Asian Women Carnival launches
Jess McCabe // 7 April 2009
The first Asian Women Carnival has been posted on the yennega community LiveJournal.
It’s a massive collection of posts, mostly from LJ, and I haven’t had time yet to read through everything, but some of the great posts I have read include bossymarmalade on cultural appropriation and ambientlight’s post about how the fact she’s Chinese Singaporean affects her experience studying at Oxford.
Yennega ciderpress says:
We, Asian women, cannot be defined solely by simply geography, from east to west, north to south, nor history nor culture nor ancestry. Different groups of people lay claim to and define themselves as “Asian”, Women who identify as and are identified as Asian may never set foot outside the Asian continent or indeed set foot on Asian soil. In the same way, different groups of Asians are excluded under this umbrella term I find so hard to define because of the way “Asian” is defined by dominant majority groups. In the U.S., Asian means East Asian. In the U.K., Asian means South Asian. The various different identities resulting from the multiple diaspora cultures and native cultures in South East Asia makes “Asian” a far more complex concept than it is in an overwhelmingly mono-ethnic Korea.
As an East Asian woman who grew up in the U.K., I know that my Asian-ness is not the same as my British-Sinhalese friend Anuka’s Asian-ness — I still hesitate to call myself Asian without heavy qualifiers when I am with British Asian friends. I know that my Asian-ness is not the same as my cousin’s, who has spent her whole life in Japan and I know it is not the same as my mother’s Asian-ness, even though she came to this country so many years ago. I look at the shortlist of women in this year’s Asian Women of Achievement Awards and I know that all of these Asian women have come from different backgrounds and negotiated the spaces around them in different ways to achieve excellence.
In order to know myself and to know others, in order to separate out the cultural expectations from the west and the east on who we are and how we should be as Asian women, in order to shrug off the responsibility imposed by being presumed to be representative of all Asian women, in order to see other Asian women as they are and not how I think they should be, I think it is important to hear from other Asian women’s voices from all over the world, in various different stages of their lives talk about their identity and how it touches on various aspects of their lives. I think this is essential to truly understand the cultural heritage that is part of me and how to respectfully find and perhaps rebuild a cultural identity that belongs to me instead of accepting the consensus that I am a perpetual foreigner in every land. I believe that listening to and talking with as many Asian women as I can will help me not feel so alone, unknown and isolated, it will help me define who I am as an individual Asian woman, rather than be defined and it will help me to preserve what has been handed down to me in blood and bone and song.