My body is made of sepia tone painted skin, a billion thick strands of silk black blanketing the whites of my scalp, two dark marble eyes glaring through small slits at the top of my face, and stubby, compounded legs that sprout my body a little bit over four feet and ten inches. The truth is that with the description that I have provided of myself, I could be many people; I could be the smoking hot Eva Longoria or I could even be Pocahontas for all you know. Sorry to disappoint you, but I am neither of those women. I am just another ordinary Asian girl, along with the other billions of Asian girls that are on this planet.
We may identify ourselves by the color of our hair, skin or eyes, but what really separates our society is the cultural background that we were each raised upon. Amidst my adolescent years, I fought wars against my culture. I rebelled against the tyranny of what entails the stereotypical Asian American girl. I can confidently say that I have pretty much stomped on every piece of Asian stereotype I had within me (With an exception to my obsession with Hello Kitty.). Rebelling isn’t really anything too hard to do. I have comprised a list, including my past experiences of how to rebel against the stereotypical Asian ways.
When I was four, I lived in Thailand for a year with my brother, my mother and her family. I remember my first day of school in Thailand like it was yesterday. I hated school and I hated the other children. Apparently when I was four, I failed to recognize that English and Thai were separate languages; I mixed both languages in my everyday speech. All of the other Thai kids thought I was mentally handicapped because of all of this. I remember walking into class and seeing that an elegantly beautiful, petite teacher who was sophisticated in every way. She was graceful and admirable until she opened her mouth. She scared me shitless. Teachers in Thailand are held on a pedestal, and they are expected to be treated with the most outright respect, but in no way are they required to respect their students. In Thai culture and many other eastern cultures, it’s acceptable to give children a little so called, “love tap” here and there. However, I didn’t think so at the time and I still don’t think it should be allowed.
Anyway, I had to go to the restroom, but I didn’t know how to say all of it in Thai. I must of said something along the lines of, “Cru, shun have to go the bathroom,” because she just gave me the strangest look and in Thai, she said that she didn’t understand what I was saying. Like a deer mesmerized by a pair of eye-burning headlights, I just stood there, and alas, I went then and there, in my dress with her standing about a foot away from me. She looked at the wet floor, then she looked at me, and then unfortunately for me, she opened her mouth and screamed like she was Hitler giving a speech during WW11, all while grabbing her wooden stick. I saw that stick coming towards me, and well, I wasn’t going to take it. I had to pee and she didn’t understand me! How is that any way my fault? I was a four year old defending my little self by the only way I knew, and that was biting. As hard and deep as my little teeth could probe, I bit the **** out of that woman. The moral of the story is to start young; bite someone respectable. Then go home, and get a spanking from your very angry grandpa.
Be Mediocre at Everything
I consider myself a decently intelligent girl. I have my moments, but for the most part, I’m average. I was ranked 221 out of 794 in my high school’s graduating class (Pretty average of me.). I took all honors and AP classes, but never really got anything higher then a B, unless it was in gym. I never did my homework and my first class I failed was math. It’s ironic, right? Aren’t Asians supposed to be good at math? My sophomore year of high school, there was this boy who sat next to me who always tried copying off of my answers when we were taking tests, but he learned his lesson about the third time after receiving his tests back with a big fat F across them. He was probably better off attempting the test himself. I saw this comedian, Dat Phan, on comedy central once, and it’s funny, because the same thing happened to him. I was a little relieved and glad that there was another Asian somewhere out there who could admit their lack of competence in math and is able laugh about it.
I attend Northern Michigan University. I love my school and all, but it’s not Harvard and it is not Georgetown. The other Asian girls in my graduating class all attended Brown University and University of Illinois’s school of engineering. The only other Asian girl who is not attending a prestigious school is adopted, meaning she has white parents, which doesn’t count (just kidding). I made up for my lack of Ivy League with choosing to be a nursing major. I chose it all on my own. My parents were pretty pleased. I chose nursing because ultimately, my main goals in life are to be happy and make a difference somehow. I thought that nursing would be a powerful tool to make a difference in the world, but one day while writing an essay for my English class on why I chose nursing as a career, I had an epiphany and I realized that I wasn’t cut out for nursing. I am caring, I am nurturing, I am hopeful, and I am passionate, but I am incompetent when it comes to anatomy and I failed chemistry my first semester at college. I could try over and over again but when it comes down to it; I want to make a difference with something that I am good at. That’s what would make happy. I told my parents that I was thinking about changing my major to political science. Of course, the first thing my dad frantically uttered was, “No girl politicians! No jobs! How you pay loans back, Nan?” I told him about how nursing wouldn’t make me happy and of course his response was, “You won’t be happy when you live on streets!” I still am undecided on what my major should be. To say the least, my parents aren’t too pleased. The moral of the story: Threaten to be a political science major.
If you haven’t truly been driven mad already, pretend you’re bipolar.
I’ve been blessed. I have a life that many people in the world would kill for. And still, I was never really happy with my life. I remember the first time I wanted to die. I was in fourth grade, and I had just catapulted myself onto my bed. Yes, I was “emo” before it was cool. . It was a humid, sticky day and beads of sweat slid into my eyes. I remember thinking, “why am I alive?” My closeted depression and lack of enthusiasm continued for years to come. Through my adolescent years, I experimented with anything that would get me through it all. I wasn’t exactly the brightest ray of sunshine, but somehow I always seemed to be able to hide it from my parents. I thought that I would get over it and if not I would just hide it for the rest of my life, but little did I know, other people besides my parents noticed. My junior year, one of my teachers in high school notified my guidance counselor, because she was “worried about my state of being.” My guidance counselor then informed my parents about my peculiar mannerisms. I wasn’t too pleased. Neither were my parents. It seemed that they didn’t believe in depression. They didn’t really want me to get help. Having a mental disease in the Asian American community is as bad as having gonorrhea, perhaps even worse. I knew that I needed help and they knew it too. “Asian American women between 15 and 24 had the highest number of suicides among all U.S. women in that age group in 2003, with about 3.5 deaths per 100,000 residents, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2005. And Asian American females had the second highest rate of suicide in every other age group.” (Amusa 1) I am lucky that I got help when I was able to; I wouldn’t want to be another number contributing to the statistics above. According to Helen Zia, author of the book "Asian American Dreams: the Emergence of an American People, "People are ignoring that [they have an illness] and using culture as an excuse not to recognize, or diagnose or treat." (Amusa 1) On a more serious note, the moral of this story is that if you need help, get it. You are not mentally ill, because Satan or a demon is residing in you. You just need help and there is nothing wrong with taking the risk of saving your own life.
Be Un-lady-like as much as possible
My Mom always said that no one would ever marry me, because I was so messy. Breaking away from her raging rambles in Thai, she usually says with her incredibly tainted accent in English, “No man will want you to marry. You so Sick, Nan! A man need someone who will keep house clean and cook for him when he comes home. ” Harsh, I know, right? I usually reply back with “Cool, mom. I don’t want to get married anyway and I definitely don’t want kids.”(I really don’t mean it, but it gets her to shut up.) She pretends that it doesn’t bother her, but it’s every Asian mother’s nightmare. That’s the problem with Asian women. They are often so submissive and delicate. I don’t clean on a regular basis, I speak my mind, I have mostly guy friends, and I like to party and have fun. Apparently, accordingly, that makes me a horrible future wife.
Be a Hot Asian Girl
I am a woman. I have breasts. They are not that big, but I swear they are there! I have a pretty big butt for someone my size. I can be attractive (I am being realistic, not cocky.) and on the days that anyone feels attractive, they should go ahead and be attractive. I’m not saying that you should go ahead and walk around naked, but when appropriate, and if it makes you comfortable, it’s not a crime to find jeans that make your butt look extra nice or a shirt that shows a little cleavage. According to my parents though; it’s a sin. Asian girls don’t wear thongs or show cleavage, unless they are workers of the **** industry. You don’t believe me? One day, I was shopping and these two guys looked at me and then they turned to look at each other and belched out, “Damn! Look at that ***!” They then proceeded to ask to what ethnicity group I belonged in. Their first guess was Mexican, the next guess, Hawaiian. Apparently, Asian girls don’t have butts. Moral of the story: Grow a butt and buy thongs to **** off your Asian parents.
Laugh at your Mistakes and be Yourself
I love my parents, but I have some done some pretty ****** things in my life to really grind their gears, such as:
●Getting caught throwing a party after they found two garbage bags filled with empty bottles of booze.
●The dime bag of weed my parents found in my drawer.
●Openly dating a boy I loved for nearly two years, even though they didn’t approve of me dating
● Attending protests and openly supporting my beliefs on political issues that they did not agree with.
●Quitting the time-consuming and the mentally and physically draining sport of figure skating. I quit my talent that I hated.
●I declared myself agnostic after being raised half catholic and Buddhist with my parents’ hope of me declaring myself at least one of those religions.
● I make fun of their accents and the way they call my brother, Paul, Paw, my dog Max, Mak, and a bowl of fried rice, flied lice.
The truth is that I did and still do some of these things, but not because I’m some kind of punk and disorderly teen who drives off of self loathing and rebellion. I do these things, because it’s a part of who I am. I did them, because I wanted to. Most of them were mistakes, but they were my mistakes, and they have shaped me into who I am today. Our culture is a big part of our lives that makes you, you, but the real me shined through my cultural stereotype.
We all stereotype and if you don’t, you’re probably still very biased. Don’t feel overwhelmed with guilt, because everyone does it. And by all means, this is not a justification for racial profiling or stereotyping; just because everyone does it, it does not mean it is right. However, by pretending that these stereotypes don’t exist creates even more tension in our society. It’s okay to laugh at the fact that I am an Asian girl and I cannot drive for the life of me. It’s okay to laugh at one of the guys I know from my model united nations team who proclaims himself a triple whammy, that is gay, black, and a political science major. I’m not saying that we should all be blatantly racist and call each other Spicks, *******, Rag-heads, Chinks, Gooks, Crackers, Dagos (I think I covered them all) at every given moment. I’m saying that we should embrace our differences and others’ differences. By understanding each other’s cultures, discrimination and hatred is shriveled down to size. I guess the overall moral of this essay is that you should always be yourself. I’m not trying to sound like a character off of the Disney channel or Barney and Friends, but when it comes down to it all, you need to find out who you really are and what you stand for as a person, in order to be truly happy. Embrace your culture, but don’t let it rule who you are.
Amusa, Malena. "Asian Women Face 'Model Minority' Pressures." Women's Enews 18
Sept. 2006. 26 Apr.2007 <http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2891>.