Thick Dumpling Skin

[It's what's on the inside that counts]

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On Our Radar: 7 Cups of Tea

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7 Cups of Tea offers “Free, anonymous, and confidential conversations with trained active listeners. All conversations are deleted.”  You can check out profiles before connecting, or support forums if you’re not ready to talk.  You can even train to become a listener yourself.

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Know something that should be On Our Radar? Contact us!

Filed under depression mental health help 7 cups of tea

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Project Heal’s “Faces of Recovery”

(photo source, by Steven Eichner)

Project Heal was co-founded in 2008 by two teenage girls Liana Rosenman (pictured above) and Kristina Saffran.  They raise money for eating disorder recovery scholarships.

"Faces of Recovery" is currently exhibiting at EVR - 52 W. 39th Street in New York City, featuring 150 photos. 

If you go, let us know if you see any Asian faces!

Filed under project heal art eating disorders recovery new york photography

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Listen Up: The Mental Illness Happy Hour

The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a great resource for anyone dealing with depression, addiction, etc.  Cofounder Lynn Chen was a guest (in one of the most popular episodes of 2013) and the host Paul Gilmartin has been featured on The Actor’s Diet, as well.

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In the latest episode, listener Michael H. opens up about his family and culture. Hearing an Asian-American man talk about his struggles doesn’t happen too often, and we thought our readers would get a lot out of it.

Filed under podcast mental illness mental health

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On Our Radar: Elliot Rodger Wasn’t Interested in Women

Here, we talk a lot about race and gender in the context of body image. We talk a lot about being a woman (and sometimes men), and how we can “protect” ourselves through awareness. 

The recent Elliot Rodger shooting at UC Santa Barbara shook us up. This openly type of violence and anger towards women is something that we’ve certainly known (just look at the way we talk about women in media), but haven’t seen displayed in such an unapologetic manner in the United States.

Our friend Dexter Thomas wrote this piece over at Aljazeera and provided his take on how the shooting actually didn’t have much to do with women. It had to do with men and the “system” that we’re each perpetuating that has a long-lasting, regrettable effect:

Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot about Elliot Rodger’s supposed misogyny. Some say the killings were a hate crime. Other people prefer to steer the conversation away from the topic of women.

This is fair, because really, Elliot wasn’t talking about women at all. He was talking about men.

Specifically, white men.

This is obvious if we take the time to listen to him. If we read his 140-page “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger” with the same seriousness that we read other “stories”, we can see that women were generally irrelevant to Elliot. With the exception of those in his immediate family, Elliot writes about women as flat, faceless characters. They rarely have names, and never have personalities.

Actually, Elliot spends about as much time describing women as he does his new BMW 3 Series.

Men, on the other hand, are described in detail. They generally have first and last names, especially if they are white. Elliot tells us about their skin colour, their personalities and hobbies. When Elliot talks about a woman he had a crush on in his math class, he doesn’t really tell us what she looks like. Instead, he describes her boyfriend, who is a “tall, muscular surfer-jock with a buzz cut”. Even men he passes on the street are given more detail than women: He tells us about how tall they are, about their jawlines, their clothes.

This is to say: like most misogynist literature, “My Twisted World” isn’t really about women at all. 

It’s about men.

That’s actually the most difficult thing for many of us to understand. Misogyny, or sexism in general, rarely has anything to do with women as people. They are symbols, only relevant when discussing intimate and complicated relationships between men: Alpha vs Beta, say.

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Fault Lines - Death in Plain Sight

Like many men, Elliot was only able to understand women as status symbols. His obsessive quest to lose his virginity had less to do with a desire for pleasure and more to do with a need to show other men that he was a white man, or as good as one. To him, his failure to seduce a white woman was embarrassing proof of his inferiority to his white peers.

Elliot’s main problem was that he was not white.

A lot of people seem to think that Elliot felt that he was entitled to sex and attention from women. I don’t think this is quite accurate. Elliot’s descriptions of himself as “beautiful” or “magnificent” read like desperate attempts at self-delusion. He is much more honest and vulnerable when he refers to his racial background.

Elliot clearly believed that his being half Asian stained him, and ruined the entitlement he would have had if he were pure white. His most clear anger was directed at those lower on the racial totem pole - “filthy” blacks, “low-class” Latinos, and “full-blooded Asians” - who were having sex with white women. He fully accepted that he did not deserve what his white peers had, but he could not stand to see those with even less pure blood than him get the rewards that should have trickled down to him first.

Read the entire article here.

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Miss Indiana’s “Normal” Body

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Look.  Since she competed on Sunday’s Miss USA Pageant, a lot of articles have been written about Mekayla Diehl’s bikini body.  You can google them and see the stories/stats/theories/etc. but this is all I have to say about the matter.

You are not your weight.  You are not better because of your weight or worse.

I’ve been blogging about food for 5 years, today.  One thing I’ve learned on this journey is that there is no “common standard” when it comes to diet.  Between all the chefs, farmers, recovering anorexics, actors, food writers, and all that are in between who I talk to on a regular basis - nobody does it the same.  And every body is vastly different.  And the way we all feel about our bodies changes, daily, depending on what we eat.  

AND THERE IS NO NORMAL.  So why give that word power?

- Lynn

Filed under mekayla diehl miss usa miss indiana body image

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On Our Radar: Bound Feet Women of China

This project documents and celebrates the lives of the last remaining women in China with bound feet. In the past year alone, three of the women I have been documenting have died and I feel it is now imperative to focus on recording their lives before it is too late. 

Jo Farrell has reached her Kickstarter goal, but with four days left, it’s not too late to support - additional funds will go towards more photography.

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Filed under china beauty women bound feet jo farrell

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“When I Grow Up I Want To Be Just Like Yuri Kochiyama.”

It’s with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of long-time activist, Yuri Kochiyama. Yuri has been and will continue to be a role model for many.

Thank you, Yuri, for showing us what it means to be a strong and fearless woman who has constantly looked outside of herself to bring about real change in our world. Your legacy is sealed and will not be forgotten. 

From the New York Times:

Yuri Kochiyama, a civil rights activist who formed an unlikely friendship with Malcolm X when he was still promoting black nationalism and later cradled his head in her hands as he lay dying from gunshot wounds in 1965, died on Sunday in Berkeley, Calif. She was 93.

Her granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama confirmed the death.

Mrs. Kochiyama, the child of Japanese immigrants who settled in Southern California, knew discrimination well by the time she was a young woman. During World War II she spent two years in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in Arkansas, a searing experience that also exposed her to the racism of the Jim Crow South.

A few years after the war, she married William Kochiyama, whom she had met at the camp, and the couple moved to New York in 1948. They spent 12 years in public housing in Manhattan, in the Amsterdam Houses on the Upper West Side, where most of their neighbors were black and Puerto Rican, before moving to Harlem.

The couple had become active in the civil rights movement when Mrs. Kochiyama met Malcolm X for the first time at a Brooklyn courthouse in October 1963. He was surrounded by supporters, mostly young black men, when she approached him. She told him she wanted to shake his hand, to congratulate him, she recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 1996.

“I admire what you’re doing,” she told him, “but I disagree with some of your thoughts.”

He asked which ones.

“Your harsh stand on integration,” she said.

He agreed to meet with her later, and by 1964 Mrs. Kochiyama and her husband had befriended him. Early that year Malcolm X began moving away from the militant Nation of Islam, to which he belonged, toward beliefs that were accepting of many kinds of people. He sent the Kochiyamas postcards from his travels to Africa and elsewhere.

One, mailed from Kuwait on Sept. 27, 1964, read: “Still trying to travel and broaden my scope since I’ve learned what a mess can be made by narrow-minded people. Bro. Malcolm X.”

The following February, Mrs. Kochiyama was in the audience at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan waiting to hear Malcolm X address a new group he had founded, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, when there was a burst of gunfire. She ran toward the stage.

“I just went straight to Malcolm, and I put his head on my lap,” she recalled. “He just lay there. He had difficulty breathing, and he didn’t utter a word.”

A powerful photograph of her holding him accompanied an article about the assassination in the March 5, 1965, issue of Life magazine.

Mrs. Kochiyama was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara on May 19, 1921, in San Pedro, Calif. An outgoing student in high school, she played sports and wrote for the school newspaper. She said in interviews that she was mostly unaware of political issues until her father, Seiichi, was taken into custody by the F.B.I. shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Although ill, Mr. Nakahara, a successful fish merchant, was held and interrogated for several weeks before being released on Jan. 20, 1942. He died the next day. By the spring, the rest of the family was among the 120,000 Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps across the country.

In the 1980s, the Kochiyamas sought government reparations for Japanese-Americans who had been interned. In 1988, Congress approved a plan to pay $20,000 to each of the estimated 60,000 surviving internees.

Besides her granddaughter Akemi, her survivors include a daughter, Audee Kochiyama-Holman; three sons, Eddie, Jimmy and Tommy; eight other grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Another son, Billy, died in the 1970s, and a daughter, Aichi, died in 1989.

Her husband died in 1993. He had been interned in Arkansas before he joined the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became one of the most decorated units in American military history.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the sofa in the Kochiyamas’ apartment was regularly occupied by activists in need of a place to sleep. Years later, Mrs. Kochiyama helped organize campaigns to free activists and others whom she believed had been wrongly imprisoned, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther and radio journalist sentenced to death in the killing of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. In 2012, his sentence was reduced to life without parole.

Mrs. Kochiyama, who never graduated from college, read constantly and widely. On Tuesday, her granddaughter Akemi opened for the first time a journal of favorite quotations that Mrs. Kochiyama had collected and given to her several years ago.

“There were so many different writers and thinkers,” said Akemi Kochiyama, who is pursuing a doctorate in cultural anthropology. “It’s Emerson, it’s Keats and Yeats and José Marti. It’s political thinkers. It’s Marcus Garvey. It’s everything.”

Mrs. Kochiyama was an inspiration herself. For its 2011 album “Cinemetropolis,” the Seattle hip-hop group Blue Scholars composed a song about her. The refrain: “When I grow up I want to be just like Yuri Kochiyama.”

Filed under yuri kochiyama