Mimi on feminism – International Women’s Day

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By Mimi Chan. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

HAPPY 100th Culture Chat Episode to me!

Please listen to my podcast and read the blog – they are different.

Is there a song or something for this? Either way, I am excited to be celebrating my 100th episode in conjunction with International Women’s Day

What is feminism? An evil plot by females to take over the world? The use of dark magic to persecute all males who will not bend to the commands of the superior sex? Sounds absurd?

Mimi and the Phantom
Me as the Angel of Darkness with my Phantom Minion.

It’s almost as absurd as my 40th birthday masquerade outfit…

It baffles me when people raise an eyebrow when I say I’m a feminist. However, if I say I believe in gender equality, they often quickly agree in fear of seeming sexist.

Why are people turned off by the word feminist?

So women can vote, run for office, and have gained some major rights in the past century… I fail to see how this is enough. We still have so much to fight for in terms of equality.

What is International Women’s Day?

A day where all women talk about their period? (By the way kudos Period. End of Sentence for winning an Oscar!) A day where women around the globe start a revolution? None of the above.

International Women’s Day was initially promoted by the Socialist Party of America and popularized by communist countries in the early 1900s. Oh my god! Socialism! No. I am not a socialist. My father escaped communism remember?

Despite its origins, International Women’s Day simply celebrates women’s achievements throughout the world. Its purpose is to promote women’s equality, encourage support for repressed women and promote appreciation toward women everywhere. Many organizations, including the United Nations, use this day to also celebrate extraordinary achievements of ordinary women. #girlpower

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Balance for Better“. The goal is to encourage action to achieve gender equality worldwide. It’s sad that I personally know people who don’t believe in gender equality.

Balance for better ladies
Christine, Lucy, Alexia and I balancing for better!

Sure, they say they do, but actions always speak louder than words.

I love Mad Men as much as the next person, but not because it reminds me of a better era. I watched it because Don Draper is so damn cool, and it reminds me to be grateful they don’t allow smoking on planes anymore.

Back to that supposedly better era… You know, the time when women stayed home and dared to dream of having a career…back when America was great. Some women kick ass at being a homemaker, and more power to them, if that is what they choose.

I am fortunate to have grown up with parents that believe in equality. Although my father is the grandmaster of our kung fu style, and the patriarch of the family, my mother was always a part of the decisions in both the business and the home.

My mother started her own travel business in addition to supporting the Wah Lum Temple‘s growth. She had her own life outside of the home, and even continued to enjoy singing in a band for decades. I never understood why women were treated inferiorly.

#BalanceForBetter means so many things. It symbolizes the hopes of equal opportunities. My husband and I often discuss social issues. He is personal trainer, so we even discuss the differences between men and women.

What? A feminist saying women are different from men? Of course we are! Did you skip basic anatomy class in school? No one denies we are different. We deny we are inferior or superior. Feminists just want equal opportunity and fair treatment. Is that too much to ask?

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

#metoo

Last year I spoke out about my experience with sexual abuse as a child. It was a very difficult time for me, and each day I work on the challenges it has brought me. Although the headlines in the news haven’t recently been inundated with #metoo, it does not mean that the issues do not still occur.

Some of my close friends have asked me how I am doing, after sharing my experience with the world. Honestly, some days I am great and some days I am not.

The support from O, my family, and close friends have been incredible. I don’t need constant encouragement or reminders of their support. Their actions speak louder than words.

The bad days are generally days where stress takes over and I allow the negativity to creep in. I would not be honest if I didn’t admit that there have been major disappointments throughout this experience.

People have disappointed me, but I try not to get angry. I generally do not hold grudges or resentment. I respect everyone’s comfort level with this very difficult subject.

I put on a good tough girl exterior. However, I am still a survivor who struggles with the hardships that come with having been a victim. The most difficult is forgiving and being understanding of those that don’t believe me.

After reading Rebecca Traister‘s excellent book, Good and Mad – The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, I should feel entitled and correct in getting angry. However, I try to focus on directing my anger in the right places. I’ve also listened to her interviews on podcasts where her words really spoke to me:

“When a more powerful person assaults a less powerful person – it is almost indiscernible to us, but when that less powerful person resists by either telling a story or throwing a rock – or whatever it may be – and disrupts or dissents from the way power is supposed to work – that is quickly cast as aggressively disruptive, chaotic, problematic, violent.”
Rebecca Traister

It upsets me that people think I had some sort of vendetta for sharing this very intimate part of my life. That for some reason my abuser is the victim, and I am attacking the person he is today.

Rebecca Traister gives countless examples of how little disruption or justice comes to the lives of the abusers, while the survivors are the ones who take the criticism and are accused of being on witch hunts.

How many of these abusers have really gone to jail? How many of them have really atoned for their actions? Speaking for myself, I needed to be honest with myself to heal. I also just wanted an apology and for my victimizer to take accountability for his actions. That did not happen, but life goes on.

Like countless others before me, I am questioned: Why speak out now? Why wait so long? Are you remembering clearly?

You can read my response here if you haven’t already. I will vent a little here, because it’s my blog, and I can.

People are especially quick to judge strong women. Perhaps if I was always perceived as weak or fragile, I would be perceived as a real victim. I don’t want sympathy. I want compassion.

I also just finished Becoming, by Michelle Obama. Another strong woman who had her fair share of criticism. I am inspired by women like her. Women who admit they are working at becoming who they want to be.

I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life, grandmothers, teachers, aunts, cousins, neighbors, who taught me about quiet strength and dignity. – Michelle Obama

I am a strong woman. I am a survivor. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a struggle to get here. I struggle every day. It is work. It is not easy. I go to therapy, meditate, eat well, exercise and attempt to be a better version of myself each day. I work towards balance for better in all facets of life.

#BalanceForBetter

PODCAST LINKS:

There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable. – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

CULTURE CHAT CREDITS
Host: Mimi Chan
Intro Music: Mike Relm
Editor: Mimi Chan

Comment Rules: Be Cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!

Disclaimer: I am not a writer. I do not claim to be. Apologies for grammatical mistakes, long drawn out run on sentences, and anything else that drives you crazy. I promise it was not my intention. Be lenient, please!

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