Why does this matter? A self-interview and reflection.
Interviewer and interviewee: Karen J. Santos
Why did you choose to take this course?
If you ask my close friends, they will tell you I took this course as a prerequisite requirement. If you ask me, I would say the same thing. Though, I will add that I had no idea how this course would turn out, since Professors Ishii had no previous CTECS. I suppose something about the class caught my attention.
Had you taken a gender studies class before?
This is my first Gender Studies class, but it is my second Asian American class. The last Asian American class was titled “Global Asians” and focused on Asian migration patterns in the 20th century. Professor Yuh was a great teacher. Though the class was very lectured, I found the material interesting. That may have played a role in me picking this class. I’m also taking Korean language courses, so I’ve been interested in Asian history and culture.
Did the class meet your expectations?
Like said, I was not sure what to expect other than the fact that Asian American history had been something I was interested in. I was taken aback by the course material because it was more gender studies than anything, only some history. I was unfamiliar with it and unsure how to approach the topics. When I wrote my blogs, my mind was constantly thinking of all these different topics, but I struggled to pick the “gender studies” out of them. Everything was truly intertwined, and I’d recommend someone take a Gender Studies course, if they haven’t, as the writing methods are very different from other classes and subjects.
What do you feel your blog posts lacked? What could you have improved on?
I feel that a common theme throughout my four blogs is that I failed to explain why the topics I discussed matter. I will admit that when I was told to write blog entries, I was thrown off, but I’ve always had an issue with creating thesis statements because my mind always wishes to focus on many and all ideas. Even as I edited my first and third blog, I wondered if I was doing it correctly. I tried my best to focus on one topic and not get sidetracked. I tried.
Before we go further into what you learned in the course, tell me a bit about each one of your blogs.
The first blog was a mess. In fact, all of the blogs were. Until I wrote the fourth blog, I was wondering whether or not I was even talking about gender studies. My mind was on pick-an-interesting-topic-to-discuss mode. It isn’t that direct gender related topics weren’t interesting; I just felt that a lot of the material was circle like, and everything was what had already been discussed in class. Gender topics are also something (at least I am guilty of this) we assume we already know. I believe it is because of this reason that I engaged less than I could have. Everything just seemed so straight forward…
Yet, I probably struggled a lot more than my other classmates. Yes, this course in challenging. You imagine you know what to think, and you may, but it is reaching that SECOND level of depth that is extremely difficult- Oh! Also, I suppose it was difficult to think of topics because my mind always thinks Gender Studies has to be something about female and males. That is not the case, though. I’ve learned it has more to do about social structures, white male heteronormative social norms to be exact.
My first blog post discussed media and Hollywood films, how the industry can be changed and why it hasn’t been so already. My second blog discusses Asian and Asian American suicide, but it really ends up explaining the role of “betrayal” and “saving face” in Asian society. My third blog discusses Chua’s daughter’s response to the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I would have wished to talk more about gender roles, if Sophia had been a male, than abuse, but the word limit only allows you to discuss one topic, and I didn’t want to lose focus when I edited it. Lastly, my fourth blog is about my friend Kelvin and how he has dealt with the stereotype that Asian men’s penises are small and violence and responses to these constructs.
Why do your blog posts matter?
Asking this question is basically asking why the class matters. I’m not sure if I’m capable of answering it without first thinking of my ignorant reply: “equality.” I will admit that I still have a lot to learn, but at the same time, that is my answer: so people don’t remain ignorant like me. Obviously, there are people who simply don’t care for the topic, but worse, there are people like me: people who understand… but not really. People who can explain but not tell you the why. It is to talk about inequalities that exist, social structures that are in place. I mentioned earlier a SECOND level of depth, and it is this: why? It may even be easier than thinking of solutions for this issue. To understand the “gender studies” around us, the hierarchy, the sexism, is to understand that something must be done about it. I can probably go on and bring up examples and facts, but my focus for this curatorial is the why because it is what I have personally struggled with. Why do my blog posts matter? Because something can be done about the film industry. If we understand the cycle, we can stop it. Because practices define cultures, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we should keep them. Because stereotypes shouldn’t be validated and glorified. Because victims can be the ones validating and glorifying these social structures. Because Sophia may have been treated differently is she were a male (I know my brother is treated differently from me, despite both of use having the same strict mother) AND that shouldn’t be the case. And, finally, because I am a hypocrite, basically preaching the importance and possibility of change, but not partaking in it myself. Because I should probably tell my friend Kelvin that himself into another archetype.
And, lastly, why did you choose this method for writing your curatorial statement?
If I tried to write another regular structured entry, I probably would have failed at answering these questions. Having direct questions demand direct answers. (NOTE: I may have gone over word count because my last three, previous, questions are the ones that contain the important info).