Month: February 2010

February 27, 2010 / / Uncategorized
February 26, 2010 / / Uncategorized

Call for submissions: MAMA SAYS GOOD GIRLS MARRY DOCTORS – Retaining Control, Negotiating Roles: South and East Asian Diasporic Women and their Parents

Editors: Piyali Bhattacharya and Josephine Tsui
Contact: goodgirlsmarrydoctors at gmail dot com
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2010

Are you a good girl? You know what we mean: you listen to your parents, there’s no gossip about you in the “community.” Or are you a bad girl? Were you caught smoking in high school? Did you marry that white boy against your parents’ wishes?

We ask you to contribute your story to a forthcoming volume: “Mama Says Good Girls Marry Doctors.” This book focuses on the pressures on South and East Asian women who have grown up in North America to be “good girls.” It seeks to collect the stories of such women, and their traumas, victories, and defeats as they face the control that their immigrant parents try to exercise over them in relation to the choice of a partner, or a career, or their freedom. We want to know how negotiating these pressures affects young Asian diasporic women, their relationship to feminism, to their parents and to their partners or siblings.

We do not seek academic essays, but creative non-fiction pieces, narratives, reflections and personal histories and memoirs. You can tell your own story or that of a friend or relative. As Asian women who have experiences such issues ourselves, we want this volume to bring a range of stories out in the open and available to other women who are facing these issues.

Your essay might focus on one of the following:
~How did your battle with your parents affect the way you viewed them, either immediately after any given incident, or retrospectively many months or years later? How did it affect the way they viewed or treated you?
~Is there a difference in the way your parents treat you versus your brother? Has it made a difference if you are an older or a younger sibling? Has your parents’ treatment of you affected the way you interact with your siblings?
~What were the creative ways in which you dealt with negative reactions from your parents about your partner, career, parenting skills, or any other issue?
~Have your friends outside your family or community been unable to understand the pull or responsibility you feel towards your parents? How have you dealt with this?
~ Have you found that your economic class differentiates your experience from what is considered the “norm” or from other women from your ethnic/cultural community?
~Have you ever felt like your life decisions in regard to your parents have compromised or altered your feminism?

Of course, these are by no means the only questions we are focusing on. We want to hear your unique story. We are looking for women who have undergone interesting processes of self-discovery and want to hear about how these women have chosen unique ways in which to handle negotiations with their parents, and about the outcomes of their various efforts.

We want to hear your voice and your story!

Send all submissions (3,000 – 4,000 words) to: by JULY 1, 2010.

Call for writing submissions: Other Tongues

Update: three weeks ago we ran a call for submissions for “Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out.” At the time the call-out asked for black/white mixed race women to submit writings. Other Tongues has since decided to open the anthology up to women of all mixed-race heritages.  Below is their new announcement. Read the Post Friday Announcements: Mama Says Good Girls Marry Doctors; Update on Other Tongues; Vegans of Colour Research Group

February 26, 2010 / / Reproductive Rights

By Guest Contributor Pamela Merritt, originally posted at RH Reality Check

Just days before the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, a fellow activist sent me a link to a video posted by the anti-choice group Bound for Life.  I was vaguely familiar with Bound for Life from having seen their members at protests, signature red tape marked with the word “Life” fixed to their mouths.

The video promoted an action that Bound for Life participated in at a new Planned Parenthood clinic being built in Houston.  The spin for this specific protest caught my attention.  The angle – that reproductive health care providers are organized to increase abortions by people of color in a plot to commit genocide for profit – has been in play by anti-choicers for years.  That theory has been, is now, and will always be insultingly paternalistic in its assumptions about women of color seeking reproductive health care.  The allegation is also picking up steam this Black History Month.

The first time I watched the video I was struck by the theories promoted through it – that communities of color are tragically ignorant of some long standing genocidal plot and desperately need organizations like Bound for Life to come to educate us, that the size of a reproductive health care clinic is in some way connected to it’s intended scale of abortion services and that the location of that clinic (in communities of color) is proof of some long standing genocidal plot.  Bound for Life isn’t alone in putting forth these arguments.  Anti-choice groups recently put up billboards in Georgia claiming that Black children are an endangered species and other organizations, like The Radiance Foundation, target religious people of color with the same anti-choice message; their stated goal being to illuminate, educate and motivate their audience.

The fallout from this rhetoric is hard to measure, but I’ve heard of the black genocide conspiracy for years.  I am an activist in my home city of St. Louis Missouri and many of the young women of color I work with are aware of the rumors and ask questions about them.

Read the Post Women of Color and the Anti-Choice Focus on Eugenics

February 26, 2010 / / Uncategorized
February 25, 2010 / / Uncategorized
February 25, 2010 / / cultural appropriation

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

How do you know when a story is allying, versus appropriating?

In other words, if someone of privilege writes a story about the political oppression of a group they do not belong to, what is the difference between:

a) a story that brings marginalised voices to a wider platform and advocates for their rights, versus
b) a story that simply appropriates a political conflict for a writer’s own end, taking advantage of the fact that communities who experience marginalisation are rarely ever allowed to speak for themselves?

Apart from the fact that a story that appropriates usually winds up grossly misrepresenting a marginalised group, this is my yardstick for telling friends from foes:  one of the central purposes of a story that acts as ally, is to use one’s own privilege to tell another’s story, in the hopes of ameliorating the others’ situation.  Meanwhile, a story that appropriates just wants to spin a good yarn, get some adulation, and uses another’s story in order to do so.  An ally story is giving, an appropriating story is taking.

Quit jabbering Thea, you may say.  It’s easy to tell the difference between stories that appropriate, and stories that ally! We don’t need a yardstick!

Not true.  At least within mainstream opinion, it is startling and depressing how many stories that appropriate get passed off as political progressive, as allies.  Like Not Without My Daughter.  Or the documentary Born into Brothels, which purported to tell the story of the children of sex workers in Calcutta, but really just seemed more interested in showcasing the magnanimity of the American photographer who worked with the children.* Or another documentary, Paris is Burning, about the black trans/gay vogueing community of New York City, which brought immense praise on the white outsider director, but painted the community as tragic and hopeless, while bringing little benefit to them.  I’m sure you can think of loads more films like this.

Including…(drumroll)…Avatar. Which I finally saw last week, in all its headsplitting 3D glory.  And it fulfilled all the negative press I had read over countless months, from anti-racist and anti-ableist camps among many others.  But seeing how my esteemed peers did a lot of the deconstructing work for me, I was left to ponder another question.  If Cameron is as leftist as claimed, why didn’t he tell the story of an actual conflict between big business (or colonialists) and an indigenous group? Why use blue allegory?

Hollywood films have a generally untapped power to sway how people think about political events.   Packaging a political story within the rhetoric of emotion (and also I guess, within face-blasting special effects) is often the best way to get people to swallow arguments they would otherwise reject.  Hence a movie that – at least at face value – is very anti-war, anti-military and anti-capitalist is demolishing box office records with hardly a peep from conservative viewers.

Can you imagine the impact that a movie like Avatar could have, if Cameron had used all the CGI to recreate (for example) any area of the Americas the way it looked before first contact with the Europeans, and instead told the real story of an indigenous group struggling to protect themselves from genocide?  Imagine the kind of support it could create for indigenous rights.

Read the Post Stories that Ally vs Stories that Appropriate: a Yardstick

February 25, 2010 / / art
February 24, 2010 / / announcements