Mako Mori Is Awesome

Excuse me as I flail in excitement over the opening of Pacific Rim over the weekend!!! Never mind, y’know, mecha in real life – (piloting giant suits of armor yeahhhh!!!), but I feel like this image sums up awesomeness of this film:

Mako and Stacker

Mako Mori  & Stacker Pentecoste

Two POC being given title roles. Not one, but two different POC being given depth roles in a major motion picture! When was the last time that happened? Hmmmm….

makomoriI was especially pleased with the portrayal of Mako Mori – strong, intelligent and driven. My biggest fear going into this film was that she would be regulated to the demure little Asian girl that would be saved by the Golden White Boy. Thankfully, not quite the case and Miss. Mori can totally hold her own.
I would have to say, she made a much bigger impression than her co-pilot and lead protagonist Raleigh Becket.

Here is one awesome quote from Mako:

I do not do it out of obedience, but out of respect.”

Submissive Asian girls? Pshhh whatever.

I could babble on and on again about the awesomeness that is Mako Mori – but really, you all just need to see her action.

Happy Monday y’all!

<3 J

WTF Wednesday: Plasticize your self(ies)!

Dear The Atlantic Online,

Your recent news story reports on technology has created yet another tool for us to indulge our extreme narcissism. “Plastic surgery apps” that now allow the Chinese to beautify their smartphone self-portraits by lightening their skin, enhancing their eyes, and narrowing their noses reflect “attempts to look more Caucasian” in light of “virtual version of plastic surgery trends among Asians and Asian immigrants that preference Caucasian features.”


Because I am a faithful reader and fan of your website, I’d like to offer the following perspective:

1. Asia is usually far ahead of America in terms of early adoption of technology. These apps have been around for a long time and are neither new nor novel.

2. Contrary to your Eurocentric assumptions, Asians aren’t all trying to look Caucasian. Pale skin, large eyes, and feminine features were prized long before Asians had any contact with Europeans. Stop thinking everything is about how everyone wants to be white.

3. Please continue your China reporting. It gives us excellent fodder for the blog.

Yours Truly,

WTF Wednesday: Is Miss Korea is a creepy robot clone?

By now, you may have seen this image floating around the internet of twenty South Korean beauty paegent hopefuls:


Various news sources have highlighted how South Korea’s love of plastic surgery overuse of Photoshop have left these women all looking the same and undecidedly non-Korean.

Putting aside the discussion about the normalization of plastic surgery and Photoshop and what it means to look “Korean”, I’m bothered by some of the commentary I’ve heard that these women have transformed themselves in an attempt to emulate Western standards of beauty.

For instance, these women have been criticized for having the same hair colour and styling their hair so that it is either “tumbling over their shoulders or neatly tied up.” Newsflash: Asians typically have either dark brown or black hair. It’s not a Western thing, it’s genetic. And don’t all women in paegents have the same hair?

The fact that these women prize large eyes and clear skin? Evolutionary biology shows that these traits are universally regarded as attractive, and have been since the beginning of human civilization.

Pale skin? Asia’s love for lily white faces dates back thousands of years. There is a reason why skin whitening and lightening creams are huge in Asia. There is an explanation for Asian sun visors (a topic worthy of a whole other post, I think).

The assumption that Asians are trying to emulate Westerners pre-supposes that “Western features” and “Western beauty” are in fact the ideal that all others aspire to.  A question for all the news outlets: How about not looking at everything through a Western lens?  How about not assuming that everyone just wants to be White?  As J says to me, “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.”

At any rate, I’m more disturbed by the extreme creepiness of the animated gif:

Source: Kotaku (which has a great discussion of the topic)

Happy Wednesday!

Video – Rachel Rostad’s: “To JK Rowling, from Cho Chang”

I have many opinions about Harry Potter, most of which are not relevant to this blog.

Update: April 16, 2013

Considering the backlash that’s been seen over the Internet I think I would like to be a little more specific about my thoughts on this piece.

While the poet is not entirely accurate in all of her facts, (ie. I don’t recall Cho Chang being referred to as a specific Asian nationality by JK Rowling, but my memory of Harry Potter is dodgy these days) I do think she has hit home on a number of points. Perhaps attacking JK Rowling was not the strongest (or wisest) argument she could have made, however it does highlight the general problem of Asian female (mis)representation in literature. Following that it also addresses the tumultuous uphill battle against stereotypes. It’s unfortunate that the context is questionable in this poem, because it had the potential to shine a lot more light on these issues and raise awareness.

I linked the video for you guys. Check it out and see how you feel:



How to: Pick up Asian Girls

Disclaimer: This is a satirical post. Read at your own risk.

Asian Girls are the best. Asian Girls are also notoriously misunderstood. Here are some tips for picking up Asian Girls, courtesy of a real Asian Girl:


1. Lean out a car window and shout “konnichiwa!” at her. This works even if your pronunciation is terrible, because an Asian Girl will find your attempt to speak her Asian language utterly charming. This works even better when you shout “konnichiwa” at a Vietnamese Asian Girl, “ni hao” at a Korean Asian Girl, and so on. Who can tell Asian Girls apart anyways?

2. Tell her, at length, about the year you spent teaching English in Korea. Asian Girls are always impressed by men who have travelled to Asia, have eaten exotic foods like kim chi, and have already acquired an appreciation for how beautiful and sexy Asian Girls are.


3. Are you interested in anime or karate? Did you recently watch Infernal Affairs? Do you like Girls’ Generation? Did you backpack through Thailand during Spring Break in your senior year? Asian Girls love it when men have a deep understanding of their culture and history.

asia-map-iamthehyphen.wordpress4. Ask her if she speaks English. She’s probably new to the country. It’s a major source of pride for Asian Girls to flaunt boyfriends from other countries, so re-double your efforts. If you are certain that she does speak English, but wonder why she always switches to an Asian language when you are around, she is probably so attracted to you that she is too flustered to speak to you and can only whisper her racy thoughts about you to her other Asian Girl friends.

5. Approach an Asian Girl you’ve never met before and ask her, “What kind of Asian are you anyways?” It’s a great icebreaker.

Ain’t No China Doll

Today’s post is brought to you by Chris Brown and his song China Doll (promise this post isn’t about C. Brown). So the song showed up in my inbox this morning, followed with a rant about what an unfairly talented asshat douchebag C. Breezy is.

All I zoomed in on? The song title.

Ho hum, ah yes China Doll, more Chinese female stereotypes being held up in the media.

So it appears that guys seem to think we like being called names like: Fine China, Asian Princess, China Doll, Lotus Blossom, China Doll. Yeah that’s right because we’re all these delicate little souls just waiting to be put away on a crystal glass shelf to be admired. pretty-asian-girl Because we enjoy the the implications that we’re submissive and meek creatures. Of course it’s a compliment to be told we’re so exotic and cute, but essentially helpless and powerless in all ways.

Google wasn’t helpful either, when I tried to do some blog research for counterexamples. I got this on my very first search:

WTF search

These search results reflect some pretty grim implications about the kind of associations being connected with Chinese women. asian girl Something is clearly wrong here if my search for “awesome” turns up something closer in line to sexual objectification.

Really, all these misconceptions needs to stop. Chinese girls? We are very much human, we aren’t dolls to collect. We might look pretty and dainty, but if we can’t physically take you down, we’ll drive our Range Rovers in our Gucci heels and run you over instead. Holler at a Chinese girl with those names above? Chances are she’ll meet you with her bitch face. She doesn’t need to be reminded that she’s an ethnic minority, oh and that you’re trying to imply that she’s inherently submissive. Also, quit with these “specialized tutorials” to try to learn how to “attract us”. There is no secret knowledge to unlock us. The thing that needs to be understood is our rejection of your advances has nothing to do with us being Chinese. It’s just we don’t like you because you’re you.

– J