Category Archives: Feminism

Submarining, because let’s give men another excuse

Yes, that title was meant to suck you in and yes that title is meant to be controversial so shallow people that don’t bother reading the article post a few hateful Facebook comments without actually looking at what I’m trying to say.

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Have you noticed that lately we’ve got ‘dating trends’ showing up on our Facebook newsfeed, as if they never existed before? They’re advertised as if they’re something bright and shiny, and it’s often glossed over that ‘no, actually, this has been happening forever and we are now giving it a name because the 24 hour news cycle requires us to name shit that doesn’t really need to be named or encouraged but hey the world is already so shitty might as well add some more to the pile of crap we have to consume’. Damn that’s a long sentence.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of going to my newsfeed and finding another reason why dating in the 21st century, particularly post-Tinder, is such a ball-ache. Yes, I just said ball-ache, and yes, I mean my lady balls are hurting because: society.

Society because, in the East and the West, there’s some ridiculous rule that you’re supposed to be married before you’re 30. Society because people are having kids without actually wanting to have them, thinking that’s ‘what you’re supposed to do’ after settling down with one person. Society because somehow being single is so taboo that you should be signed up to at least 2 or 3 of those crappy apps talking to men who only want you for a few hours (ha if they can even make it that long), never to hear from him again (and if you don’t drop your knitting and come running to his bed you’ll be unmatched). Society, because these crappy apps and loose women fantasies has taught men that ‘all girls want…’

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Don’t we know by now, after years and years of research, that men can’t differentiate? That men do this sweeping generalisation thing because god forbid one woman is different from the other: “All girls want a relationship. All girls want to get married. All girls want to have babies. All girls want a 3 tiered vanilla and chocolate cake covered in coconut icing.” Hey guys, did you know that a woman is actually someone with a brain and feelings, and should be treated as a fellow human being rather than a sex toy? That perhaps, she is going to be far more stimulated by your great conversational skills rather than your square jawline? That perhaps, having a conversation and sharing a laugh doesn’t mean she’s expecting a ring on her finger? And most importantly, that perhaps that weird thing that you do with your tongue she isn’t going to love like your last sexual partner?

FFS.

I reject all of these stupid articles about the latest trend in whatever. Dating is now a total freakshow it’s ridiculous that a) we are training men to think its OK to follow these dating trends by normalizing them/naming them and b) entertaining it like it’s OK. The media NEEDS to stop trivializing this and making it out to be part of the 24 hour news cycle. People popping in and out of your life after months, maybe even years, is not a NEW thing. It’s been happening for centuries already. It’s just happening with more frequency now because we now have access to more potential partners than we ever had before. Stop trying to make it happen. It’s not going to happen, because it’s already happening.

No, it’s not ok to be submarined. It’s not ok to zombie, or catch and release, or whatever the hell else it is we- men and women- are doing to each other.

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It’s a jungle out there: a free-for-all, anything goes, I’ll be selfish and not give a crap about anything… There is a lack of humanity in dating. Show me a few people that aren’t afraid of their feelings and that are comfortable being honest with people in their lives, be they a one night stand or a summer fling. Show me some decency, some appreciation, ‘hey you took the time to show up let’s be people first, animals later.’

Are they still out there? Because I’m starting to believe maybe they’re not… and despite what society says, I’m actually OK being on my own and not settling down just yet. Is it my dream to finally find ‘the one’? Maybe one day (I’m got pretty damn close this morning when a rugby team was splashing around my local swimming pool– 😍). But I’m not going to settle for someone who can’t even recognise my humanity and secretly wishes they could be on Tinder because of all the [imaginary] free booty awaiting them. Call me a hippy, call me bitter, call me whatever you want. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, living the dream. Because despite not having fulfilled this one, I’ve had many, many more dreams come true. ❤

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i/c: Graphic 1, graphic 2, graphic 3

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Being Woman

I am a woman in 2016. I am scared to walk alone at night, because I don’t know who or what will try and violate me- verbally or physically. I am proud to exclaim ‘girl power’ in the office because the admin girls get shit done. I’m ashamed of my cleavage when a new dress droops down more than I thought. I am uncomfortable when people stare at the ladders in my tights from a faulty desk at work. I am fiercely proud of my heritage and the cultural understanding it helps me promote.

Men, the poor souls. They have to put up with so much, they get told so many things- how to act, what to wear, how (not) to pick up women, changing gender roles where their masculinity and power is being taken away from them, with nothing to replace it. We talk about women shattering glass ceilings, but maybe we should be careful of the men falling from said ceilings? We need to catch them too.  And what about working daddies? The latte papas? They need space and time to grow into their new roles co-parenting, but society keeps implying that they aren’t allowed, because while traditional female roles are evolving, the male roles feels stale and stagnant.

 

Ok, now that men feel good about a feminist having fought for their cause, let’s get down to the touchy feely woman-y stuff. There are so many different issues in the fight for equality, oftentimes, it’s hard to know where to look or what to fight for. I’m coloured, but I’m not, because even though I have small eyes and brown skin, I am curvy AF and hold a very powerful burgundy passport. I am not living up to my full working potential because of my gender, but also because of the current political and economic climates that have clashed to create an uncertainty that not even men can really comprehend or survive. I am sick of men on Tinder just saying ‘boobs’ and expecting me to reply in the positive. I dress nice and put on make-up because I like the power it gives me, not because I’m looking to impress everyone on the street with my great fashion sense. And yet, I do wear cute clothes to work because as a temporary receptionist you’re expected to just smile and look pretty, and that is a lot that I advertently, and inadvertently, choose to accept.

And don’t get me started on marriage. Everyone wants you to get married and have babies and you know what? Having a boyfriend is lovely. It really is. Someone to make you tea and share in the household work. Someone to complain to and take your anger out on, and most importantly, to cuddle you in bed. But it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t do those things for yourself, first. I am a woman and I’m learning to be independent. I can travel the world and go anywhere, and yet, if I can’t stay home alone on a Sunday without seeing anyone, then who am I, really? I put that pressure on myself and I over-analyse and suddenly I’m no one, I’ve made myself feel yae big. But then I cook an excellent meal for one and I’m a bit more human.

It’s the little things. It’s what we let ourselves do, it’s the flaws that we accept. Yes, I really hate mopping. I’ll hoover, I’ll sweep, but it’ll take a lot to get a mop out. But maybe that’s okay. I should give myself a break, I should give myself more breaks. That’s when I turn on the TV and see the beautiful woman who has it all and always has her legs perfectly shaved (OK this problem doesn’t apply to me, Eurasian genes) and suddenly I’m back to struggling with my feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt again. It has been a while since I shaved my legs. I should probably hop in the shower now and shave them. Or you know what, to hell with it. Not only is no one going to notice, but the biggest reason is: I CAN’T BE BOTHERED.

Dear Man on the Street

Dear Man on the Street,

First of all, thank you for ruining my sunny Sunday.  I’d had brunch with my friends, done a bit of cleaning, called my parents, and gone into town for a catch up with a friend as well as as some much needed time alone.

I was softly singing to myself as I was walking up that steep hill towards my home, wearing sunglasses and a big jumper, not looking particularly inviting to any conversation or attention, when you snarled at me as you walked past me.  You snarled.

Thank you for reducing me to a piece of meat.  You couldn’t even say, ‘Hello beautiful’ or ‘You look good’ or anything that, you know, humans say to each other.  You could only imitate an animal, as if I was something to a) be conquered b) to be eaten/taken wildly, because I am so goddamn hot and sexy and irresistible that you can’t even formulate the words quick enough to treat me like a lady.  Because obviously I’m not good enough to be a lady, I am only good enough for you to satiate your sexual desire.

I didn’t respond.  Honestly, because you’re not the only Man on the Street.  Surely, it should be normal by now, considering how goddamn hot and sexy I am, that this happens to me on a regular basis.  And yes, it does happen, but it has been a while since I’ve walked alone anywhere (in broad daylight).  I want to walk you through my mind, what happened in my head for the five minutes following your gutteral roar, because that’s how long it took me to get home.

To start, I looked around- are there any more of you?  Do I need to speed up my pace?  Are there any witnesses other than the cars whizzing by me on the main road?  Then, tears threatened to spring up.  I didn’t even respond to you.  I should have tripped you.  Or tae-kwon-do-ed you to the ground.  Or shouted.  Or, the least I could have done, was given you the finger.

God, I’m not only goddamn sexy and beautiful, I’m also stupid.  I didn’t even bother responding to you.  But then, what would it have helped?  Would it have actually put me in danger, instead? Yes, that’s why I didn’t respond.  I didn’t want to put myself in harm’s way, because clearly, it was a dangerous situation.  On a Sunday afternoon in Denmark at 4pm with the sun shining brightly.

But was it even that dangerous?  Come on, Arna.  You’re in one of the safest countries in the world, and there are hundreds of cars passing by you.  You really are stupid.  And you clearly aren’t a feminist.  Because if I were a feminist, I would have said something. I would have stood up for myself, and my gender.  I would have, for all the girls in the world, told you that you were an asshole.

But it wasn’t even fear.  Was it acceptance?  Oh my god Arna were you actually flattered?  FUCK no.  I was not.  But I accepted it because this happens all the time.  And no not because I think I’m so goddamn hot and sexy, but because men think they can get away with it- and voila, they do- you just let him get away with it!

Dear Man on the Street- I’m less than a minute away from the gates of my home.  My safe place.  Shortly, you’ll be on the other side of this invisible bubble, and I will rant about you and get angry about you, and mostly, I’ll be disappointed in myself.  Because I let my girls down today.  I let my women down.

Dear Man on the Street- This happens all the time.  I’m constantly letting my girls down because of you.  I am so programmed to steer clear rather than face you, that I am living in a constant state of guilt, anger, and resentment toward your kind.

Dear Man on the Street- Piss off.

Not Quite Dating…

The story of online dating through the eyes of a Dutchanese.

So, basically, there’s like six of us that could give you this perspective.  But I’ll share with you.  The reason I’m sharing this is mostly because of this article I stumbled upon the other day:

This is so interesting because, let’s face it, dating is a nightmare.  I’m not looking for a boyfriend, but I’m looking for a connection with a human being (and also maybe do some naughty stuff) that is more than friendship, because we all want to feel a ‘special connection’ with someone.  We want to feel loved.  We want to wake up in someone else’s arms and feel their warmth next to us in bed. It’s only natural.

In Asia, this basic human instinct is intensified in a far more pragmatic manner: Marry well, so you will be set up for life.  As Asian women in general are starting to gain more independence and therefore marry later, divorce rates climb, and OH MY GOD THE INTERNET!!!!!!! times are a-changing, my love.  Say what you want, in Taiwan especially, we are making leaps and bounds out of tradition.  The older generation is at odds with the younger generation, but at the same time fascinated with the inner workings of love online (…I can’t wait to have this conversation with my dad after he reads this post…), buying things online, Apple, HTC, and the list goes on!

So, anyway, back to the Asian-ness of online dating.  As a joke, just over a month ago my friend convinced me to join Tinder, just to see what my options out there were.  Jeez.  Slim pickin’s.  Dude, if we’re meeting on something that feels as ‘formal’ as an online dating app, you need to put in a bit of effort before I agree to meet you, much less do anything else with you.  As a Dutchanese, I will want a connection with you before we take anything further.  Why am I bothering?  Oh, yeah, there’s this thing called self respect.  It’s OK, I’ll wait here while you look it up in the dictionary. … … … … you get me now?  If I wanted a one night stand I’d just go to a bar at closing time and take my pick.

So, it’s really no surprise that Asian men and women are looking to bridge the gap between the traditional and progressive manner of dating, and surely, it’s also much safer?  Many times when someone is trying to chat me up I wonder, ‘am I being catfished? What if you’re really a kidnapper?’ I would feel much safer and comfortable if I knew that there was something, someone watching over me while I attempt to figure out what this whole online dating thing is about.  Now, in all honesty, I am far, far too uninvested in dating right now to care that much, so Tinder got deleted less than a week later, and once, when I got REALLY bored, I downloaded it again just to see what kind of guys are out there, but then, sooner rather than later, it got deleted again.

I just wanted to bring this article to the spotlight, and just say, for the record, I agree with my fellow Easterners.  Dating isn’t always so one to one.  The only reason a lot of people go on dates is because of a recommendation by friends (‘he’s really nice, I think you’ll really get along’, ‘oh, what about that guy? Bob’s friend? Yeah, he’s cute!’), so why should that be any different when we try and bring our mating rituals online?  Just something to think about.

Why I’m scared

Dear bunch of boys on the train.
I wanted to write you to let you know that I’m scared of you. By the looks of you, you’re around 18, and I heard you shouting about buying drinks.

I’m not sure what race you are, I just know you are ‘total gangsters’ cos you shouted ‘how many p you got’.
I’m not scared of you because I know one of you is black. I’m not even scared of you because you’re talking so ‘tough’.
I’m scared of you because you’re clearly rough-housing. My Calvin Harris album isn’t covering up the noise of you guys pushing each other around. I’m scared you’re going to accidentally hit me, and fall into me, and therefore hurt me.
I’m scared your anger at each other while talking shit might be taken out on me, some Asian looking chick sitting behind you rolling her eyes at you because you’re acting like a bunch of 6 year olds.

And while I’m here, I’m also really scared of your language. I know I’m a bit of a potty mouth but HOT DAMN you guys are taking this to a whole new level. And what you talk about as well- ‘all that pussy’, ‘that Hot French one’, I’m gonna be making 5 bills a week’, and ‘we’re gonna get done in tonight’ really freaks me out. I’m not asking you to speak the queens English but I wish you would remember that you’re on public transport. And the f bomb probably shouldn’t be dropped quite as often.

I’m not saying this out loud because I’m afraid you might all burst out laughing and you’ll start shouting ‘Ching Chong’ at me, or shout abuse at me. Because every time I’ve tried to say something about anti social behaviour it’s blown up in my face.

Ah, you’re getting off the train now. Please stop shouting and making sudden aggressive movements. It’s not only scary for me but it’s also 11pm at night, please respect others trying to get home quietly without too much fuss.

I hope you all go far in life, I really do. But you keep acting the way you do and you’ll struggle. You won’t be making those ‘5 bills a week’…. Oh, and have a safe night.

Lots of love,
A rather timid passenger.

Call Me Feminist

I love cooking for people. In Asia, taking care of people is expected, for both men and women. The fact that I cook does not make me less feminist, that’s just how I take care of people.

I love wearing dresses and skirts. I have good legs. And I find pants too bunchy and uncomfortable. But it doesn’t mean that I’m anti feminist. If anything, I assert my right to wear whatever the hell I want.

I love my make up and my skin care routine. So I care about my hygiene. What does that mean? I take care of myself. I think it’s important. If I look prettier for it, great. But I don’t wear make up so I get a double take from the hot dude reading, but to show my boss and my clients that I make an effort to look presentable. I don’t bother competing with the girls out there anymore. They are clearly far more skilled and use far more than I would know what to do with. I will settle for the kind-of-pretty-but-I-won’t-hit-on-her girl you spot on a night out. I don’t take kindly to drunken advances anyway. THAT makes me a feminist.

In honour of international women’s day, I would like to put my happy thoughts out there. I want to set an example. I want to be brave, and I don’t want to keep getting hurt by my inability to assert myself (post on that is yet to come).

I want all girls to have someone to look up to, and I hope one day that can be me. To show others that it’s okay to go after what you want and that we shouldn’t be bound by social convention or what is expected of them.