“That is what they do in Korea. They yell at people’s butts.” (I am also at a loss on why K-pop rap stars scream at a woman’s butts in music videos.) That is what I overheard from a a gaggle of elementary schoolers the other day. With all the hullabaloo surrounding the viral hit sensation that is South Korean rapper, Psy, and his invisible horse dance (yeah, Asians love to act cheesy) to enduring legacy of the martial arts legend Bruce Lee (may he rest in peace) and his ability to take down fifty attackers in a matter of minutes (yeah, Asians innately unleash “fists of fury” in the face of adversity), many Asian stereotypical roles are still being perpetuated in the entertainment industry and media. Let’s further explore how others view the Far East, shall we?
(If you have not guessed by now, I am full on Asian with some Chinese thrown in for good measure and encountered these myths during my somewhat normal childhood.)
•Asians are generally perceived as nerds: bespectacled, soft spoken geniuses with Ivy League degrees thus socially awkward but highly exceptional in the areas of math and science, technically savvy, violin and piano prodigies, respectful and obedient automatons in respect to elders in families (and consumers of copious amounts of white rice.) With these external pressures and expectations, we are also highly mentally dysfunctional and damaged. Yes, I am relatively good at math (but algebra-trigonometry was beyond my capabilities), loved chemistry, and studied psychology and biology in college. But does that make me some super duper intellectual?! My Asian friends are all similar lifestyle wise: love our mothers and fathers, live relatively comfortable lives complete with significant others, husbands, wives and report daily to normal office jobs not related to science. And we are all slightly dysfunctional, but; our culture does not have the market cornered on mental anguish; everyone on this planet is tainted in some way. (Okay, okay, I will concede to the white rice consumption. We all eat bowls of it on a daily basis. There, I said it!)
•Martial arts expertise is genetically programmed into our DNA. As much as I enthusiastically watched Kung Fu theatre on weekend afternoons as a child (honestly, i thoroughly relished watching two grown men battling it out and tearing out of each others long braids), Asians do not all possess an innate ability to execute a precise fatal, flying roundhouse kick to the head or any part of the body or block opponents’ blows with our seemingly indestructible forearms. We do not fend off dozens of attackers coming from all sides while dressed in traditional, elaborate, silk robes, cheongsams and keikogis. And we certainly do not take a pair of chopsticks and try to capture a fly straight out of the air like in the Karate Kid. For pete’s sake, a martial arts skill is something I could have used in elementary and junior high school against bullies (or at least have a badass defender/mentor like the unassuming Mr. Miyagi teaching me to “wax on, wax off”. And no, not all elderly Asian men are outwardly benevolent but deadly martial artists. By the way, I did take a martial arts course in college to fulfill the physical eduction requirement. It was very cool since my sensei trained the local Navy Seals and Steven Seagal is afraid to take challenge him. But, I did not turn out to be a ‘crouching tiger’ nor a ‘hidden dragon’.)
•Asian women are exotic, sex slaves catering to erotic whims of men. The media represents them as delicate creatures who perform willingly any task then wait patiently to be tossed away like a soiled tissue all the while smiling. We are china dolls and geishas (remember the Gangnam Style video with the female performers with their fragile frames and super pale complexions). This submissive minority female portrayal is an outright slap in the face. We are neither soft spoken, obedient or delicate. We are intelligent, opinionated, outspoken and well spoken and do not need a man to take care of us. And that is that!
•Asian parents are strict, overbearing, unfeeling with unbelievably high academic expectations of their offspring. Ok, this stereotype is somewhat true and I don’t want to get started on this. If you grew up in this kind of environment, you and only you can tell if it has affected your mental state and how you live your life today. I would like to think they (all the Asian parents out there) have our best interests at heart.
In actuality, all the aforementioned perceptions are disguised positives: we have a strong work ethic, can help others with math homework, fix computers, whip up awesome fried rice, poke fun at ourselves and garner millions of YouTube viewers, and maybe, just maybe we (even the unassuming fragile or elderly) may execute some pretty snazzy high kicks, too.
(Note: I know that I am little behind in the summer movie watching department so sue me!)
BLAM!” ”POW!” “BOOM! ” Remember those action words flashing across your Zenith cathode ray tubed television?! Yeah you do and if you don’t then you do not know what you have been missing. The Batman television series had many of us hooked and we anxiously waited to see if the weekly dastardly villain had finally put an end to Batman’s and Robin’s heroic ways.
Ahhhh…….the olden days. That campy Technicolor Batman of yore has now been replaced by Christopher Nolan’s present day Batman: bedraggled recluse being tended to by the ever faithful Alfred in the cavernous Wayne Manor. Eventually, Bruce Wayne is forced to don the suit due to the appearance of the heinously masked Bane (Tom Hardy). This muscle bound mercenary’s mission to overtake Gotham is overwhelming for even the most well equipped super hero like Batman. Enter Batman’s Scooby gang: Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman), intuitive, street smart beat cop John Blake ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt), thief Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and invention extraordinaire, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman).
What ensues is the requisite bone crunching, car smashing, grenade launching, and gunfire battles we come to expect out of a summer action blockbuster. As Gotham falls to the merciless Bane, we desperately root for the good guys to come out on top. As each actor took a turn onscreen to deliver their lines, my candy supply dwindled as well as my large lemonade. Each scene became enticingly and seemingly the end, and yet not while my lower extremities became numb. Despite the superb performances and action sequences, The Dark Knight Rises in the end stretched beyond a normal human’s attention span.
Women all have their obsessions: shoes, purses, etc. I am, for all of intensive purposes, addicted to an array of lip products – balms, glosses, lipsticks. I have tried products from the ever reliable Chapstick brand to Clinique to the main stay of pre teens everywhere – Lip Smackers. Women everywhere exfoliate, moisturize, stain, color, outline, paint, gloss and lacquer lips with abandon. Which leads to me the question of why do I (and countless other lip junkies) devote so much time, effort and financial resources on this particular feature?
Our mouths are essential. We need them to speak. We need them to eat. But lips have another job: to divulge plenty about a person without uttering one word. Upturned corners of the mouth signal happiness, contentment and that all is right with the world while downward corners convey sadness, worry. Since lips are also host to a vascular network, they can react, broadcasting one’s mood. For example, being less than truthful results in receding of lips, as if the lips are trying to disappear. When one is under stress, one tends to bite their lips in order to self soothe. Assessing the lip movements can aid others in determining another person’s actual emotional state despite what may be coming out of their mouths.
And lest we forget that lips signify fertility in the sexual realm. Men view women with full lips as more sexually appealing. Armed with perception that one must have ample, voluptuous lips, women will reportedly spend nearly $1500 on lipstick alone in a lifetime. Cosmetic manufacturers promise that their products will plump, smooth, and make them simply irresistible.
Lips convey so much, but will you be able to separate truth from fiction by watching someone’s lips in the future? And will you judge another by the state of their plump or thin lipped appearance?
There was an unearthly silence that hung in the air one evening. I was going about my business: laundry, dish washing and other tidying up chores that take up a fair amount of my time. Then I realized that the other two occupants of this household were nowhere to be found at that very moment. Hmmm….it was to hot to be outside enjoying the fresh air. Equally unlikely was any destination outside of the home unless it was the comic book shop or the local ice cream parlor or video game store. No, I would have been notified of their impending departure to those obvious father-daughter haunts. And then it dawned on me as I heard murmurs of oh no and distant static gunfire bursts. I though it could not be and yet it was. HALO. More specifically HALO: Reach.
I hesitantly went down the stairs, not prepared for what I saw. The basement family room had become Video Gamer Central (replete with beverages, an assortment of snacks and empty wrappers). My kindhearted daughter and devoted husband were in the throes of a death match with others on Xbox Live. My daughter (dubbed the Chosen One) was online trying to defeat the arrogant teen cousins of the West. Headsets glowing and trash talking banter intertwined with the space soldiers barking orders made for a unique feast of sight and sound. My first thought was to demand that they finish the game and head upstairs to join the rest of the world. Then I thought better of it and bit my tongue, figuratively and literally.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, parents engaging in age appropriate video game play with their children is linked to achieving stronger familial bonds, strengthening overall mental health and reducing the likelihood of contentious behavior (aka talking back to mom mad dad; okay that was my two cents as a parent).
The Journal of Adolescent Health researchers infer that parent involvement in the area of gaming has more of an impact on daughters versus sons. Fathers were more likely to play video games with their children; mothers were less likely to be participants. The positive outcomes were as follows: more quality time and increased communication between parent and child. Thus, the parent-child relationship is overall improved. In the long run, effects of playing Wii Bowling or Just Dance with your wee one is far-reaching.
Though this started as a post about being a Halo widow, it was really about the impact of connecting with sons and daughters through gaming. As I settle down on the couch with controller in hand, I can be assured as I am being obliterated by the Covenant mercenaries in the Halo universe that my daughter is on her way to being a capable adult.
For more info, please check out this link to the article: http://m.nbcnews.com/technology/ingame/gaming-your-daughter-good-her-125296