come in the form of transphobia. Sometimes, it’s a matter of misguided advocacy.

Allie, a 31-year-old cisgender woman in London, was in an open relationship when she learned her boyfriend was attracted to trans women. At first, she wasn’t upset. Allie has many trans friends and considers herself an ally. But her commitment to that alliance began to disrupt her understanding of her partner’s sexuality. Allie began to worry that her partner was a fetishist, dehumanizing trans women as sexual objects—what’s known in the LGBTQ community as a “chaser.”

That’s shorthand for “tranny chaser,” a term referring to men who secretly fuck trans women, and fetishize us as pornographic fantasy objects: chicks with dicks self-created for male consumption. This is how we’re typically treated by men, and have been for decades. Understandably, many trans people reject empathy for them. We’re forced to endure expansive social assault every day, while they literally hide from it. Trans culture is defined by resilience, theirs is defined by fear and a pattern of sexual discretion that at best breeds mutual loneliness, and at worst violence.

“I was really concerned that having a specific attraction to trans femininity meant essentially disqualifying trans women from total womanhood,” Allie said. “An attitude I saw on the internet a lot was that anyone who was specifically attracted to transness or trans people was a chaser and that chasers are gross and horrible and objectifying.”

[If you’re a cisgender man who is attracted to trans women and want to share your story, contact diana.tourjee@vice.com (you can keep your story anonymous).]

Rather than outright, angry rejection, Allie told me that her failure to her partner was quieter, spread over time. “This little internal conflict I was having was actually on a path to destroying my relationship,” she said.

This is the danger in stereotyping all trans amorous men as chasers. Many are just discovering their sexuality, or finally, want to be honest about who they are. They may well be living with severe anxiety or depression due to their reasonable fear. So the outright rejection of all men expressly interested in trans women ultimately alienates whatever a number of trans amorous men are capable of, or actively are trying to overcome that fear. The men in this article are not chasers. They’re an example of people who desire an authentic, fulfilling connection with trans women; rejecting them has only caused harm.

Allie finally realized the unfairness of her position. “Like a lot of imperfect people who want to improve the world, I am imbued with a sense of moral outrage that sometimes inadvertently motivates me to speak over the people I’d want to advocate for.” People like the trans woman that her partner is currently dating: “If she feels loved for who she is in every way, including for her transness, and doesn’t mind that my partner likes that about her—then how the fuck is it my business?”

Although well-meaning, Allie said she now realizes that her thinking was flawed and based on the idea that anyone who loves trans women is abnormal—an idea nearly as harmful as thinking that trans women themselves are abnormal.

“They’re two sides of a coin,” Allie said, “the total value of which is that transfeminine people have a desire for them negated completely.”

Whatever the motivation behind the rejection, it’s clear that the shaming can have deeply harmful, lasting, and violent effects—for both men, and for trans women.

For Lucas, a 40-year-old man from Brazil, the consequence has been a lifetime of depression. He’s been attracted to, and dated, trans women since he was a teenager, but, neither friends nor family knew or know about it, he said. In 2011, he began experiencing depression, which he attributes to “a long time hiding and not having anyone to speak about my attraction and involvement with trans women.” At that point, though, it was manageable.

Then, in 2013, Lucas fell in love with a trans woman named Natasha. “At the time we met, she was in prostitution, and I was a client,” he said. “We became friends and went to the movies, bars—just regular things every couple does.” It was the happiest time of his life.

After a year of dating Natasha, Lucas was tired of hiding and felt it necessary to finally share this increasingly important part of his life with another woman he loved: his sister. Like Owen with his girlfriend, Lucas optimistically hoped that his sister would accept him. Instead, she went into a rage. She said she couldn’t understand why he was “doing this to her and to the family,” he recalled. She threatened him, promising that his “life would be ruined” and that his whole family would turn their backs on him if he didn’t end his relationship with Natasha. He believed her. “I thought I was the worst person in the world because of what my sister said.”

Horrified at the thought that his sister’s promise of ruin would come to pass, Lucas set fire to his life. In the days and weeks that followed, he slowly removed himself from Natasha’s life. But Natasha, he says, was obviously the one, and pushing her away tore him apart. He began thinking about suicide and has continued contemplating it ever since. “I could not carry on,” he said. “[My sister’s] words marked me for life.” His sister never mentioned it again. “I regret the day I spoke to her about it.”

Today, Lucas has a son and fears that openly dating a trans woman would negatively impact his son’s life. He says he’s shared his attraction to trans women three times in his life and has received a negative reaction every time. “So it just feels like you are alone, and will have to deal with it yourself for the rest of your life.”

Lucas used to be a relatively healthy, happy, handsome man in love. While his sister has spent six years forgetting what she said, he has struggled with the desire to end his life. “I take medicine to get out of bed, and to go to sleep,” he said. “I really wish the world was different. I feel like I am an actor living a soap opera in which I hate my character, and what he represents.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Karate Lessons

Philadelphia, PA – 1975-1976

I was picked on and bullied in Fel’s Junior High School. I never experienced this in grade school. It just didn’t happen there. Maybe all the disfunction in families comes to a head when kids reach the age of puberty, but I just don’t know.

It was hell for me for much of the whole 3 years I spent at Fel’s Junior High school. It felt more like a juvenile detention center than any sort of educational facility. When I think back on my life my memories are pretty sharp and I have great recall and detail. But when I think back to Fel’s, there isn’t much info. It’s as if during those formative years my mind blocked out much of that horrific pain to save me from mental illness later in life.

There was a show on TV at that time called Kung Fu. My parents used to watch it and my dad loved it. I remember watching a few episodes and although I never saw the pilot, I knew what the show was about. It seemed that this Chinese/American guy wanders around the American west and gets into these different situations. Normally there would be some bad guys who would get their butts kicked by the main character each week.

I thought it was all very cool, and Kung Fu and Karate were hot back in the 70s. There were lots of movies about the subject. Even the Green Hornet had a chauffeur named Kato that could do karate. It was Bruce Lee, who sadly died back in 1973, but he had already established himself as a bonafide star in his short time in show biz. He was the real deal.

I figured if I learned kung fu or karate, I could defend myself from all of the animals at school and in my neighborhood. I remember I had gotten a book about Judo and was reading about some simple moves, and I guess maybe I put it to my parents one day that I’d like to take karate lessons. It just seemed practical, cool and I liked the idea and philosophy behind it all. You have this amazing fighting skill but you only use it for the forces of good. You never pick a fight, you only use it to defend yourself and your loved ones. That’s like some superhero stuff right there. I figured that would be perfect for me since I loved comic books and the dudes that were in them defending the world against evil.

So, my parents signed me up for karate lessons. I remember it was $10 a week and back then and my father thinking that it was kind of expensive.

They sent me off to American Karate Studios in Rockledge Pa. That sounds far away, but it was just a bus ride away from my house. I would go there I think a few times a week. For my dad’s money, I would get 2 group classes and 1 private lesson per week.

I would finish school and then walk north on Oakley street to Martin’s Mill Road and hop on the N bus. Which I think either doesn’t exist anymore or they’ve simply changed the name of the bus route. I googled it looking for any old photos online and came up with this:

https://www.yellowpages.com/philadelphia-pa/mip/american-karate-studios-464769411

https://businessfinder.pennlive.com/1977929/American-Karate-Studios-Philadelphia-PA

Could that place still be open?

I would carry a plastic bag that had my Gi in it. That’s the white outfit the karate guys wear. I thought it was super cool and felt like a real kung fu dude when I wore it. It really allows the freedom of movement when you’re doing your moves.

Here’s a couple of old photos my sister dug out of me wearing my karate Gi doing some moves. Future Kung Fu Dragon!

A photo on the wall of my mother on her wedding day hangs on the wall behind me. Check out that ancient vacuum cleaner in the corner!

Anyway, I remember there being a series of belts you had to earn to move up to be a kung fu master.

Everybody started out as a white belt. That’s the beginner level Then you moved on to an orange belt. Then a purple belt. Followed by blue and then green. There were 3 degrees of brown, and 8 degrees of black.

The dream was obviously to become a black belt karate master. That would take years and years to achieve and I didn’t see myself ever getting there. But if I could learn enough moves, maybe I could defend myself against the minions in the neighborhood who picked on me.

There were a couple of kids that were already members and they wore some of the higher level belts. There was a little guy who had a green belt and he was really fast and had killer moves. I figured if that kid could do it, so could I. There was also this girl who was older than me who had a purple belt. She was really cute and always wore her hair back in a thick braid. The only way I ever saw her was with her hair back and in her Gi. I kind of had a thing for her, but I basically didn’t exist in her world and would never have a chance to get to know her. At least in some way, I was invisible to her… like a ninja!

The group classes were rigorous and filled with a bunch of skinny kids like me. We would exercise the moves that had taught us, like snap kicks and punches. It was fun to play/spar with the other boys because it was like we were fighting but no one really hit anyone else.

Once the instructor made us put a smaller kid on our shoulders and we had to do a series of front snap kicks. So while there is this kid sitting upon your shoulders you had to kick to the knee, midsection, and face to an imaginary adversary in front of you. This all had to be done without putting your kicking leg back down. It felt like some real next-level kung fu stuff!

Another time during the exercise and strength training portion of the class, we had to all lie on our backs on the mat and lift our feet up 6 inches off the floor. This was a great way to strengthen the muscles in our core. But the crazy thing was, they would make you hold it up until it was nearly unbearable. Then the instructor would walk through us and step on our stomachs. It didn’t hurt because our stomach muscles were so tense but it was wild. You wouldn’t think that would work but it did. He stepped on everybody. No pain. Future kung fu dragon!

My favorite part of attending karate lessons was the private lesson with my teacher. That’s where you learned all of the new moves and skills associated with your belt level. It was really cool. Like, if someone grabbed you by the lapels there were a series of moves you could perform to immobilize and destroy your opponent in seconds. I love this!

There’s also a dance you learn along with your training. It’s called a kata. It’s a series of punches and kicks you do in a formation and you have to memorize it and be able to perform it. It included many of the basic techniques that you were being taught for your belt level.

(I just got up from my desk to see if I still remembered any of that kata. Guess what? I went right into the routine like it was yesterday. Wow!)

Thank you, Sensei!

I even ordered some cool patches for my jacket. I had a round patch on the back of my jacket with the American Karate Studios logo on it. I also had a tiger and a dragon patch on each one of my sleeves. I was going to be like Kwai Chang Cain in the Kung Fu show on TV!

By the time the semester ended and I was supposed to go to the shore for the Summer I took my test, with one of the owners, (who was a black belt) and I passed! I earned my orange belt!

Of course, my dad said, “They better give you that belt after all the money I gave them for those lessons!”

I should have drop-kicked him.

Karate lessons were a welcome little repose in my tortured life back then. I think it really helped me. I never used any kung fu moves on anybody, but it did feel good learning something new, get some exercise, and be with other kids like myself.

Thank you American Karate Studios and to all of the staff who were kind to me and taught me some cool fighting skills!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.

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Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Band Maid

BAND-MAID Shop

Band-Maid (stylized as BAND-MAID and formerly as BAND-MAID® until March 2016) is a Japanese rock band formed in 2013. The band combines a rock sound with a maid image modeled on Japanese maid cafés.[9] Originally signed to Gump Records (an imprint of the Platinum Passport artist management and talent agency), they switched to major label Nippon Crown‘s sub-label Crown Stones in 2016 and later moved to new sub-label Revolver Records in 2019. For international releases they have been with JPU Records since 2016.

Band-Maid on Amazon Music

Band-Maid’s image is modeled on maid café hostesses, with the standard uniform adapted to match each member’s personality.[10] In interviews, they explained the concept came from founding member Miku Kobato who had previously worked at a maid café in Akihabara.[12] This theme is reinforced by the band, who refer to their male fans as “masters,” their female fans as “princesses,” and their concerts as “servings.”[50] The band’s “submissive” maid appearance is meant to contrast with their aggressive rock style.[10][51] They decided to have two vocalists to allow a larger variety of music with two different voice types.[12]

BAND-MAID New Album Releasing on December 2019 - Creatinity World

500+ Band Maid ideas in 2020 | maid, japanese girl band, band

Kobato loved Japanese enka music when she was a child, and Tokyo Jihen led her to rock.[52] She attended a vocal school around 2012, but started playing guitar with the formation of Band-Maid the following year.[53] Atsumi started singing when she was 14 and Band-Maid is her first band. Tōno is a big fan of Carlos Santana, has played classical piano since she was a child, and began playing guitar when she joined her high school band club. Hirose is a fan of Deep Purple and Maximum the Hormone, particularly the latter’s female drummer Nao Kawakita, and also played trombone and piano. Misa likes Paz Lenchantin,[52] The Smashing Pumpkins and Jimi Hendrix; she started playing piano at around 3 or 4 years of age, and also played trumpet, alto horn, and guitar.[10][12][50]

Just Bring It: An Interview with BAND-MAID - A-to-J Connections

Pin on Pr0n

English Translation :
Breaking New Gate
I raise the volume within my earphones
So that the dull noises will be erased
Those guys are waiting for the chance to trip and fall
Hey you, I shall let you hear this
This world is always faulty
I’ll be out of control if I just standstill
Even if these rampaging feelings of mine gets abused
I don’t care, just step forward
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
On this symmetric flat road, I can’t find any interest in it
Just breakin’ new gate (HEY!!)
Regret means escaping from the hand of evil’s conspiracy
With the thrills, the greatest pleasure of all, I live on
I always see the scenery I don’t want to see
Imprisoned in a room of four walls
A dove creates an arc on such a small sky
Who are you, as I look above
The struggle seems to be real and steady
Even I self-affix myself, I’ll still go out of control
If I can’t be saved by tears
Just enjoy and savor it!
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
I should be changing, these unanswered fears into madness
Just breaking new gate (HEY!!)
Tear up and throw away the erased blank pages
To what lies beyond my resolve, along with thrills, I devote my body
This world is always faulty
I’ll be out of control if I just standstill
Even if these rampaging feelings of mine gets abused
I don’t care, just step forward
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
On this symmetric flat road, I can’t find any interest in it
Just breakin’ new gate (HEY!!)
Regret means escaping from the hand of evil’s conspiracy
This greatest pleasure of all, gets me going
To what lies beyond my resolve, along with thrills, I devote my body
Now listen to what these ladies can do!
This band kicks ass!

 

 

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‘Parasite singles’: Why Young Japanese Aren’t Getting Married

Tokyo (AFP) – A sharply dressed crowd of Japanese singletons shuffle awkwardly around conference-room tables, exchanging small-talk and CVs in an attempt to find a marriage partner — all of them accompanied by their parents.

One 38-year-old woman, who declined to give her name, said she “didn’t have the courage” to find a spouse and move away from her mother, who had come with her to the match-making party.

“I didn’t have many good opportunities to meet someone,” she explained, adding: “My workplace has lots of women but not many men.”

Roughly a quarter of Japanese people between 20 and 49 are single, according to government data.

And while people of this age routinely express a wish to get married, outdated social attitudes and increasing economic pressure is making tying the knot more and more difficult, experts say.

Sociology professor Masahiro Yamada from Tokyo’s Chuo University told AFP that the norm of single people living with their parents until marriage means there is less immediate pressure to find a partner.

“They think it’s a waste of time to have a relationship with someone who does not meet their conditions” and can afford to wait for a better catch, he said, dubbing these people “parasite singles.”

Although long-term financial security with a husband or wife is seen as important, the difficulty of finding affordable housing adds to the incentive to stay with mum and dad, he said.

One 74-year-old man at the party, on the hunt for a suitable bride for his 46-year-old son, pointed to another problem: overcoming shyness.

“My son is a salesman. He’s good at dealing with customers but he is very hesitant when it comes to women,” said the father.

Why was his son not looking for himself? He was too busy with work.

– Workaholic Japan –

The same father said his eldest daughter was married but his youngest, a doctor living in the US, is single at the age of 34.

He said he is worried for her, “as I’ve heard it is hard for female doctors to find partners”.

Shigeki Matsuda, a sociology professor at Chukyo University in central Japan, blames the country’s falling marriage rate on a phenomenon known as “hypergamy”.

“Japanese women tend to seek men with stable employment and education levels” higher than them, he explained.

Anecdotal evidence from the match-making party seemed to bear this out, a small queue of women forming to exchange contact details with one of the men who, it emerged, had the highest income of the group.

“The high ratio of unmarried men and women won’t change unless more women accept the idea of marrying a man with an income lower than herself,” said Yamada.

In addition, many people meet future spouses in the office in workaholic Japan, and there are fewer opportunities as jobs become more precarious.

In the decades after World War II, Japan rebuilt its economy largely via huge corporations offering ultra-dedicated workers a job for life — but that pattern is changing rapidly and job security is declining.

Since the early 1990s, the ratio of non-permanent and contract employees has risen from around 15 percent to just below 40 percent, according to labor ministry statistics.

– Focus on love –

“Lower levels of income and an increase in the number of extremely unstable jobs — with the fear of getting sacked at any time — are not helping people to think about getting married and having a family,” said Shuchiro Sekine, head of a trade union representing contract workers.

Even if these workers hope to find a partner, with less job security and lower income comes less chance of finding a spouse.

Six out of 10 men aged between 30-34 with a classic “salaryman” job were married as of 2017, according to a government study issued this year, whereas only 22 percent of male contract workers the same age had a wife.

Those at the Tokyo match-making party are the lucky ones, Sekine told AFP.”Those on lower incomes wouldn’t even think about attending.”

Despite these barriers, do such events help? Shoji Wakisaka, head of the association hosting the party, said there was no firm data but there had been some successes — if limited.

“About two percent of participants on average find a spouse.”

One single woman at the party said it was an “efficient” place to meet others who want to get married.

“You can’t exactly ask passers-by if they are married,” her mother added.

A marriage counselor at the party, Noriko Miyagoshi, implored would-be lovebirds to forget the finances and focus on Cupid’s arrow.

“You shouldn’t be making a lot of conditions,” she told participants.”I hope you choose the one you genuinely feel you’ll be able to get along with.”

 

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