Week TWENTY! Today's memory is another memory that signify many memories embedded into me.
When I was about seven years old (swipe to see me and my younger sister) I remember being at a family gathering at my aunty and uncle's house. I remember overhearing many conversations that the adults were involved in. And I dinsticly remember this conversation, which was very common, where so and so is pregnant and how happy they are for the couple: Sure hope and pray that it's a boy! For the husband and his parents' sake. Such a bummer the wife has only had girls at this point. Let's all pray that it's a boy.
This kind of conversation happened very often, and it wasn't that out of the ordinary. What was different was that I thought, "I feel bad for my dad. He has two girls and that's it! Neither of us will carry his name or his lineage. It's kinda sad when you really think about it. But Wong is such a common last name...maybe it's not that important. Literally millions of people of that last name. I guess I shouldn't feel that bad."
It's so funny I remember this memory so vividly! It was like my first realization of how that kind of mentality might have affected my family.
That cultural dictation of value was integral to my development - especially now in hindsight. The role patriarchy played in my self worth was direct. I always felt second class as a girl growing up even though it might not have been explicitly told to me. I not only felt like that but I knew it. It was that kind of conversation that circulated around me that confirmed the suspicion.
It makes me mad writing about it! Because in that moment (along with another billion of moments) I was experiencing and accepting such a toxic construct - patriarchy. It formed me as a girl and a woman as someone who is less than! Which is so insane and wrong. It's not only the Chinese culture that told me that being a woman is less desirable, but is no secret that patriarchy reigns here in America.
I'm just reminded that things that we say could feel so normal and accepted, but it takes extra vigilance to double check what assumptions we are accepting!
Just because our culture has done it a certain way for centuries doesn't mean that it's automatically exempt from systemic oppression. Stay sharp!
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 20/53. 'Baby Boy' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper