Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: sexism

Bagua brings out the beast in me

When I talk about Taiji, it’s really difficult to convey the feeling of flow that I get in when a weapon form is going well. I have said that holding a sword was like having an extension of my hand, but that’s a very clumsy way of phrasing it. And trite. I can talk about how it feels like dancing, but that’s incomplete, too.

Bottom line. You really do have to experience it to know what it’s like. As with anything, really. It’s a fact of life that we can’t know what anyone else feels. That doesn’t stop me from trying, though. Taiji and now Bagua are so important in my life, I want to share that with other people.

It’s interesting, though, how when I was on Twitter (yes, TWITTER), I used to tweet about my love for Taiji weapons. Inevitably, I got very different responses from people based on their gender. This was back when people identified mostly in the binary. Men would respond by saying how hot it was, either implicitly or explicitly. Some were very explicit.

Women, on the other hand, were appalled and horrified by what they saw as  me being violent. Because of course that’s the only reason someone could be interested in weapons would be because they had a violent nature. One woman even said that she didn’t think I was like that. Like what, I didn’t know, but I could guess.

Both of these responses irritated me and reeked of sexism. With the former, they just wanted to get with me and it was titillating to think of me as being good with weapons. It’s much like female cops often have a hard time dating because men were either intimidated by them or arroused by the fact that they wielded a gun.

In both cases, they weren’t seeing the policewoman as a person but as a woman with a gun. It’s the same with guys who want to fuck me because I do martial art weapons. Although, I guess, to some extent it’s similar to dudes who just looooooove Asian women. It’s not seeing a person as an individual.

I’m not necessarily saying it’s bad to think someone’s hot because of any one thing. Everyone does to a certain extent. I mean, we all objectify others (well, those of us who want to have sex with others), and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It only becomes a problem when it’s all a person can see in the other person. Or in this specific case, when a dude thinks that me doing martial arts weapons is for him somehow.


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I’m always not a woman to some

When I tured twenty-six, my mother commented that she had my brother at that age. I had nothing to say to that so I shrugged and dismissed it from my mind. Quitck backstory. I realized when I was tewnty that I did not want kids. Like, definitely did not want them. I had never been that sure about anything in my life. Ever. Not before and not since. It came down like a message from the angels above, and I shouted out, “Hallelujah!” Ok. No. I did not do that. But the relief I felt when I realized that not only did I not want kids, I did not have to have them, was immense. I can’t describe the weight it lifted off my shoulders.

Before that, i just assumed that I had to have them because that was the culture I grew up in. The Taiwanese culture, I mean, though it was backed up by the American culture, too. Women were nothing if they did not get married and have children. It was what they were born (and bred) to do. We were chattel and cattle, and more than one person referred to my birthing hips when I was in my twenties. Excuse me. Not person–but woman. Because it was only women who pushed me to have children, who nagged me about not having them, and who tried to make me feel selfish for not having them.

It was never men. I emphasize this because women are often the worst when it comes to upholding the patriarchy. There are many reasons for that, but that is not the point of this post. The point is that the fifteen years I was pushed to have children, mostly by my mother, is what planted the seed that I was not comfortable calling myself a woman.

My mother actually said at one point that it did not matter if I wanted children or not because it was my duty as a woman to have them. Think about that for a minute. Let it marinate in your mind. I was supposed to put aside my personal feelings and procreate because that was my express purpose as vagina-bearing person. That was what my mother was saying to me. That’s pretty horrifying if you think about it.

Oh. the one exception to men not pushing me about kids–when it came to the question of an abortion. More than one man I’ve talked with was firmly against it. One was a Catholic guy (claimed liberal) who said that if a woman ‘played’ then she should have to ‘pay’. Which was another terrible way to view parenting. It’s a punishment for your sins. That’s literally what he was saying. He claimed it was the same as if you were skiing and broke your leg. You had  to deal with the broken leg. I pointed out that ‘dealing with a broken leg’ did not include leaving it broken and saying, “Well, I broke it, so I have to keep it broken.”

I mentioned that if  iwere forced to have a baby, I would probably kill myself to get out of it. And the fetus would die with me, so two entities would be dead. How was that any better? He said that I could get a note from my doctor in that case. I said why should that be necessary? Why should I have to prostate myself and reveal my mental health issues just to be able to do what I wanted with my own body?


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Removing gender from the equation

One frustrating things about isms is how pernicious and pervasive they are. In addition, people will make constant excuses why what they do isn’t sexism or is somehow benevolent or benign. (Speaking specifically of sexism. When it’s racism, it’s usually how they didn’t mean it that way or they didn’t mean you. Also irritating and exhausting, but in a different way.)

I remember reading a comment section at Slate before I self-banned myself from reading the comments on that site. It was about sexism and there was a guy who said that he held the door open for his female friends, and he was not sorry about it. Now, presumably, if they’re his friends, they don’t mind (though perhaps they just don’t want to make a fuss. If it were me and it was just a casual friend–liek a friend of a friend situation, I would internally roll my eyes and ignore him). But if he’s doing this for random people or people at work (and I think this was a letter about the latter? I don’t remember. Wait. Was it Ask A Manager? I don’t think so. Not that it matters).

He could not be talked out of his position that this was a nice tihng he was doing for these women. No matter how much he was grilled on it by the other commenters, he doubled down on it being respectful. I think he even said that was how he was raised. When it was pointed out to him that there were many women who were pointing out that they didn’t find it respectful and would not want him to do it, he kept repeating that he was doing it to be respectful.

He could not get it in his head that if the recipient of his gesture did not find it respectful, then it wasn’t, indeed, respectful. It’s surprising how many people don’t get that. Personally, I hold the door for anyone who is within five feet of the door when I get there. I don’t care about their gender. It’s just polite. But if someone were to make a big fuss about it because they were male and perceived me to be female, well ,then we would have an issue.

With this guy I mentioned (I’ll call him Eric because that’s the name he used), he made it clear that he did not do this for his male friends. In addition to being old-fashioned, it’s just weird if you’re in a group of friends and you only hold the door for some of the people and not the rest. Would he do that for, say, black people and not white? Highly doubt it. The excuse that it was considered respectful fifty years ago doesn’t hold water at any rate beacuse things change. Customs change. Would he also not give a job to a woman because she is  supposed to be at home taking care of her children?

And what if he doesn’t know the gender of one of his friends? Does he ask them? Or just assume? I would be annoyed as hell about it. Like I said, if he was an acquaintance and it was a one-time thing, I probably wouldn’t say anything. But I would definitely demote him in my mind.

He kept repeating that he was being courteous and gentlemanly (or something like that). Which showed that he was more wedded to the idea of looking good than actually being good. Not that he would look good these days for that kind of behavior–at least not like it was viewed fifty years ago. But how very white male of him. what he thought as a man about how he terated women was more important than how actual women told it made them feel. He didn’t care if it was actually respectful of the women he was purportedly saying he was treating with respect.


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Smash the patriarchy

One recurring tension when fighting for justice is dealing with things as they are versus with as you want them to be. Do you meet people where tthey are or instist they be better? In other words, do you rabble the rousing or do you slowly build coalition? Back in the day, it was ACT UP vs. assimilation. Martin Luther King versus Malcolm X.

One thing that annoys me is the clap back of ‘you’re showing your privilege’ without any follow up. I never say ‘check your privilege’ because it’s meaningless in and of itself. And, what are you supopsed to do once you chcck it? Ok. I checked it. It’s there. Now what? I’m being glib. I don’t think it’s bad to think about the ways in which you have privilege, but then, you should do something with that privilege.

At Ask A Manager, there was a question about…I don’t remember what it was. I’m going to say wearing a bra. It was somethnig of that sort. I said I would absolutely quit over being forced to wear a bra. Other people said the same. We were in the mionrity, but we were also people who didn’t wear bras in the first place.

Someone bleated about privilege and how not everyone could quit their jobs like that. I said that’s the reason why people with privilege should take a stand when they can, otherwise, what’s the point of checking said privilege? I wasn’t trying to be a dick, but I get tired of ‘checking your privilege’ being the end of a conversation when it should  just be the start. Yes, not everyone can quit their job without having another one in place, so why not rjeoice for the people who can?

It was interesting to see so many women push hard for wearing a bra. I don’t care, obviously, but it’s a myth that it’s better for your boobs. Or that not wearing a bra is bad for them. It’s not. In fact, scientifically, there has been some proof that not-bra wearoers have perkier boobs than those who wear bras.


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Next in Fashion Season 2 review

I don’t watch much TV, but one genre I like is what I call gentle competition. They are shows with contestants, but they are helpful to each other and the shows emphasize camaraderie rather than competition. Think The Great British Baking Show (you can tell when I last watched that show) or Sugar Rush. I prefer the ones that are a season long, eliminating one person per episode, but the latter’s format of four teams per show and one winner at the end of each show is fine, too.

My bestie, K, also likes these kinds of shows. She has a stressful job and it’s her way of relaxing. We talk about them and recommend shows to each other. She told me about the bartending one, which I really liked. Drink Masters, it’s called, and it’s on Netflix. I don’t love the fact that they feel the need to hire comedians for the emcee/host and feed them tired old jokes (for all the shows), but I’ve accepted that is part of the genre. Tone Bell is the host of Drink Masters, and he’s probably my favorite of all the hosts across all the shows. He’s much more laidback than the others and has a warmth that feels authentic.

I watched the first season of Next in Fashion, another Netxflix show, despite my skepticism. I am so not a fashion person. I mean, it would not be too much to say that I am the anti-fashion person because I just don’t care what I look like. Also, because my gender is undetermined at this point, I can’t with the hyper male/female emphasis in fashion. K and I talked (outside of this show) how we both were more comfortable with androgynous people in general. I have talked at length about my current identity (agender), which is mostly because gender is not important to me. I don’t see how I need to act or dress in a certain way because of my perceived gender, and it’s really hard for me to be all GIRL POWER when it’s based on something that is hyper-feminine. I’ll get to that more in a minute.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed the first season of Next in Fashion. There are a few reasons for that. One, the chemistry between the two hosts, Tan France and Alexa Chung, was strong. They seemed like two buddies who would go out and grab a meal together, just to chat about life in general. Yes, there were cringe-indiucing humor that wasn’t funny, but they seemed to be equals. I put that out there because I want you to remember it when I get to talking about the sceond season.

Another reason I really liked the first season is because the winner (spoiler, obviously), truly was different, fresh, and something that hadn’t been seen before.


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Friends of another gender flock together

In the weekend Ask A Manager, there was a question asked if a single woman and a married man could be friends.

Yes.

Well! Glad that was an easy question to–oh, wait. What? Not everyone agrees with me? Oh dear. Do I really want to–

Sigh.

What year are we in again?

Checks calendar. 

2023. We’re in the year of our grumpiness 2023, and it’s still a question whether men and women can be friends*.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s tackle the thread and what was said. Remember, the site is overwhelmingly progressive women (in the commentariat). There were plenty of people saying why do you need different rules for differently-gendered friendships, and those are my people. But, there were sitll more than a small minority of people who had all these rules for a friendship of a single woman nda a married man. Funnily enough, most of them assumed you bcame friends after the man was married, not before.

In general, there was an undercurrent of ‘you can be friends, but not good friends’ for those on the ‘men are from mars and women are from venus’ crowd. There was even one who actually said something about that old saw about bisexuals…um, I may be old, but I’m not a saw! She tried to dance around it by saying that it was different culturalization, but not really. I gerw up in the same society she did–though I do have a Taiwanese background, which makes it doubly sexist. So you would think I would be more entrenched in sexist beliefs. But since my twenties, I have been questioning needless gender roles and tossing them aside.

That woman I just mentioned was a hot mess. She believed that every man wants to have sex with every woman, apparently, because she does not believe men and women can truly be friends. Which, fine for her (albeit very limiting), but she states it as if it were facts. Which it simply isn’t. It just is not. I have had many friends of different genders who have not wanted to bone me and/or vice-versa (including men!). Anectdote is not data, and my experience is just as valid as hers.


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You don’t get to choose my hill to die on

Boobs.

I like boobs.

Who doesn’t like boobs?

Most people like boobs. I have a fake-hubby who is gay who likes boobs. In the words of the inimitable Tim Minchin:

Fuck, I love boobs, though!
I just really love them.
Fuck, I love boobs, though.
I just want to rub them!

He just really loves boobs! I’ve included the video below because it’s hilarious–but true.

The reason I’m thinking about boobs is because there was a letter to Alison (Ask A Manager) from a busty woman who does not wear a bra to work. She has been chastised by her manager for not wearing one and told she has to put one on. She asked her male coworkers if they were ever told to wear one, and they said no. So, she brought that up with her supervisor.

That did not go over well, as you might have imagined. I knew how the comments were going to go because even in the year of our ruler supreme, 2023, so many American women think that not wearing a bra is unprofessional. I knew it from previous posts on the site, but I had hoped that after three years of a global pandemic in which many women set the girls free whilst working from home, there would be a little more balance about wearing a bra at work. But, no. It’s still, I CAN’T DEAL WITH NIPPLES AHHHH SEX AHHHHHHH YOUR BOOBS JIGGLED. And this is from other women.

So many busty women commented on how they couldn’t imagine not wearing a bra and how horrifying it was. I will just say it here. It’s sad to me that this is the mentality. Women used to say the same thing about corsets and other things that restrained and reshaped the body. Oh, and the ‘the boobs are lower without’ canard? Nope. There was a 15-year study back in 2013 that showed that women who did not wear bras actually had perkier boobs. The theory is that constantly wearing a bra weakens the musscles in the pecs, which makes sense. Here’s the study, and it’s more nuanced than that, of course.

Bottom line, though, is that there is absolutely no health benefit to wearing a bra, so it’s strictly psychological. And in the study, he does say that if you’ve worn a bra for decades, you probably shouldn’t just toss it now.

Since I work from home, I did not wear a bra on the regular for many years. Around five years ago, I just stopped wearing them completely. And I have never felt better. My reasons for stopping were sensory–I hate wearing clothing so the less, the better. When I wear a bra, no matter how comfortable it is, I cannot stop thinking about the fact that I am wearing one.


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A weight off my mind

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about two letters at Ask A Manager that were about internalized misogyny (more or less). I was midway through dissecting the second, so let’s continue with that.

The LW was saying that she didn’t regret the decision she made not to be close to her coworkers/reports, but then whining about how they shut her out (such as bringing back souvenirs for everyone but her). Which, normally, would be a big no-no, but in this case, it’s probably partly because she was the boss.

She literally used the trope of “I’m not here to make friends”, which is normally a big red flag. Not that people need to be friends at work, but the need to say it speaks negatively about the person. It’s like when people say, “I’m just being honest” before being unbelievably mean. No one says, “I’m going to be brutally honest. You are the fucking best singer I’ve ever heard.” In this case, ‘I’m not here to make friends’ means, “I do not care about you as a person.” Which, fine. I’m an introvert and I rather not do small talk with people. If I had to work in an office, I would find it agony to talk about the weather and kids and whatnot. Mostly because I love cold and not hot, and I don’t have nor want children. But, if I were in an office, I could do the small talk with competency and would not be willing to expend capital to get away with not doing it.

In addition, as Alison pointed out, there is a difference between being friendly and being friends. The letter writer (LW) seems to be confused on that matter. You can be warm with your colleagues without being friends. You don’t have to do happy hour with them or go to their weddings. I found that strange as well. She talked about not being invited to those, but she earlier said she didn’t want to be friends!

Someone in the comments asked how her social circle was outside of work, which I thought was an astute question. The LW said she was lonely despite her strictures not to make friends at work. Did she mean that in general? Or at work? Either way, she could beef up her social circle outside work to help her feel less lonely.

Here’s the thing, though. The part about her saying that she did not get along with the other women (some people questioned why she specifically mentioned women. My guess is that she worked mostly with women) because of different life stages was what really caught my attention.


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Try, try, try again

I stumbled over a channel called Jolly the other day by watching Try Guy videos–after first watching their explanation video (as to why they fired Ned). It’s a channel with two Brit guys who are named Josh and Ollie (J-Ollie. Or Jo-llie. Get it?) and they do a variety of things. Lots of them are food-related, but not all of them. They also have a channel called Korean Englishmen because they both love all things Korean and want to make their friends eat Korean foods and videotape it.

They have 2.7 million subs on their Jolly channel and 5.4 million on their Korean Englishmen channel. They are cheerful blokes, and they are decent-looking guys. I would say they are conventionally cute, albeit in a nerdish way. They are in their mid-thirties, married, and one has a child. At least. That’s what I’ve gleaned from their videos.

They are upbeat and carefully calibrated to not offend. They are so gosh-dang wholesome, but with just a touch of sauciness on occasion. They are definitely the kind of boy you can take home to you mother.

I have watched several of their videos and they are very morish. They eat a lot of food. Their videos in LA were funny, familiar, and easily digestible. When I say that they make their videos deliberately non-offensive, that’s exactly what I mean. They are crafted in such a way that you can watch it, chuckle lightly, then move on to the next one. I’m not being dismissive, by the way. It’s an art, and  they have it down to a T. They are affable, goofy, and kooky, but in a very acceptable way. There is nothing jarring or off-putting about them.

Josh is the nerdy guy who wears button-downs and glasses. Ollie is the class clown who is adorably clueless. They are both just so eager to make sure everyone is having a good time, and they are very diffident. I know the latter is part of being British, but I can’t help but be charmed by them.

Right now, I’m watching different videos about people eating Howlin’ Rays–Nashville chicken–mostly the hot version in LA. The vast majority of the channels are dudes. Sigh. I really don’t like the ones that are WHAT’S UP FAM IT’S ABOUT TO GET LIT–especially by non-black people. And airhorns. And fast cuts. I just hate all that shit. Just be chill and show me the food, damn it.

Anyway, most of these channels are men. The ‘try all these things’ channels. I have a theory and it’s completely out of my ass (ass theory). Men are more acceptable acting up than women and other genders are. That’s it. That’s my theory. I can go more into it, but it basically comes down to that.


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Genderfucking is fun

I’m currently bingeing on Harry Styles. I liked What Makes You Beautiful when One Direction sang it, but I was embarrassed to admit it. It’s a perfectly fine catchy pop song, but they were a boy band, and I was way too old for that shit. Plus, I don’t like boy bands in general, though my mania for New Kids on the Block belies that statement. I liked some songs by Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, but I would not call myself a fan.

But there’s something about Harry Styles. It’s not that he’s cute, though he is. If he were ten or fifteen years older, he would be my type. Dark hair, androgynous with a low, growly voice. He’s comfortable in his sexuality and with dressing however the fuck he wants to dress. In fact, he and Lizzo are my perfect pairing at the moment. Both are so resolutely themselves and happy about it, it makes me smile.

I’ve included the video of them at Coachella singing Harry’s smash hit (that I mentioned above) while both are dressed in hot pink. I am currently in a Lizzo phase as well, and, yes, I know I’m late to the party. But I love that she’s unabashedly herself and does not give a fuck who knows it. There’s a video of the two of them singing Juice together, and Lizzo is wearing something revealing and hot. Harry is dresses as bookish nerd is his button-down and striped sweater-vest.

Right now, I’m sitting on my couch in a black tank top and black microfiber boy shorts. I have my hair pulled up in a sloppy bun, secured with a black satin scrunchy. And I have never felt sexier or hotter in my life. Not when I was dressed to the nines. Not when I was skinny as fuck. No. Me being fat and wearing the minimal amount of clothing I can and not get arrested if I were outside my house with my hair haphazardly bunched on the top of my head, not having done a lick of grooming, and I feel fine as hell.


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