“Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”—Audre Lorde (via blackheartedlove)
it's interesting how korra grew up pretty sheltered in the compound surrounded by white lotus sentries, sort of like a fairytale-ish princess in a tower. and she has ~magical powers~ whereas asami relies more on physical strength and is probs more politically and socially aware, having grown up in a metropolis. in fact asami even has your typical superhero origin story with the whole losing-a-parent-as-a-kid!
ugh yeah all of this like I don’t even have anything to add but I want it here
I understand your issues with the Native American headdresses and such, however, I have some questions for you.I realize that dreadlocks are sometimes done for religious purposes, and that they have serious meaning in several different cultures. And I suppose that it IS cultural appropriation for a white, american girl to wear them. However…what is it that is actually wrong with this? I don’t understand, so this is a sincere question. Isn’t it sort of…racist to say that only THIS culture can appropriately wear their hair this way? Your blog has really made me consider this and think. What is your opinion?
SO HERE’S ONE WAY TO APPROACH IT, WHICH WE’LL CALL THE SEMIOTICS OF DREADLOCKS. ‘SEMIOTICS’ IS THE STUDY OF SIGNS AND THEIR MEANINGS, LIKE CHEMISTRY IS THE STUDY OF CHEMICALS AND STUFF.
SO A LONG TIME AGO, PAPA SAUSSURE, ‘FATHER OF MODERN LINGUISTICS’ (WHITE MAN, OBVI) SAID THAT A ‘SIGN’ IS COMPOSED OF A ‘SIGNIFIER’ (THE THING YOU USE TO SAY SOMETHING, LIKE A WORD OR AN ICON OR WHATEVER) AND A ‘SIGNIFIED’ (THE THING YOU’RE TRYING TO SAY, LIKE THE IDEA OF STOPPING) THAT IN FACT, THE ‘MEANING’ OF A SIGN DOESN’T LIVE IN THE SIGNIFIER ITSELF - ‘STOP’ - AND NEITHER DOES IT LIVE IN THE SIGNIFIED ITSELF - THE IDEA ‘STOP RIGHT HERE OR SHIT’S GOING TO GO DOWN’. A REAL ‘SIGN’ SORT OF JUST CHILLS IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO. THAT IS, A STOP SIGN ISN’T A SIGN IF NO ONE KNOWS THAT IT’S TRYING TO ‘SIGNIFY’ THE IDEA ‘STOP, GUY!’ IF YOU CAN’T READ A SIGN, IT MIGHT AS WELL BE RANDOM SCRIBBLES IN THE SAND (THINGS LIKE THAT ARE CALLED ‘ASEMIC,’ MEANING, ‘MEANINGLESS.’ WHOAH). ALSO, JUST LIKE YOU CAN’T THINK OF SIGNIFIERS JUST CHILLING BY THEMSELVES, NEITHER CAN YOU THINK OF SIGNIFIEDS JUST RELAXING, BECAUSE TO CONVEY MEANING, YOU NEED LANGUAGE. YOU CAN’T JUST HAVE IDEAS, YOU HAVE IDEAS THROUGH LANGUAGE. OK?
SO, ON TO DREADLOCKS. ‘DREADLOCKS’ ARE REALLY JUST A COMPLEX SIGN, IN THIS CASE, MADE OF HAIR. BUT JUST LIKE A STOP SIGN, DREADLOCKS AREN’T JUST HAIR, THEY’RE ALSO THE MEANING OF HAIR. FOR EXAMPLE, A DREAD RASTAWOMAN DOESN’T JUST HAVE ‘MESSY’ OR ‘COOL’ HAIR. SHE HAS A RIGHTEOUS SIGN OF HER DEDICATION TO JAH RASTAFARI. HER DREADLOCKS ARE NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT THE MEANING THEY CARRY. NOW, MEANING IS IMBUED WITH HISTORY - THINK OF THE CONFEDERATE FLAG - AND THAT IS ONE OF THE POINTS FUCK YEAH CULTURAL APPROPRIATION IS TRYING TO MAKE: YOU CAN’T JUST TAKE A CULTURAL SIGN AND ACT AS IF IT HAS NO HISTORY, AS IF A HEADDRESS OR DREADLOCKS JUST EXISTS ‘IN ITSELF.’ BECAUSE IF YOU DO, YOU’RE DOING A VERY REAL KIND OF VIOLENCE, YOU’RE TRYING TO BREAK A SIGN, YOU’RE TRYING TO BREAK MEANING. AND THESE MEANINGS CAN BE ANYTHING FROM RELIGIOUS DEVOTION, TO FAMILY LINKS, TO LINEAGE, TO HONOR, MOURNING, AND SO ON. CULTURE LIVES IN SIGNS, SO WHEN SOMEONE TRIES TO DENY THE MEANING OF SIGNS, THEY’RE TRYING TO KILL THAT SIGN, AND SO TRY TO KILL A LITTLE BIT OF CULTURE. IF YOU TRY AND APPROPRIATE SIGNS, YOU’RE TRYING TO LEAVE A CULTURE OF PURE SIGNIFIEDS, AND NO SIGNIFIERS. HOW IS A CULTURE GOING TO SIGNIFY IF YOU TRY AND TAKE ALL ITS SIGNIFIERS? AND ALSO, HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO SIGNIFY, IF YOU HAVE ALL SIGNIFIERS, BUT NO SIGNIFIEDS?
NOW, OF COURSE, SIGNS DON’T JUST HAVE ONE MEANING, THEY MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS IN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE INVERTED CHRISTIAN CROSS IS OFTEN UNDERSTOOD TO BE SATANIC. BUT IN A SCHOLASTIC CATHOLIC CONTEXT, THE INVERTED CROSS IS THE SIGN OF ST. PETER, AND SIGNIFIES HUMILITY EVEN IN THE FACE OF DEATH. OR THE SWASTIKA, WHICH IS A SACRED SYMBOL FOR TONS OF FOLKS AROUND THE WORLD, BUT WHICH GOT MADE A SHITSHOW OUT OF BY THE FUCKING NAZIS.
SO WHAT WE’RE SAYING ISN’T THAT THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO WEAR HAIR, OR THAT ONLY SOME ‘RACES’ CAN USE CERTAIN SYMBOLS. WHAT WE’RE ARGUING IS FOR AN UNDERSTANDING OF CULTURAL SIGNS AS REAL HEAVY SHIT, AND FOR A WAY OF BEING THAT TRIES TO READ SIGNS IN THEIR CONTEXT, IN THEIR FULL SIGNIFICATION, EVEN THE SAD, UNCOMFORTABLE PARTS, THE GENOCIDAL PARTS, THE SLAVERY PARTS, THE TRAIL OF TEARS PARTS, AND ALL THE PARTS THAT MAKE YOU RETHINK NOT ONLY YOUR HAIRSTYLE, BUT ALSO YOUR PLACE IN HISTORY AND YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY TO OTHERS.
I saw someone ask for the link to this earlier. It’s brilliant and relevant as always.
Eurasian protagonist (exact Asian heritage unclear) Faith of Mirror’s Edge, a parkour-based game by a Swedish company.
Fan Re-imagining of a “prettier” Faith by a Korean gamer
From an ethnic Korean gamer:
“There is always a huge complain from Asian gamers whenever Western developers design Asian female characters…” As Torokun continues, this is mainly because many Westerners’ definition of what is considered as “Asian” beauty is very different from what Asians consider beautiful.”
Which do you prefer? I (this coming from an Asian female) prefer the softer, younger face of the second (though the boobs are ridiculous/unrealistic for a slim Asian girl who does parkour). Ideally, the body of the first and face of the second, I don’t know why the eye tat was missing from the second.
Some translated comments from Japanese gamers:
“There’s no way Japanese would accept a face like that.”
“That woman is extremely homely.”
“Not sure if moe-style is necessary, but that original face is awful.”
“She’s totally flat.”
“I kinda like the character. I don’t think Asian equals ugly.”
“Fuck off Asian beauty!”
“Man, the Mirror’s Edge protagonist is way creepy… It’s like some Asian female stereotype.”
“The eyes are way too Asian.”
“Everyone knows Western female game characters are ugly.”
“That face makes her look 40 years old.”
“For Westerns, there’s not much difference between the faces that eat kimchi and the faces that eat soy sauce.”
“The original is better looking.”
“Slant eyes for Asians is the same as big lips for black people.”
“If you really sit and think about it, in America, Lucy Liu is an angel, right?”
“Who cares about this one game person’s opinion.”
“But foreigners think slant eyes are sexy.”
“Americans like aggressive faces?”
“Well, Japanese people have the stereotype that Americans are fat, bald and clumsy. It’s the same.”
Realistic-looking East Asian eyes from a Japanese hetalia fanartist (sorry, I’m a fangirl).
China is on the far right on the top row and Japan on the far left on the second row. You will notice that China has single eyelids but it looks nothing like the ridiculously slanty Western stereotypes of East Asian eyes :/
“I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world.”—Lemony Snicket (via andiemiller)