Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Amy Chua and the Narcissism of Some Parents

Disclaimer: This is in no way directed at any family member.

I used to be a fan of Amy Chua.  She is the author of World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability and in it she describes how all over the developing world, cultures are marked by an elite ethnic group that controls most of the wealth, coupled by a resentful ethnic majority.  It reminded me of Liberia, where despite being 5% of the population, Americo-Liberians controlled most of the land, leading to the civil war that brought me to the US.  She described the ethnic conflict in my (second or third) favorite country Brazil, where Luso and Italic-Brazilians lord over the black and brown population, and where, if not for a mulatto buffer zone, there would have been intense racial tension.  World on Fire was highly informative and gave me pause to consider if free market democracy is really what this world needs.

Now I can no longer consider myself one of Chua's fans.  Her two most recent books are Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.  The former piece is an exercise in self-congratulation where she essentially asserts that she is a superb mother because she verbally abuses her children and forces them to succeed on her terms, making blanketed statements about Chinese mothers.  The latter piece has even more over-generalization about superior parenting, this time with six ethnic groups, including Jews and Nigerians.

People have children for selfish reasons and then have the unmitigated gall to excoriate the child-free as being the selfish ones.  Having children is typically an example of ego extension, the desire to impose one's values and lifestyle on another individual.  People have children because they want mini-me's.  There is nothing holy or benign about that, and it is rather nefarious, particularly if it doesn't end on the child's 18th birthday.

Chua's parenting style is highly problematic.  She lives vicariously through her children, forcing them to play the piano and violin (whereas I excel at piano because I have the passion for it), probably because she never learned a musical instrument.  She cares deeply what people think of her and is a braggart, even as her own children have mutilated egos.  Most noticeably, she is a conformist. What if her children were gay?  What if they didn't wish to marry?  What if they wanted to be child-free?  What if one of them wanted to convert to Paganism? If she is the typical Chinese mother, then there is no difference between her and every other Chinese mother, no unique quality that differentiates her from other people.  She is just another "keep up with the Joneses", married with 2.5 kids and dog, tennis camp, PTA, Latte drinking sheep. 

As a civil libertarian, I feel that people have a right to ruin their lives.  This doesn't mean I should encourage them to do so; rather, I would let them figure out what path they want to take.  After all, it's better if you ruin your one life than if someone else or some other group of people ruin it.  If you are the sole reason for your failure, you can take full responsibility for your mistakes, which feels much better.   Then you can pick yourself up and keep on trucking as king of the road.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ain't Sayin' I'm a Gold Digger...

We all know that men evolved to seek a variety of beautiful young sexual partners, hence the sexual double standard.  One Suzume, a male member of Hipforums put it this way:

Men have exponentially higher testosterone and are more willing to have sex with many woman so they can plant their seed as much as they can; so if a man has sex with a thosand [sic] woman it's seen as an evolutionary accomplishment. 

A woman wants a man that she can trust when she carries the child, and since a man can impregnate like 30 woman a day but a woman takes 9 months to give birth to one child it would make sense why they don't constantly have a similar sex drive. 

So if a woman has sex with a bunch of men it's looked upon something that shouldn't happen and disloyal to child the man tried to seed. It's super easy for a guy to impregnate a woman, but it's back breaking torture for the woman to carry that child. 

But with that said is that double standard socially acceptable? I'd certainly think not, but we shouldn't judge it so quickly. If a man banged a bunch of girls I would see him more like a tool and same goes for the girl. I can't help but want to f*** a girl sometimes, but I let my girl take care of that urge and trust me...i'd choose that lady over 1000 goddesses any day

But women evolved to seek out one wealthy man for security and fatherhood.

However, nowadays women who seek out wealthy men are called gold diggers, whores, hos, and chicken heads.  This is another sad double standard that just goes to show that men have free reign to live their lives as they please but women are still enslaved in varying degrees.

Furthermore, in Western civilization, beauty and wealth are dopplegangers.  Women are pressured to fit the ideal beauty image for their race, while men are pressured to be wealthy.  Men often say they want to marry beautiful women.  I have a cousin who insisted that he wanted to marry a woman who looked like she could be in a rap video, refusing to consider that camera angles mean the women don't really look like that. Meanwhile, women could never say that they want to marry up.

Whereas men use loaded words like "hot", "babe", and "beautiful", women are forced to use tame terms such as "financially stable" and "ambitious."

Men routinely use women for sex.  The onus is on the woman to not allow herself to be used.  She's the slut, whether or not she enjoyed it.  Meanwhile women aren't permitted to use men for their money.  They're the prostitutes.  The men aren't the tricks.  But some people like being used, including sugar daddies.

I wasn't actually talking about using people, which is shallow and empty.  I was talking about taking certain logistical details into consideration in one's choice of a mate.  The two people presumably both love each other.  Of course you value each other's internal qualities.  Whether they both enjoy the sex is up for debate. But what is not up for debate is that the man can be less attractive, older, and even have a pot belly, which even Tyra Banks likes.

These are all things to take into consideration next time you find yourself criticizing women for carrying out their biological imperative and making life more fair for us all.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Why I Hate Womanism

Womanism is a branch of second wave feminism designed for black women.  The term was coined by Alice Walker in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose.  Womanism is predicated on intersectionality, where the feminist movement is divided and analyzed along various demographic lines from class to race /ethnicity.  It is for this reason that I dislike Womanism.

Part of the success of The Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s was the idea of presenting a united front.  Thus there are only three branches of said movement: moderate integrationists led by Martin Luther King, Jr., the militant Black Nationalist movement spearheaded by Malcolm X, and the radical movement of the Original Black Panthers.  Meanwhile, there are at least 22 branches of feminism, including third world, liberal, sex-positive, radical, Marxist, socialist, anarcho-capitalist, French, cultural, individual, and so on.  Womanism adds insult to injury by not even using the term feminism, replacing the prefix fem with woman, as if they’re ashamed to associate themselves with the movement as a whole.  If African Americans present a united front regardless of gender differences, feminism should present a united front regardless of racial differences.  We are women first, black second.  There are no significant differences between the races, but men and women are different.  Therefore being a woman is more significant than being black.  There are universal issues that unite us as women, including abortion, trafficking, and double work.
To make matters worse, Womanism provides equal and viable representation of Black male struggles.  What do black men have to do with women’s rights?  That’s as absurd as representing white women’s struggles in the Civil Rights movement.

With that said, Womanism may have been necessary historically

According to Hudson-Weems (1993) racism ensured that Black men and women assumed “unconventional gender roles” (Alexander-Floyd & Simien 2006: 70). Commonly, Black women worked outside the home, leaving a higher rate of domestic responsibilities to men in comparison to “dominant culture” (Alexander-Floyd & Simien 2006: 70). Therefore, due to the fluidity of gender roles within the Black community “mainstream feminist goal of dismantling traditional roles is, at best, inapplicable and, at worst, irrelevant to them.”

But now:

[Patricia Hill] Collins contends that Womanism “exaggerates out-group differences and minimizes in-group variation by assuming a stable and homogenous racial group identity.”

Womanism is reminiscent of black men saying to me that I’m not a woman, but instead I am a black woman.  Society expects me to put race ahead of gender when I have been much more impacted by gender issues than racial issues and am a woman before I’m black.  It’s a divide-and-conquer strategy on the part of black men, a ploy to make us serve their causes and erase our own issues, subsequently playing second fiddle in the struggle for equality.

There’s even Africana Womanism.  What next: Accra Ghanaian Working-Class Lesbian Womanism?  This problem lends itself to the image of women as catty and just goes to show that maybe we’re meant to be individuals who fend for ourselves.