Friday, November 29, 2013

Saturday Night, I Stood Up Against Racism.

After my last post, I decided I had enough.


It was about 2:30am, technically Sunday early morning, when I sat down on a bench of exhausted men waiting for the subway train for who knows how long. There was an older, thin-framed Chinese man on my left and, similarly, an older, thin-framed black man on my right. The local train arrived and the Chinese man got up. We smiled at each other as I moved out of the way for him. I opened up my Christian inspired novel, Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller. I was a little annoyed already about something else and as I read the small typed words, my nose started to run again.

I began to sniff a lot. Next to me, the thin-framed Black man, who had curled himself up attempting to sleep, said something in the likes of an agitated, "Get away from me!" It was rude, but I assumed he was referring to my cold until he accused, "Are you Chinese?" 

I decided to ignore him and kept my book up. He repeated his previous statement with a sharper bite. "Go away!"

I paused, but then I turned my head slowly to the right, looking directly into his eyes. "Excuse me?" I asked strongly.

"You're Chinese. I don't want you near me. Go away!" He snapped back.

I leaned in closer to him giving crazy eyes with my green snake-like contacts. With greater force, I repeated, "EXCUSE ME?" He shrunk into his jacket. One last time, I commanded, "EXCUSE ME?" 

He tried to ignore me and closed his eyes as if he was falling asleep. I stared him down for a solid 20 seconds before I turned back to my book: I wasn't going to get up for him. If he had a problem with the slant of my eyes, he could sit somewhere else. I didn't have a problem with him. I wasn't going to move.

I tried, however, to let the anger dissipate. I attempted to read the chapter on God's glory, but I was still fuming. My thumb, from lack of sleep or just pure adrenalin as my heart beat like a drum, began to twitch as I held my book. The pages shook up and down spastically. Initially, I tried to prevent it, cover it up, but then I accepted it's intimidation. I took deep breaths. 

Feeling as if I should be guilty, I asked God to give me His love for this man. Let me love him. I tried to empathize. I thought about the feud between Asian and Black people. It's something I don't understand, but it is a common trend: If you don't believe me, just watch Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing. Perhaps it's the history of Asians coming into Black neighborhoods, starting businesses, and taking customers away by their very presence. I don't know why he had a particular hate against Chinese people. Maybe there have been some Chinese people who have had done terrible things to him. I don't know. But either way, I sat there in my black coat and maroon, woven, pom pom hat reading a book with the sniffles having never owned a business. I was not a threat. 

As I asked God to give me love and forgiveness, I thought about God's enemies. Not to say this man was God's enemy (I have no idea his relationship with God - and if he has one, he is my brother), but I realized that racism is hating a person, purely because of their ethnicity. Whether or not a Black person can be racist by power definition is debatable when involving other minorities, a person can re-enact racism. Racism is sinful. Racism is evil.

I had rebuked him. My actions did not necessarily lack Christian love. Those fears showed no support via prayer. I would rebuke my Christian brother for infidelity as I had rebuked this man for prejudice. I had no regrets. I may have put myself in danger, but I was so angry, I would have taken a punch. Bruises don't scare me. You can't treat people like they will take your crap. It's just not Okay. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

"I Have Been Taught Accommodation." - Lily Meyers

How do you respond to racism as a Christian minority?

SATURDAY, 3AM-- Practicing lines for a character, who's repetition is a rephrasing of "Why? Because I'm Asian?", I sat peacefully in the subway as a drunk man sat down one seat from me. Then, he consciously moved right next to me, popping the new york space bubble I desired.

He asked, "Ohhhh, are we going uptown or downtown?" For some reason, I always jump to help people at subway directions. I suppose it's because I empathize with how confusing New York City can be. If I'm ease dropping on a group of people concluding their directions incorrectly, I feel the urge to speak up. This inebriated man was sitting right next to me.

"Uptown."

"Oh no!" He groaned.

"You can get off at the next stop and turn around," I suggested, somewhat revealing my desire for him to get away as well.

When we got to the next stop, he doesn't move. I asked, "Are you going uptown or downtown?"

It took him a moment, but then he repeated, "Uptown, uptown."

I validated, "Okay, then you're going the right way."

"Are you Chinese?" During the pause where I did not respond he added, "...American?" It was a relief and a nice change to be acknowledged by a stranger that being an American was actually a possibility, which is rarely the case, despite my lack of an accent.

I happily confirmed,"Yes, I am" Chinese-American, I added in my head. I sat quietly trying to beat my previous score on Candy Crush on a level I couldn't quite achieve 3 stars. Personal patterns with men asking about my ethnicity predicted too much attention could lead to prejudice comments or the request of a phone number, but I also didn't want to be rude.

"Can you do me a favor," the white drunk man suggested.

"What's that?" I politely entertained only making eye contact for a second.

"Never... do me a favor," he said self deprecatingly.

"Alright," I laughed.

A lady sat down kitty corner from him and must have bumped her leg with his. He started to yell at her, "You hit my knee!" Not too loud, but certainly offended. "That was very rude! You should apologize!"

The mild manner black woman responded with teeth gritting and a sweet voice, "I apologize."

"Good!" Then he began to bad mouth her. Saying things like, "you people," so she got up and found a seat further down the subway car. "Good! People think they can be so rude!" He was projecting. He thought kindly of me, so I thought I could correct him, teach him, without a whiplash. But then I thought, the moment is over, the woman is saved from him, and does not need saving from anyone else. He is drunk. There's no use talking logic to a drunk man.

He would every so often try to talk to me. "My daughter is on the honor roll."

I'd politely respond. "That's great." ...but I would only half listen, given most of what he said made little sense. I continued trying to get my 3rd star on Candy Crush. 

He asked, "Uhhh, which station is this?" The conductor's announcement sometimes lacked annunciation at low volume, so I clarified where we were. Relieved, he said,"Oh, okay." He told me he was getting off the same stop I happened to be, without my saying anything. Better to know now, then when he followed behind. I was pleased.

"My daughter is smarter than you will ever be." It was nice to hear a dad so proud of his daughter, even if he assumed I was dumber without even knowing me. I gave him the benefit of the doubt that his pride was stronger than his insult.

"Good for her."

"No, good for you!"

"Why?"

"My daughter could kick your a** harder than you'd ever know!"

I didn't even know how to respond to this... So I didn't, really. "Oh.... kay."

Then he asked, "You're Chinese, right?"

"Yes."

"Wanna hear a joke?"

"Uh..." Oh great, a psedo-racist joke. I've endured a-many told to me, by actually, rather nice older church friends. It's one of those things that I excuse for "they come from a different generation." I correct them and make an obvious face that I don't like the joke and say that I don't approve, but I give them the benefit of the doubt.

"What do you do with a billion Chinese people?" My eyes widen hoping other passengers will see and share with me in this experience of, Oh no, what is this man going to say? His answer, to be honest, was something I didn't understand. My knowledge of world history is lacking and I think he was trying to make a bad pun.

So I responded, "I... see."

He began to interrogate me about the phrase. "What do you see? Hm?"

I wanted to snark back, Not a whole lot since my eyes are so slanted, but my Christian love was saying, let it go. Ignore him. He is drunk. There is no point on schooling him on racism. He is belligerent. A few Hispanic girls were laughing on the side. At one point, they shared my disbelief, but they didn't always make eye contact. They kept it within themselves. And he kept going.

"There's only one thing a Chinese woman is good for." Pause. "And that's taking it up the ass!"

The train stops at our station in Harlem. "Ohh Kay. Thank you, Sir," I say sarcastically as he gets up to leave. The doors open and just before he exits he says, "My name is not 'Sir.' It's 'Takes It Up the Ass.'"

"Well, thank you, 'Takes It Up the Ass!'"

It was 3 in the morning, in Harlem, and a white man had just told me that the only thing a woman like me is good for, is taking it up the ass:  I stayed far away. As he went up the escalators, I let many people go ahead of me to create a gap. Talking to him on the subway was one thing. The streets were another. I kept my eye out for him and I walked in a "don't mess with me" fashion. When I do this, it's not an act. I literally will go in that zone. I imagine myself having amazing kung fu moves out of nowhere (It is a regrettably arrogant stereotype that works both in my advantage and my wishful thinking.) I pretend to have superhuman strength and coordination. I start to think about what just happened. I get angrier and angrier having let it slide. I think about what I should have said.

--Of course, I know the reason why I didn't say those things. I didn't want to put myself in danger. That's what they say. Don't be a hero. Is this worth putting yourself at risk? He was drunk anyways. But then I kept thinking... he had the nerve to say those horrible things about me and my ethnicity and I didn't give him any sort of crap. It was nothing more than passive aggressive.

This is the part where being Christian is completely conflicting. Letting him say racist comments, because he's drunk, and taking the high road is one thing... and it's another when my compliance is his expectation of an Asian woman. 

When it comes to friends, coworkers, and even acquaintances, I'll say something. But if it comes from a stranger: he doesn't know me. He'll be out of my life in 10 minutes. I will likely never see him again. The "I am above racism" part of me, the rebel in me says, I don't know you. I don't care what you think. I am me. And I am not a stereotype. But then... there's the part that knows: this is the norm. This is expected. These are the actions of a stereotype.

"I have been taught accommodation."


That is my favorite line in Lily Meyer's slam poem, "Shrinking Women." It's about how men are taught to take on the world, do endless things, and women are taught to accommodate to the men around them, not knowing how to fill the void when the men leave. She addresses her brother.
"I want to say: We come from difference, Jonah. You have been taught to grow out; I have been taught to grow in. You learned from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence. You used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much. I learned to absorb."
Being a woman has taught me that people don't expect much from me. They take my thin frame as a reason to take up more room. The Chinese culture has taught me to be considerate, to be a team player, but also, to keep your head down, to make it through, to think about yourself and your family. I have been taught accommodation ...when the rest of the country has not. That makes me angry.

Christianity is about being loving. It's not about being a pushover. Numerous times in the bible, Jesus was not afraid to rebuke. He was not afraid to stand up for himself or for God.

Then why is it so hard to stand up to someone being racist? Why don't I know what to do?

When I reflect, the most constructive response I could have retorted is, "What you said was racist. You should apologize." I'm tired of people saying prejudice things to me because they think they can. I'm tired of playing nice, because I think that's the only Christian way to respond. I'm tired of the combination adding to the assumption that a person can just walk over Asian people and they will say, "thank you" or "I'm sorry."

I'm constantly amazed at my sister's confidence. Apparently, when a man cat calls her or shouts random Asian lingual phrases to her, she'll take the time and stop and ask them, "What are you thinking? What made you think that was going to work? ...I just want to know your thought process." She kind of shames them into realizing that they're stupid culture influenced game (known to rarely work) is really just stupid. "Uh... honestly, I don't know why I said that. I don't know what I was thinking."

My sister isn't Christian, but would shaming a person (to make them realize their action was shameful) be a Christian way to respond? Normally, when it's something a little more hazy/biased/an "every story has two sides" kind of situation, I find that it could be similar to guilt tripping or manipulation. But when someone is being overtly sexist and racist, how different is shaming a person than rebuking them?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Can Geeking Out Be Four Play?

In light of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" condoms, I thought it would be all kinds of awesome to have condoms of your favorite TV show. Thoughts? Read more on Buzzfeed.

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bright Young Things: PINK Panties That Say "Call Me" on the Crotch


On March 22nd, 2013, controversy sparked when Rev. Evan Dolive posted the letter he wrote to Victoria Secret begging them to cancel their new "Bright Young Things" sexy lingerie line said to be targeted towards 13 and 14 year old girls. He writes:
Recently I read an article [from The Black Sphere] that Victoria’s Secret is launching a line of underwear and bras aimed at middle school aged children. The line will be called “Bright Young Things” and will feature ” lace black cheeksters with the word “Wild” emblazoned on them, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with “Feeling Lucky?” and a lace trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front.”

As a dad, this makes me sick.
Euw, me too. Last night, after a slew of negative protesting comments on Victoria's Secret's facebook, they deleted them and pinned this announcement to the top:
In response to questions we recently received, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. Despite recent rumors, we have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women. “Bright Young Things” was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.
It's easy for Victoria's Secret's PR people to skew their messaging to however they like, so I decided to find out just what was going on.


I found the above ad on their facebook. It's true, "Bright Young Things" is part of their College PINK promotions.  Nonetheless, we all know the trickle down effect where products supposedly projected towards college students evoke the envy of high school and jr. high kids. Do kids wish they were older? Is there such thing as a website called Google? Half the work is already done for them! Boom! Double the sales!

Monday, March 25, 2013

SNEAK PEEK OF THE NEW "ANNIE" MOVIE

The remake of the musical, Annie, comes with a new twist. The film stars the Oscar-nominated actress, Quvenzhané Wallis, the brave little Black girl (who is the man!) from Beasts of the Southern Wild. The film is produced by hip hop artist, Jay-Z, along with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Although the film will not be released until 2014, a clip has been leaked!



...from 1999.

(source: TRL)

Jokes aside, Jay-Z was asked to write the soundtrack by the screenwriter and actress, Emma Thompson, because of this song. I do look forward to this movie, because Wallis is a truly talented, raw actress who will likely make me cry ...again. Here's a glimpse into her singing chops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNiwDWw-eYE 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Are You Privileged?

I've been using the word, privileged, a lot lately. The word is significant to understanding others and ourselves. While in some ways many of us can be underprivileged, by other definitions we can be extremely privileged. The word involves more than race. Anything involving reception of innate power, inclusion of the in-group, and or effortless abilities because of attractiveness, status, class, height, able-body, religion, gender, and even intelligence, passion, creativity, and faith can give a person an advantage or disadvantage. (Not to say one cannot prevail.)

Here's the part where I feel guilty:

Reps. Tammy Duckworth
Playing Devil's advocate, I argued with Taki Dempsey when he said he saw me as multicultural, in the sense, that I was a minority on all accounts: short, young, Asian female. I was quick to remind him that I was significantly privileged in another way.

Although I rarely ask my parents for money, my parent's class is a huge advantage compared to those who were not as lucky. My mother is a dental hygienist in the even wealthier town next door. By referring me to my future boss, she got me one of my first jobs as a bank teller. When I entered college, I consistently came back as a seasonal in the summer and winter breaks. When I left and moved to New York, it gave me the freedom from 6 years worth of savings to intern on multiple film projects as I finally went head on in my career. Unfortunately, unpaid jobs are necessary unless you know someone and can jump right in. It took me about four months working 12+ hour days, 5-6 days a week, before getting paid gigs. After that and consistent offers, I was able to forsake no pay positions, so that I could start getting recommendations for paid gigs that reflected my talent and skills, rather than "Oh, she'll do it for free" work.  There isn't a whole lot of time for other long-term part-time jobs, so many post grads could go broke taking that risk.

Furthermore, despite the in-frequencies of freelancing forcing me to make my savings my minimal living expenses, I can certainly avoid selling myself on the streets. If all else fails, I can move back home with my mom and she'll take care of me.  When people say I can technically go on food stamps or apply for low living-wage housing or anything that involves helping out the poor, I refuse. That government money does not need to go to me simply because I chose a risky career while I can still rely on my parents. The more people getting funded by the government, the more money the government must budget for the program, which means the money has to be taken from somewhere else like our taxes. And if that budget gets too large, it risks getting cut. I'd rather that money go to families and people who have no help. 

Being privileged means society is structured around the needs and wants of your in-group.  From laws to advertising, from media to story telling, from building construction to opportunities... those who are underprivileged are left out and unconsidered. This is not a guilt trip. It is meant for awareness and understanding. After reading Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois's Checking Your Privilege 101, I realized I was more privileged than I thought.

Checking Your Privilege:

  • Citizenship
  • Class: A person with financial stability and financial safety nets through family or other assets.
  • Race
  • Education: A person with access to higher education, which is sometimes, but not always, a result of other privileges such as race and class privilege.
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity: A person having a gender presentation that correlates with the dominant group’s expected gender “norms.”
  • Age: Access afforded to people who are considered “adults,” although those who are elderly are acknowledged to having limited privileges due to age and health.
  • Body Size: Those born with a body type that is celebrated and considered “beautiful” by the dominant group as reflected in the media, advertisements, social norms, etc.
  • Able-Bodied:the ability to physically participate in society because society was made to accommodate only the “dominant” group.
    • Side note: I once saw a man in the subway with a sign around his neck asking for money. He lost both his hands from war. I thought, he seems like a rather clean, attractive man.  He shouldn't have too much trouble in society: being accepted, being attracted to, but then I missed the obvious.  He was asking for money. Can you imagine how difficult it is to find a job that does not involve using your hands?
  • Life on the Outside: A person who has never been or currently is not incarcerated.
  • "Passing": The ability to “pass” as a more privileged group. For example: a light-skinned person passing as White, a disabled person passing as able-bodied, etc.
  • Religion: A member of the dominant religion in the United States – Christianity.
  • Sexuality: A person who is heterosexual and/or is not labeled a sexual "deviant."

Here's the part where I feel downtrodden:

To out myself (or call attention to), I consider shortness and daintiness a disadvantage in the average workforce. I was watching an interview with Penn Jillette who said he came from a household where no one raised their voices unless in jest. He found anger screaming and fights "unpleasant." I thought to myself, that's an interesting and calming way to think of things. Perhaps we do yell too much. We argue too often with emotion that the other does not understand what we are saying finding our complaints irrational. (This is why we have sociological terms: to keep us sane.) Then I'm reminded of the times fighting with my father where the rule of the household is that the parents are always always right. I'd find my voice shrieking, wishing to be heard. Penn Jillette doesn't have to do that. He's an intelligent, confident, tall, big guy. When he walks in the room, he won't notice? If he says, "May I say something?" Who will ignore him? When he says "I have the answer," who won't give him a chance?

Do you know how filmmakers show power visually? From the viewpoint of a taller person. 

Being Chinese does not prevent me from getting jobs, if anything I would bet it was a plus. However, it is no secret that Asian people are commonly taken advantage of despite their supposed intelligence and great work ethic. The combo of being a short Asian Woman with great self-doubt has forced me to work harder to be looked at as a leader rather than someone to keep at the bottom of the totem pole.   Many Chinese people are raised in a similar mindset as their parents or grand parents or great grandparents were in China.  The communist society was about working together and though down trodden with a common enemy, the government, each man's role is to take care of his family.  I asked my dad what his dream career was as a kid.  Most kids say actor, doctor, president, lawyer, basketball player, singer...  My dad said matter-a-factually, "An engineer."

"Really, dad?  When you were ten years old, you wanted to be an engineer?"

He laughed, "It is not like how when you grew up!" At ten years old, little Oliver knew his role in society was to have a family, be a father, and give them greater opportunities than those that were available to himself.  Because of this, he chose a logical and stable career as an Engineer.  No, it wasn't glamorous or immediately self-fulfilling, but he sacrificed himself for his kids, future kids even.  He kept his head low to keep his job and with a sigh, accepted a minimal forced promotion that gave him slightly higher pay for much more work and responsibilities.  If his underlings messed up, it was his butt on the line.  He was not interested in climbing the ladder or risking his stability.  It was simply about having enough income to take care of his family.

While the Chinese culture may seem cold and distant, it is all about your role in society.  Don't give me a thanks, because it is my duty.  It should be expected.  Now, when Chinese people come to America where its all about money, competition, and celebrating individualism and self-fame... they're taken advantage of.  Now the assumed responsibilities graciously accepted by Chinese workers are... assumed responsibilities for graciously accepting Chinese workers.


"I'm telling you, those Asian guys love crunching numbers! You probably just made his weekend!"  Notice how the movie fools you into thinking the story is going to be about the two white guys and their crazy weekend.  They even have you empathize with the fake male lead, who just got dumped. They leave the office with punk rock playing ready for their adventure.  Hold up. This movie is called "Harold and Kumar." Wait. Is there an Indian guy in the duo? Yes. Harold... Harold. Isn't he the "work horse...the quiet Asian guy in the office"?  That's who we're watching? This is different.

When a child watches TV, they look for themselves.  They look for someone they want to be.  So what happens when they don't see themselves? They feel lost... confused... An Asian girl finds herself wanting to be the white girl, rather than the nerdy Asian girl... which let's face it, why is she so awkward?   You get white kids wanting to be president and minority children sticking to something more "plausible."  There's a 30 Rock bit when Tracy Jordan decides to coach a little league from the poorest neighborhood in New York.  He introduces them to Jack, GE CEO.  He asks the kids, "What are your dreams?"


 Jack is appalled that their goals do not reach higher. I mean, those were their "dream" jobs. When I was a kid, I had seen a handful of Asian actors in the media, but zero politicians. For some reason, being an Actress seemed far more likely to me.  I couldn't imagine an Asian-American president.

I went to Rockafeller Center and did the silly photo ops in the White House sets.  I wanted to take other people's posted photos and make a collection of various minorities in "office." The representation of minorities in positions of power is low, despite population and expected intelligence.  But now I don't have to!

Here's the part where I celebrate:

On Election night, the country made history on multiple accounts. Of course, we re-elected our first Black President, Barack Obama. We broke the last record of 17 and now there are 20 women in the U.S. Senate! (Check out Washington Post's slideshow of each current female senator and what they've done.)

I predict in 50 years, we will surely have had a woman president.

Never mind my personal beliefs and politics, here are some minorities that also made history last Tuesday.

Senator Mazie Hirono became the first on many accounts.
Hawaii, (D)
First Asian-American woman in the U.S. Senate
First Female Senator of Hawaii
First Senator born in Japan
First Buddhist Senator

Senator Tammy Baldwin 
Wisconsin, (D)
First Openly Lesbian in Senate.
Elizabeth Warren
Massachusetts, (D)
First Woman Senator of Massachusetts. 
Senator Angus King
Maine, (I)
Okay, perhaps not historical.  But he defeated the Democratic and Republican candidates and took the state as an Independent.

Congressman Mark Takano 
California, (D)
First LBGT Person of Color in Congress
First Openly Gay Member of California Congress

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema
Arizona, (D)
First Openly Bisexual member of Congress

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Hawaii, (D)
First Hindu-American to elected in Congress.
Govenor Maggie Hassan (D) Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D)
Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D)
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D)
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R)

New Hampshire
 First All-Woman Delegation State.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'd rather be sexy because I'm awesome, than sexy with a sorry excuse for a costume.

Halloween is coming up and you don't have to spend a lot to make a kick ass Halloween costume! Being cheap can make you creative ...or you can spend at least $60 on one of these...

Clown Fish $59.95, Dolphin $69.95, Shark $119.95, Scuba Diver $69.96, Frog $149.95 on Yandy.com
Imagine you're at a party and you saw one of these girls.  You go up to her and ask, "What are you dressed up as?" She responds, "A clownfish, duh!"

Okay, I'll give the scuba diver credit (it even comes with a tank), maybe the furry frog.  Honestly, these costumes aren't even that slutty, but the sole purpose of the costume is to look sexy... not to be a dolphin or a shark.  I'm sick of these unnecessarily sexed-up costumes and I'm not the only one.  Check out this tumblr: Fuck No Sexist Halloween Costumes, which received 300+ followers in its first day.  That was only four days ago.  They like to compare the generally more accurate and de-sexualized, goofy men's costume to the terrible sexy female costumes.

I'm Oscar the Grouch, because he was my favorite character as a kid!
It only cost me $61.95!
These costumes come from Yandy.com. And by the way, it looks unsurprisingly, but totally amusingly, like a porn site. 


There are product videos, like the above, for every item. If you need help, you can chat with someone live. There are categories for lingerie and "sexy Halloween costumes" as if they're not all like this.  Their other categories are Group Costumes, Couple Costumes, Animal Costumes... but no matter what, almost all the costumes are described as "Sexy _____" in their title.  I don't think they know how to categorize either.  Ironically, these are costumes for (mostly) women to wear, but the website is geared towards men.  Are we supposed to want to buy these costumes, because men like them?  ...Yeah, I think that's what they're getting at.

I refuse to wear a tube dress and leg warmers and call it a costume.  ...Unless I dress up as a Typical Halloween Costume... somehow...

It took me awhile to accept the lack of costume options for Asian girls.  I dressed up as Christina Aguilera when I was in Jr. High obtaining a blonde wig.  I'm scared to see the pictures.  We all know, I didn't look like Christina (pre Xtina), no matter how much eye make up I put on.  I since resolved this problem by excluding myself to costumes of only Asian characters or putting more emphasis on the visual concepts than looking like the real person.  It started with Sally.

Sally "Nightmare Before Christmas"
Character:  Sally's from one of my favorite artistically-dark kids movies... you know, just one of them.  (I was a strange kid.) She is a rebellious, sneaky, daring, and sly rag doll yearning for adventure. But she is still caring and tender.  She saves the lead, Jack Skeleton, just as he saves her. 
Costume:
My mom and I made a black and white patched dress. I made some of my own patches as well, using white fabric and black sharpies to create abstract designs.  Then I simply took black lipstick and drew rag doll scars on my arms, legs, and my mouth.  The most I spent was on the fabric.


Go-Go Yubari "Kill Bill" 

Character: Being O'Ren's body guard, this seemingly sweet innocent girl in a catholic school girl outfit is actually insane. Go-go battles the lead, Black Mamba, with her weapon of choice, a spiked metal ball on chain. Go-go swings the ball over her head and into the wall and traps Black Mamba with the chain. She twists it around her neck.  Nearly choked to death, Black Mamba finds a piece of wood with a rusty nail and stabs her foot then wacks it in her head. Go-go drops the chain, blood tears pour from her eyes, and she falls to the ground. 
Costume: I bought the jacket and skirt from Salvation Army.  I used a nerf ball, foam clay, and a real chain (from Home Depot) to make the spiked ball and chain. Finally, I bought the fake blood.

In Senior year, I literally dressed up as a prostitute.  Okay, well, not your typical one. 

Female "Sin City"
Character: Most of the females in Frank Miller's graphic novel turned feature film, Sin City were damn-the-man prostitutes.  They were each equipped with weapons and chains.  The cops left them alone as long as there was peace between the two, keeping the pimps and the mobs out of the system.  But when a disgustingly horny and chauvinistic pushy off-duty cop takes it too far with a prostitute, he gets killed.  The girls worry, "It'll be the bad old days, all over again.  The pimps, the beatings, the drugs, the rapes..."
Costume: Mimicking the mostly black and white film's visual motif, I dressed up in grey-scale, put white make up on my face, and wore red lipstick as the classic accent mark.  Makes we want to throw a Sin City party.
Side note: I was at the Cinder Clause parade last year, seeing hundreds of people in red and white Santa Clause costumes... but then I saw a guy wearing what I thought was a dark grey Santa costume and I thought I went color blind for a second.  I felt like Jonah in the Giver ...except instead of being in a black and white world, I was in a color world.

In 2009, my friends and I went to the Misfits concert.  I had to choose something I could feasibly wear at a punk rock concert without dying of sweat, knocking people down with fairy wings or something, and could safely riot in the mosh pit.

Handmade/Voodoo Doll
Costume: So, I dressed up as a hand-made/voodoo doll. I bought a pair of white tights and made a mask out of it. I took my large button earrings and sewed them in for the eyes. I cut out a mouth and then took thick black string and sewed the lips. I cut the back of the mask so my hair could come out the back. I wore the legs of the tights on my arms and hands, taking away my fingers. And then finally, I wore a black top and black tutu skirt to parties and jeans to the show.  I ended up taking on and off the mask, but it worked.  Some random dude took a photo of me in the subway.  I was also told at a party, "I both love and hate your costume, because it scares the hell out of me!" Excellent.

Mal "Inception"
Character: In 2010, I dressed as the lover and femme-fatal, Mal, from Inception.  Exotic and beautiful, she was the love of Cobb's life in one world and, racked with guilt, the enemy in his dream world. 
Costume: It certainly was not my greatest attempt.  I drew a maze on myself like the Inception logo, drew Cobb's totem on my hand, and walked around with one shoe as if it had fallen off when I was sitting outside on a window sill convinced reality was a dream.

Doll "Dollhouse"

Character: Last year, I dressed up as a doll from Joss Whedon's show, Dollhouse. The show features around this underground corporation that takes "volunteers" and programs them into human dolls in exchange for 5 unconscious years of their lives and money that would set them for life. They partake in engagements with clients that usually are looking for a love interest (again, I dressed up as a partial prostitute.) But sometimes they were asked to be spies or investigators in crime. They were programmed with amazing fighting and analytical skills. In one sense they can fend for themselves as dolls, and another they're trapped. When they're in a "sleep state," having zero personality chips and skills, they're in a daze. They're like children with less energy and intelligence. So, when a serial killer, Alpha, gets loose and slashes the dolls faces, they're left traumatized, confused and helpless poking dead bodies, telling their bodyguards, "They won't wake up."
Costume: Fake fresh scars, mainstream make up, lacy tank top, skinny jeans, and healed boots.  I was working on a film set that day, so I kept it minimal.  I wanted to look attractive, but creepy, and ready to kick butt.  Because of my scars, I'd actually get people asking me, "What happened to you?" "Bad weekend..." And then I'd walk away with their mouths gaped.  My friends would have to reassure them that it was just make up.


I'm not sure what I'm going to dress up as this year. Thinking of the Girl with the Green Ribbon from the same book of scary stories for kids as "In a dark dark house..."

Who inspires you? Halloween is about being someone else for a day.  Don't be lame.  Transform.  I'm saying this more as a creative.  There's nothing wrong with looking sexy, but have a real costume, damnit!  At least make an attempt, man.
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