She means everything to me. Like she truly means so much to me.
As a partially Japanese child living in America where everything is white washed and diversity is abhorrent, I was constantly asking my mom “where are the Asian dolls? Where are the Asian girl movies? I want to have a Japanese doll like me!”
Of course, I never did find these Asian girl characters that I wanted. Even as I grew up and discovered Anime, I was still disappointed because the girls and women in these shows and movies were painted to be either docile and submissive, or bat-shit crazy simply for being strong willed.
And on top of not finding an Asian girl who I could connect with, I was being constantly bombarded by bodies much thinner than mine and being told that I was too large for this new size 00 world. This isn’t to say that thin women are evil or should be shamed in anyway, its just that growing up and being told you aren’t thin enough to be worth something…. well it sucks, and I suffered a lot in my early teen years because of it.
I had basically given up hope on finding my Asian, empowered, thick-thighed character to relate to a long, long time ago. And then I saw Big Hero 6.
GoGo Tamago is everything I needed growing up. Not only is she blatantly Japanese— with the wide eyes I always got teased for, the almost spherical, flatter face, and jet black hair— but she’s strong willed and powerful and FUCKING SMART without being portrayed as psychotic. She literally tells people to WOMAN UP! WOMAN UP SHE SAYS! And while she still has a small waist, GoGo has some mad thick thighs and beefy arms and she looks fabulous. She is everything I wanted growing up.
If I would have had GoGo to look up to, I wouldn’t have felt isolated or like a spectacle in my peer groups and school. I wouldn’t have felt so awful when people made jokes about my race. If I would have had GoGo, I wouldn’t have felt ashamed for being “bossy,” or a perfectionist, or the nerdy girl who wanted all her school projects to be the best. I wouldn’t have felt so alone when I said that girls were just as good as boys. If I would have had GoGo, maybe my body image wouldn’t have been so bad that I felt I had to starve myself, overexert my body, and take pills to purge everything I ate in order to be beautiful and wanted.
GoGo Tamago is everything to me. And while it may be a little to late for her to impact the way I grew up and lived out my developing years, I know that she is here now, and I know that I am being represented by her.
And even more important than that, now when a little Japanese girl who is a headstrong perfectionist with thick thighs asks her mom where the characters that look like her are, her mother will be able to point to GoGo and say “there she is sweetie— just as strong and beautiful as you.”
Thank you Disney; thank you Marvel. You’ve given me what I never had and always needed. GoGo Tamago is the role model that would have revolutionized my life growing up, and now she’ll be able to do that for young girls like me.
Again, thank you Disney and Marvel: thank you for giving me a hero.