I’m hispanic and filipino. I have broader shoulders and wider hips. I gave birth, so my hips and my ribcage are wider now. I have a large nose and a longer face. My hair is thin. In humid areas, it’ll curl, and it not-so-humid areas, it’ll fall limply. I have wide feet and large thighs.
Ever since I was really small, I was made fun of for looking like a man. “How do you hide your Adam’s apple, Larissa?” “Do you always wear dresses because you’re trying to look like a girl?” I was called, “Larry,” and “Gu-Dyke-O” (my last name is Gudino). So, yeah, I did always wear dresses. I wore earrings. I wore make up and I obsessed over having a tiny waist so that I would look more hour-glassy. I used to wear heels all the time (so glad I don’t do that anymore). I wanted to look like a “girl” looks. I wanted to look more feminine.
When I got older and I realized that all of these things are just social constructs, I looked for role models with similar bodies/stronger noses/of the same ethnic origin.
I wish words like “masculine” and “feminine” could be redefined because I have less “feminine” shoulders than other girls. I’ve always wanted to be frail and tiny and to look like I could just be picked up, and not like I could fight someone (though, I admit, I kind of like that). I’m trying to be proud of what I look like, and it’s so fucking hard.
But the real problems are the expectations for women to look feminine and the expectations for men to look masculine, and these archaic definitions of words that were set by old christian straight white men.
I feel like so many people on Tumblr are so body positive and gender proud. They know exactly where they lie, and even if they still have issues, they’re so sure of themselves. I feel like a woman, but I just don’t feel like I look like a woman. It’s making me manic and crazy. It’s making me not want to eat and want to constantly exercise which is making me feel more manic. I want to be able to say, “I am woman. This is what I look like. So women look like this.” But it’s really fucking hard.
What men reply:Ew nevermind you're not pretty anymore
What the reply really means:I can't handle it when a woman knows her own worth and isn't an object for me to project my faux validation onto. You're hurting my masculine savior complex and making me uncomfortable with your confidence stop making me realize that my "generous nice guy" opinion is unneeded you're oppressing me :(
Men who are afraid to feel must keep women around to do their feeling for them while dismissing us for the same supposedly “inferior” capacity to feel deeply. But in this way also, men deny themselves their own essential humanity, becoming trapped in dependency and fear.
I was an awkward and impressionable pre-pubescent
Asian American boy when America’s imagination was captured by a certain
William Hung and his off-key 2004 rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” on American Idol.
That the most visible Asian male mainstream representation of the
moment (other than, perhaps, the cartoonified Jackie Chan of the beloved
Jackie Chan Adventures) was the butt of a crude national joke, and heir to a long history
of Asian male pop culture buffoonery, is indicative of the messages
that I and other Asian American young men received, and continue to
receive, about our own sexuality and desirability. In the context of
romance and sex, we exist for comic relief alone.
The racial emasculation of Asian men in the American imagination is
real, it is pervasive, and it is historically-rooted (dating back at
least to the 19th century when Chinese migrant men took on “feminized”
labor roles in the laundry industry). From pop culture to playground
taunts, I doubt that any Asian American man can fully escape the
psychological implications of this socialization in undesirability. For
me, it remains a personal trope that requires constant unlearning, lest
creeping doubts begin to resurface to cloud the way I see myself and my
role in romantic and sexual relationships. I speak from personal
experience when I say that it has real material and psychological
Cut to: the rise of celebrity chef and memoirist Eddie Huang, whose
swagger, wit, and taste for controversy has made him one of Asian
America’s most visible figures. The unofficial leader and visionary of
the “movement of big dick Asians,”
Huang’s persona has resonated with Asian Americans tired of being an
“invisible” minority, and especially with Asian American men seeking to
reclaim and reassert their own masculinity. But when reclaimed
masculinity comes in such normative, ultra-hetero packaging, are we
doing more harm than help?
Last year, Jenn Fang of Reappropriate.co coined the term “misogynlinity”
(masculinity plus misogyny) to explain how, in working to counter their
racial emasculation, some Asian American men may seek to reaffirm their
own masculinity in problematic ways – namely, by conflating masculinity
with misogyny, and practicing “manhood” through the objectification,
violation, and conquest of women. Fang points to the popularity of pickup artist/dating coaches
amongst Asian American men and the unfortunate tendency for some Asian
American men to shame Asian American women who choose to date non-Asian
partners as examples of how attempts to counter Asian emasculation can
become oppressive forces themselves.
Thus, the trouble with Huang’s “big dick Asian movement,” or with any
concerted attempt to address the widespread emasculation of Asian men
in American pop culture, is in the framing. Are we critically redefining
masculinity? Or are we simply seeking to claim a patriarchal and
heterosexist version of American manhood for ourselves?
I have long feared that Eddie Huang falls into the latter camp. His
Big Dick Asian Movement is legitimately grounded in the frustration of
Asian men in America who have been emasculated, ridiculed, and mocked on
movie screens, in classrooms, and on dating sites. But its framing and
points of action are centered on a fundamentally misogynist notion of
sexual entitlement, encapsulated in Huang’s oft-repeated statement of
purpose that “Jet Li gets no pussy” in Romeo Must Die. That Huang grounds his project of Asian American manhood in the attempted subversion
of stereotypes of Black male hyper-masculinity and the adoption of hip
hop culture cements his project as one that reinscribes, rather than
challenges, systems of racial and gendered oppression.
Which is why Huang’s recent and bizarre Twitter tirade against queer Black feminist blogger Mia McKenzie (creator of the blog Black Girl Dangerous) was upsetting, but not particularly surprising. McKenzie asked Huang to clarify a recent statement he
had made on Bill Maher’s Real Time that “Asian men have been
emasculated so much in America that we’re basically treated like Black
women,” with Huang going on to reference OkCupid ratings, in which Asian men and Black women consistently score the lowest.
See @NakedArtichokes’ Storify to see the exchange in full.
Though the statistics are well-documented, Huang’s phrasing was poor,
and he could easily have been interpreted as using Black women as some
sort of inanimate barometer for social oppression. Yet when McKenzie and
other Twitter users (primarily women of color) asked Huang to admit
that his comments could have been damagingly misinterpreted by his
audience, Huang reacted aggressively, calling McKenzie an “idiot,”
“wildin,” and, in a telling display of male privilege, attempted to
silence McKenzie by calling her “boo” and mockingly asking her out on a
Like McKenzie, I would have liked to give Huang the benefit of the
doubt and assumed that the Maher segment was simply a matter of poor
phrasing and the pressure of appearing on live television (rather than
another instance of using Black oppression to render the experiences of
non-black communities of color more visible). But Huang’s response is
indicative of the fact that his philosophy of manhood is grounded in
sexism, and leverages anti-blackness as a tool for subverting anti-Asian
stereotypes. The fact that the success of ABC’s family sitcom Fresh Off The Boat,
based on Huang’s memoir of the same name, has rendered Huang one of
Asian America’s most visible figures, only compounds my disgust at this
recent Twitter exchange.
I understand the pain and frustration that stems from America’s
racist emasculation of Asian men. But if, as in Huang’s practice,
reclaiming Asian American masculinity means claiming all the ills of
white American manhood – it’s patriarchy, entitlement, heterosexism, and
racism – I want nothing to do with it.
To my fellow Asian American men: can we re-envision Asian American
masculinity to be anti-racist, womanist, queer, and liberational beyond
our own identities? Can we make space for the criticisms of our women of
color peers, and confront the certain privileges and powers that come
with being Asian men in America, rather than attempting to use those
same privileges to silence and shame those who raise critical questions?
Huang’s violent exchange with McKenzie is a reminder that if a movement
towards reclaiming Asian masculinity has any place in radical – rather
than reactionary – political spaces, we can and must do better.
In Greco-Roman wrestling, boxing, and mixed martial arts, there is a rule that you never hit “below the belt.” The area of biggest concern is the testicles. As the Ultimate Fighting Championship rules specify, “groin attacks of any kind” are a foul. This is probably because groin attacks might make for short fights or ones where everyone just goes around protecting their balls. In any case, the skills being tested are of a different kind. But, even aside from that, this seems like a good idea and very civilized. I do not advocate for testicle kicking, not groin attacks of any kind, for what it’s worth.
I do think it’s somewhat odd, though, that men who fight each other outside of controlled conditions—men in street fights, bar brawls, and parking lot scuffles—also usually avoid hitting below the belt. These fights aren’t about training or skill, like those between professional athletes, they’re real attempts to do some damage out of anger or defensiveness. So, why no hits to the balls?
The question was posed by a woman on Yahoo! Answers: “If you dislike each other enough to want them to get hurt,” she asked, “why not do the worst?”
The answers, admittedly unscientific, were interesting. One of the common responses involved the idea that not hitting below the belt was “an unspoken rule.” Maybe it’s the Golden Rule—do onto others as you would have them do unto you—and some men mentioned that, but others suggested that it was a rule specific to manhood. It’s a “cheap shot,” said one. A “low blow,” said another.
But why? Why do men agree not to kick each other in the balls? Why is that part of the code?
I think it’s because it serves to protect men’s egos as well as men’s balls.
What would street fights between guys look like—or professional fights for that matter—if onecould go below the belt? For one, there’d be a lot more collapsing. Two, a lot more writhing in pain. Three, a lot less getting up. All in all, it would add up to less time looking powerful and more time looking pitiful. And it would send a clear message that men’s bodies are vulnerable.
Chris Tuchscherer not having been just hit in the balls:
Chris Tuchscherer having been just hit in the balls:
Not hitting below the belt, then, protects the idea that men’s bodies are fighting machines. It protects masculinity, the very idea that men are big and strong, pain- and impact-resistant, impenetrable like an edifice. So not hitting below the belt doesn’t just protect individual men from pain, it protects our ideas about masculinity.
When a man hits below the belt, he is revealing to everyone present that masculinity is a fiction. That’s why one guy said: “For ‘alpha male’ fights, nut shots are just wrong.” Alpha male fights are about figuring out which male is alpha, while preserving the idea that the alpha male is a thing that matters.
This is why men are quick to criticize other men who break the code. One of the best ways to control men is to threaten to kick them out of the man club. “If a guy kicks another guy in the balls on purpose during a fight,” one replied to the question on Yahoo, “he will forever be banished from manhood.” Another said: “Winning like this means that you cannot beat up the other guy by ‘real’ fighting.” It’s a matter of one’s own reputation: “A man who kicks another man in the balls,” said a third, “immediately loses all manliness and respect.”
So, men generally agree to pretend that the balls just aren’t there. The effect is that we tend to forget just how vulnerable men are to the right attack and continue to think of women as naturally more fragile.
I still don’t want anyone to get kicked in the balls, though, just to be clear.
A new photo editorial from French magazine Black Attitude, titled Dandy Queens, features black women embracing their own sexiness and strength in sharp menswear, and shows masculinity can also be a state of mind.
To all my male friends: if y'all ever really want to go buy like some bath bombs or a nice scented candle or some shit and feel too restricted by the weirdness of masculinity to do so just shoot me a text friend and I will go to lush or wherever for you and get your nice pretty things to you all secret like
”I feel like I have a responsibility to my community and other young girls to help redefine what it looks like to be a woman. I don’t believe in men’s wear or women’s wear, I just like what I like. And I think we should just be respected for being an individual.”
Last week, grisly details emerged in the case of an 18-year-old in the United Kingdom who stabbed three women last summer in what he called “an act of revenge because of the life they gave me.” The case is terrifying because the teen, Portsmouth, Hampshire, resident Ben Moynihan, did not know any of the women and was simply seeking blind revenge for his continued virginity.
Moynihan left a plethora of evidence detailing the motive for his attacks: basically, rejection and misogyny. “I think every girl is a type of slut,” he said in a video recorded on his laptop. “They are fussy with men nowadays, they do not give boys like us a chance.”
So my rugby team did a photoshoot promoting body positivity for National Eating Disorder Awareness month and we included all kinds of body positivity and body love. Positive things about us on the front, negative things we have been called on our backs. So here’s a sneak peek of my photos! I should be getting more in the near future. Photo credit to SC Visuals!