Category Archives: women

Diversity Is For The Next Generation

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about why I do what I do by other writers and random people I deliver talks to.

Recently I participated in a panel about The Ghost In The Shell Controversy at Anime North and had originally written initial thoughts here – comparing the movie to a sub-par hamburger. Before the panel started, a fellow panelist whispered, “I’m glad that we have a token Asian on this panel!” Yup, I was the only non-white person on a panel which was about diversity.

Originally I wasn’t sure if we had enough material to fill an hour criticizing this Japanese manga based movie, but the audience filled the air with questions. The audience was very respectful and really wanted to understand why there was a controversy. A few panelists believed that nothing should change and things were fine. It was a bit disappointing, but I thought it was good that they had a forum to voice their opinions.

I was impressed that another panelist said that their issue was that the movie was about an Asian girl who grew up to become a white female robot and they found this horrifying as well as sad. That being Asian was not perfect and the worst! After they said this, black girls in the audience started snapping their fingers in the air!

We were asked again and again why there was a diversity problem in this movie. Finally I blurted out, “The issue is that the Asians in Asia don’t care about the Asians in North America!” An Asian girl approached me at the end and thanked me for that.

The Asian culture has been well established in Asia. But Asians in North America that don’t consider themselves Asians from Asia. This is a new phenomenon. Well, not that new, given the railroads were built in the 1800s and all. The new generations of Asians or “bananas/coconuts” (white on inside, yellow/brown on outside) grew up in a different culture and are outsiders in North America and in Asia. We are discriminated by our ancestors’ culture and in the culture we live in. We aren’t good enough for either sides.

The diversity issue is important to us because we know we don’t want to go back to Asia and want to contribute to the society we live in currently, outside of Asia. We want to share our insights and add to the arts. However, when you are told over and over again that you are not good enough to contribute anything; while being told that yes, you are an equal in society (since you pay taxes), you become angry at the hypocrisy.

“You’ll never be seen as a Canadian,” my father told me once. “People think you are from China.” He was telling me to stop believing that I fit into Canadian society and to accept that there was no equality here. He always thought that I was a naive optimist who dreamed too much. If there is no change, he is correct, we will never be able to fit into society we live in.

The other day I met with some famous Asian Canadian writers to invite them as guests to speak at a future Asian literature conference in Toronto. I had to bring my toddler with me because my husband couldn’t babysit last minute. Anyhow, these two men (both had no kids) were asking me why I was planning a conference when I had a child to take care of. What was my motive? 

I do what I do for the next generation, was my answer, as I held my wiggly toddler who was kicking me in the shin the whole time. He’s half Asian and half Caucasian – he’s not going to fit in anywhere as a halfie (or hybrid as some people tell me). Sometimes I feel guilty because I think life would have been easier for him if he was fully Caucasian. That somehow my Asian blood contaminated his future. I know this stems from an inferiority complex, of being told everyday that you aren’t good enough…Fighting for equality is draining and there are days when I just want to give up.

But, I can’t give up, I don’t have a choice. By bringing more Asian literature and diversity debates into the world, the next generation will not have to fight as much to have their voices heard and perhaps live in a better world we envisioned for ourselves when we were younger.

Heck, to be honest, I don’t want to waste my time debating about being Asian or what not either. Until everyone is on equal footing, these conversations will continue. As I mentioned in one of my talks at Anime North, there are more robots and aliens on book covers than Asian people! Somehow, that doesn’t sit well with me, which is why I speak up as much as I can.

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Can Men Breastfeed?

A few weeks ago, I commented to my Viking husband that men are supposed to be able to breastfeed. After all, they have nipples like women and granted, they would need a boost of prolactin hormone, but it is a possibility. A Scientific America article talks about the real possibility of breastfeeding men and how throughout history there have been references of men breastfeeding babies in the absence of a mother.

This youtube video here shows a man pumping his breast and doing feeding his infant son. The reactions are fairly negative from his friends who thinks he is being weird and even his wife gives him an odd look towards the end. If a baby can get nutrients and a range of protective antibodies from the mother, I think it would be beneficial to get a fair share of protection from their father too!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in my husband’s reaction to a potential experiment. He thought I was being silly, but I was serious about attempting to make him produce milk! Really feeling the shaft here as I have to carry this baby thing for nine months, not sleep due to lots of bladder pressure, rejig my organs, have a painful childbirth, take 1 year off and breast feed (my sister compared breast feeding initially to a shark attack). Also, my productivity in everything is slowed down as well since I am exhausted all the time which makes me feel useless on a daily basis. Of course he says he’ll pay the price in different ways…so we’ll see!

Cynthia Vespia's Writing Process

On Goodreads I recently met Cynthia Vespia, the acclaimed author of the fantasy saga Demon Hunter.  Her first novel, a medieval fiction entitled The Crescent was published in August 2005. The novel was unanimously praised as “an engaging, descriptive read” which prompted a sell-out at Borders Bookstore in less than one hour during the first official signing.

Demon_6x9DustJacket_Front_EN copy

As part of the Writing Process blog hop, she was kind enough to share tips to upcoming writers:

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on the sequel to my acclaimed Demon Hunter series, titled DEMON HUNTRESS. It follows the daughter of my lead character as she follows in her father’s footsteps and takes up the role of hunter.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Every author has a different voice. I have been told I’m a multi-genre writer. I’ve included romance in horror novels, and comedy in thrillers. I write what comes naturally to me to make the best story possible.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I like to read. I’ve been a fan of fantasy since I was a kid reading Piers Anthony or C.S Lewis. As I grew my tastes grew into more mainstream thrillers. So I still dabble in both genres. I can’t help where I get my story ideas.

How does my writing process work?
I get a spark of an idea and develop it from their with a rough outline. My character profiles will go in depth but I tend not to flush out too much of the actual story because it ruins the spontaneity.

Cynthia’s Goodreads profile contains links to her books and book trailer videos, check them out!

 

I am a "generic Asian"

Happy New Year!

Throughout December 2013 I had been travelling throughout Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, S. Korea since there was a major family wedding in Korea.

To my surprise, people thought that I was whatever they were and would speak to me at length before realizing I didn’t understand. Then I would get the “this girl is a deaf mute” look. This has happened before in China (I speak Cantonese, not Mandarin), but I didn’t expect people to think that I was Japanese or Korean.

A computer in 2009 simulated average faces for Asians, can you tell which faces are Chinese, Korean and Japanese? (click for answer as well as South Asian faces)

My Viking husband labelled me the “generic Asian” as he was quite amused by all this. With his red hair and beard, people didn’t even try to speak to him. I learned how to say “I don’t understand/don’t know” in Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. However, people sometimes interpreted this as I didn’t know the answer to a question. My brother in law suggested that I learn how to say “I have a mental disability” which may work better.

I was so amused by my new nickname that I decided to rename my blog to “Musings of a Generic Asian” from “Musings of JF Garrard”.

Unfortunately, there was some negative stuff as well which was obvious from angry speech and body language – that I am a terrible Asian as I am hanging out with non-Asian people. Usually it would be an older Asian man that would come up to me directly and say a long speech with nasty glares.

I was being made to feel ashamed that I was a bad Japanese/Korean when I was Chinese. I’ve never traveled to China with my husband, so I’m not sure if we would experience the same thing there. Generally, I think this happened so often because the older generation wants to enforce their rules on the younger generation.

Regardless, it was a wonderful trip and I have been inspired to create art again after a visit to the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) and National Musuem of Modern and Contemporary Art in Deoksugung. It was amazing to see the fusion of Eastern and Western art techniques and the powerful messages behind each piece.

I don’t think I’ll see my husband much this year as I want to finish up a few books, travel to a few conventions, start a podcast and create some cultural identity art!

Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll put together my pics and comments, so stay tuned!

Overthinking Romance

Medieval Wedding

Last night I saw a live musical performance of Once and told my Viking husband afterwards that I would rather see someone was being bludgeoned to death in a Takeshi Kitano gangster movie than the romantic stuff that happened on stage.  “I wonder why this is?” I wondered out loud.  “It’s because you understand violence more than romance,” he replied.

We continued our conversation a bit more.  To his surprise, I told him that all throughout high school I had read a lot of romance novels, ranging from Harlequins to Amanda Quick.  This was popular with the students because I attended an all-girls Catholic high school and many girls wanted to know what the opposite sex was like in relationships.  The plots were fairly predictable as there was usually a free spirited girl rebelling against something, then she meets a handsome man and there is some conflict before they usually fall into each other’s arms reluctantly while rolling around several times having hot sex.  There is usually a serious commitment at the end of the book to seal a happy ending and the woman lives happily ever after.

Having fallen in love and experienced crushes, I am familiar with the irrationality of such emotions.  There is this high of joy you get when you discover another person.  However, such feelings don’t last forever or else you will burn out as you devote all your energy into feeding this love or crush obsession.

Perhaps I am just annoyed that romance stories are very one sided as they are written generally by women for women and the men behave oddly in them.  If I meet men who was incredibly good looking, charming and with a silky tongue; I would wonder how many women he has charmed and if he has any STDs.  Also, what are his motives for acting in such a manner?  Why would they talk to me out of all the females available?

To genuinely fall in love takes time; as I believe true love is learning and totally accepting someone for who they are, including all their faults.   Over the course of a novel, film or musical, character development is usually rushed so I usually don’t have time to comprehend why someone would fall head over heels with someone else.  The story lines run so fast that in the blink of an eye, people have gone from being strangers to getting married.  People are complicated creatures and the notion of longing for romance confuses me.  It’s like “Waiting for Godot” – the harsh truth is that most of the men on the planet don’t have a clue about romance as it’s mostly stuff made up by women.

OK, I am sounding very old and cynical, so let’s change the topic!

The latest Takeshi Kitano movie, “Beyond Outrage”, is about a war between crime families so the different generations of gangsters go out and kill each other in creative ways; ranging from a drill to a baseball throwing machine.  Simple, primitive and understandable!

Update: My husband argues that love is a chemical reaction in the brain after meeting someone, a type of attraction.  That’s fine because you have to be attracted to the person in the first place, but I stand by my belief to fully love someone you still have to know them or at least think you do.  There has to be some type of connection!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversing with a Manga Artist Part 2

This is Part 2 of a conversation with Eri-Chan, a super talented manga artist from the Philippines…Part 1 of our Q &A is here.

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If I were to commission you for a manga, what kind of information do you need?  A script of some sort, I imagine?

A script is okay, but a novel-like format works better for me. I love reading novels, and as such, I tend to get a better image of the scenes in my head compared to script-like stories. 🙂

What is your favourite manga?  Why?

I don’t have a certain top favourite (since I have lots of favourite manga and anime), but for the shoujo-type manga, I fell in love with NANA, Card Captor Sakura, Kareshi Kanoujo no Jijou, and Zettai Kareshi. For the shounen, I’ll always love Naruto and Death Note, and am currently getting hooked with Shingeki no Kyoujin. I also liked horror and suspense manga like Goth and Jisatsu Circle.

I don’t really like manga and anime for the art style or what~ usually; its impact on me while reading it is what I look into. Did this manga tickle the imagination in a way that either I relate so much to it, or that it leaves my brain thinking about it for a few days or even weeks?  I guess I love series that leaves my mind in a deep thinking state after I read it.

What is your dream job?  Well, you are already living it – or perhaps better way to put it – dream commission?

I’ve always wanted to work on published love story or horror/suspense manga. I’m also working on my own title, a comedic love story, and I may be releasing it by next year. (im currently writing the story J) Other than that, I still want to pursue my studies and go for a multimedia art school (once I get me enough funds for it) so I can learn all sorts of stuff to become a professional all-around artist and illustrator. 😀

Have you ever turned down a commission? 

Oh yes, a lot of times. And it breaks my heart to turn down offers of illustrating beautiful stories just because the client wants a rock-bottom price for the art, I mean, I would definitely love to draw for them, but of course, I have bills to pay too, right? Aside from that, there are a lot of stories that didn’t suit my style, (like shonen stories, sci-fi, action, sports), and I always try my best to be honest with my clients if I know that my art style isn’t gonna be the best one suitable for their kind of story. I don’t want to accept a request if know that I can’t do my best on it.

For people who want to become manga artists, what tools would they need?  Do you use tablets or certain software?  What tips do you give in general?  (Eek!  I know one is to backup stuff as there was a huge issue when her computer died…damn electronics!)

Yes, having backups of your files would be one of the most important ones, if you’re going for drawing manga digitally (especially after what I’ve been through with my pc when it broke down on me since I do everything on my PC~ haha..😀 I use a graphics tablet, and Paint Tool SAI + Photoshop CS3 for drawing. I can’t give that much advice for traditional mediums in manga, since I do stuff digitally, but I do believe that investing time to study the art and everything about it that you use will be very helpful in the long run. . Also, take in mind that there will always, and always be people in the industry that are better than you, but don’t let that get you down. Lastly, always be open to new ideas, like what my artist friends are always telling me.

I’m still starting up, and I’m looking forward to learning more as well.

This conversation continues onto Part 3…

Conversing with a Manga Artist Part 1

Originally I contacted Eri-chan because I wanted some manga style portraits and was collecting quotes.  I narrowed it down to a few artists and chose her because her style looked the most professional out of all the portfolios I looked at.  Her art can be seen here at https://eribloodberry.blogspot.com or http://www.erikatsuona.deviantart.com .

Eri-chan is from the Philippines and she is a young independent manga artist.  She currently has several projects on the go at once so she is a busy woman!  She is also very brave as she is involved with cosplay activities which I often want to do, but I feel too old…

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Hi Eri-Chan, thank you first of all helping me out with my project.  It’s been a blast and a lot of fun.   So can you tell me a bit about your background and how you became a manga artist?  What inspired you to become one?

Thanks, Jean~ I had fun drawing your characters as well. You have such a very nice imagination to come up with such interesting and diverse characters. 😀

About your question, I was originally in college, taking up Hotel and Restaurant Management. I felt that it wasn’t for me, and that it’s just not what I wanted to do. I’ve been living alone since I was 12 (so that makes it 8 years ago), and been paying for my studies since then, and happiness means everything to me. So I dropped school and worked as a call center agent as I tried to rebuild my first love, which is anime and manga art. When I’ve got the beginning equipment I needed to start as an artist, I left my (really toxic) job and stayed home to draw all day for people who found my art fascinating for their projects. It was something I really liked doing, although I tend to get picky with the projects’ genre, since my style most likely suit shojo and love stories. I never really imagined myself doing this when I was a little girl, I mostly thought of myself as someone who might be a businesswoman in the future, but I guess it’s just that this was what I loved doing, and I love seeing my completed works.

My dad used to be an assistant comic book artist during his teenage years. He was my first idol when it comes to art, and he taught me the basics when it comes to drawing. My dad was a kinda boastful guy, and at first I just wanted to prove him that I can do better than him… and suddenly I just got hooked with drawing. I fell in love with seeing what I created, and that wonderful feeling of “Oh god… I made this artwork?!Wow.”, because honestly, up to now, I still can’t believe that I can draw like this. 😀 So yeah, my dad was pretty much mostly the one who inspired me. 

I don’t really know how to draw, seriously, but I love anime very much. When I was in my first year in High School, there was this girl classmate of mine who draws anime really, really great and I was so amazed that I asked her to teach me how to draw. She said no in a really disrespectful way, and I got kind of pissed off and frustrated. Back then, I drew like a 5 year old! I know how to draw some forms, but it was like a kid’s drawing compared to this classmate of mine. That summer break, I locked myself in my room with a cheap book on how to draw manga that I bought, and practiced day and night while watching animes. I guess that was the time that I started to learn and improve. I was driven by frustration and the will to draw better that that girl who embarrassed me. When classes started again, she was very surprised by the improvement. I continued drawing during classes and my spare time (eventually got better than that girl, haha), until the only thing that’s driving me to draw is my love for what I’m doing itself, and my love for the characters that I draw. 🙂

Is it difficult to be a freelancer?  I mean, lots of people dream about being their own boss!  Although most of the time I saw my husband filling creating lots of paperwork (taxes, invoices, etc) when he was freelancing…

Yeah, it’s pretty difficult, especially when people don’t really acknowledge that you actually work. In my case, my relatives think that I’m just playing around. I’m still young, after all. The most difficult part for me, I guess, is when clients undervalue your art for something cheap and “just a drawing”. I put my heart to what I do, and it really hurts me when people don’t give enough credit to the work. It’s like being stabbed face-to-face.

Another thing is marketing yourself. There are LOADS of great artists in the Philippines, and most are being overshadowed by the popular mainstream ones. Finding a place where you can find clients who may be interested to have you illustrate their story is a bit of a problem, especially for a young, starting up artist like me.If we put up a blog or site, exposure is a bit slow. So we tend to go to freelancing sites like Fiverr, of which even though it kinda lowers the value of the artworks, the exposure to possible clients is good.

Do you usually draw manga for Asian countries?  Or is there demand in other countries?  Also, do the publications do well?

Most of my clients are from America, Europe and Australia. 🙂 There are just so many talented writers there, and they all want to see their works fleshed out in a Japanese-style manga. I don’t have many Asian clients at the moment, and here in the Philippines, the manga industry and publications is just starting up. Most of the few manga being published are cheesy love stories, so I guess it might take a little more time and market tests before other genres make it big here. 

Continues onto Part 2…

Quick Nursing Home Stories

Today I took some time to visit my 98 year old grandma in the nursing home and then “broke her out of jail” as she calls it, for some dim sum at a nearby restaurant.  It seems like she really hated the place as they cooked crappy food (she was a really good cook), rushed her during bath time, didn’t have enough activities and in generally, she was really bored.  We only asked her to go to the nursing home (at age 95) after she kept falling and bleeding when her head hit the walls since she was on a lot of aspirin.

She described one of the activities, in which all the residents are suppose to sit and listen to Chinese Opera in a common area on a big screen:

Nursing Home Worker: Hi, would you like to join us in listening to some Chinese Opera with the others?

Grandma: No, my leg hurts.

Nursing Home Worker:  The music is so beautiful.  Your leg won’t hurt after listening to it!

Grandma: What kind of BS is this?  Of course my leg will keep hurting.  If I fall, can you even lift me up little woman?

The worker ran away soon after this conversation.  It’s not hard to imagine where I get my cynical humor from as I started laughing after this story.

Grandma also described some of the residents she avoids:

The 94 year old lady – I can’t talk to this lady who is in a wheelchair, she is crazy.  In the beginning she asked, “What is your last name?”  So I told her.  Then she kept asking me, again and again, “What is your name?”  OK, that was annoying.  But then at meal times, she would say, “Oh, my mother-in-law is waiting for me to eat” and then she would wheel herself out of the dining room.  She is 94, I’m pretty sure her mother-in-law is dead!

The new resident – Recently at my dining table, they assigned a new resident, a man.  He won’t go to physiotherapy because he says nothing is wrong with him.  I told him something must be wrong with him, or he wouldn’t be here!  He is also a pervert because he keeps looking at the nurse’s butts.  He claims he can tell their fortune by their faces and touches them.  Yuck!

When I have time, I try to call or visit grandma as she is quite lonely.  My mother says she shouldn’t complain as she is fed and someone does her laundry.  Mom plans to run for senior president on the floor and party once she gets to the nursing home.  My dad says that is BS…oh well…things to look forward to!

 

 

Being Sold into Marriage Sucks…lesson from a "Scar Film"

Yesterday afternoon the TIFF goddess took me to see a depressing film called “The Women from the Lake of Scented Souls” (Winner of the Golden Bear at the 1993 Berlin Film Festival).  The main character is a woman named Xiang, who was sold at 7 years of age to a rich family and forced to marry a crippled husband.  She wanted to commit suicide, but didn’t, due to her iron mother-in-law’s lecturing.  Later on, she establishes a scented oil business and made her family the wealthiest in the village.  Her husband would party all night (watching singing and HK movies on boats with other men, as well as drinking) while she did all the hard labor, running of the business, etc.  They have a son who is mentally delayed (also has epileptic seizures) and a normal daughter.  One day her son demands a wife as he sees some children pretending to get married.  Since her son has a crush on a local girl from a poor family, she buys the girl to become her son’s wife after some manipulations of local lenders who couldn’t collect from this family.  The business grows bigger as a single, modern Japanese lady invests into the business, making  Xiang realize that her life is pretty crummy in the rural village and she has a really crappy husband.  In the end,  Xiang becomes enlightened as she realizes she may have destroyed this girl’s life by buying her and forcing her to marry her son.  So she offers to let the girl go.  But the girl cries as she doesn’t think anyone would want her as a wife.

The cinematography was incredibly beautiful in this movie and the people traveled down the river in wooden boats, adding to its exoticism.  The director Xie Fei was there, explaining that he had been sent to this village for “re-education” as he had been a professor during the Communist Revolution.  The TIFF staff who did the Q & A asked if he was sent to the village to learn, as if it was a vacation or something.  Xie Fei just smiled politely and said that he learned a lot about the struggles of women there, as he said the women did all the hard labor while the men partied on the boats, doing no work.  We learn that because of the Cultural Revolution, films were not made for popular consumption between 1966-1977.  He is a “fourth generation” director, which means he had received his training before 1966, but then had his career disrupted by the revolution.  This film is also considered a “scar film” which depicts the harsh reality of rural life, oppression, subjugation of women/peasants, old patriarchal system, death, destruction, war and lots of suffering.

women scented

Are Chinese women gaining more ground in society?  There are articles on rich Chinese women in Forbes and many are more educated than before; but there is much contradictory data on the web.  In a study by National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the New York-based Asia Society, they state that just 10 of the 205 Communist Party’s Central Committee members are women, and no woman has ever held a spot on the Politburo Standing Committee, the party’s top decision-making body.  In a 2010 survey of women’s social status in China by the All-China Women’s Federation, 61.6% of men and 54.6% of women surveyed said that “men belong in public life and women belong at home,” which actually increased in numbers from a survey done in 2000.  Accounting firm Grant Thornton surveyed 200 businesses in China, of which 94% employed women in senior roles, which is good news.  If you are interested in reading more, there is an article with links about the topic here.

This movie reminded me of my grandmothers as one had an arranged marriage and one did not.  The grandmother that got to chose her spouse seemed happier I suppose, but there were also other factors; such as her wealthier family background, a chance at education and a choice in career (she became a high school principle).  The other grandmother grew up in a rural community and was arranged into marriage at the old maid age of 18.  This grandmother laments that her family refused to educate her, although her father was a school teacher and ended up only being able to do manual labour or crafts for money as a result of this (farm & embroidery work).  Both grandmothers wanted the best for their children and grandchildren, especially the females, and passed on the lesson of the importance of education and not depending on anyone else for survival.  Years later I asked the grandmother with the arranged marriage if she ever fell in love with grandfather, like on the Hong Kong soap operas.  Her answer was that “it was different back then.”  Today, the project manager that I work with listened to my description of all this and commented on how in present day that things are skewed the other way.  People have fantasies and expectations of the other sex which are not realistic.  They are all looking for a perfect someone which does not exist.  The reality is that no one is perfect and being with someone means accepting their flaws.

The Price of Marriage in China is a fascinating article about modern spouse hunting in China in a country by the end of this decade, which will have a surplus of 24 million unmarried men.  Chinese women postponing marriage to pursue careers, but are pressured to try to marry before 28 or they become stigmatized as “leftover women” or shengnu. Opposite are shengnan, “leftover men”, mostly poor rural men left behind as female counterparts marry up in age and social status. The article follows Diamond Love, a dating agency for rich men (fees range from $50,000 USD to more than $1 million USD) who want women that are young, beautiful and of course, a virgin.  Interestingly, the agency rejected a rich woman client who wanted to spend $100,000 USD to find a husband which they said was impossible as she was too successful.  The reporter also follows a mother trying to find a wife for his son who has a lower salary than women he meets.  The girls either reject him, or offer to take care of him for the rest of his life.  Very interesting and long article, have a look if you have time!

It's the end of human society – women breadwinners!

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of articles which talk about the positive and negative rise of women in the workforce.  A recent Economist article, “The Natural Order”, mentioned that census bureau data in the US showed that four in ten American children live in household in which their mother is the primary breadwinner.  In typical American fashion, this sparked outrage from everyone’s favorite channel, Fox News and a panel of four distraught men went on about the impact on the poor children and how this is tearing marriages apart.  One of the guests, RedState editor Erick Erickson, stated that this trend is defying biology:

“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complementary role.”

Fox News blogger Suzanne Venker writes on a similar note to her fellow colleagues in her post, the “War on Men” –  that men don’t want to get married because “women are not women” anymore.  They are angry, bitter creatures who won’t let men take care of them.  The solution of course is: “Fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.”

So basically women should let men dominate them in work/life or the end of human society is in sight!

Another perspective is shown in the Globe and Mail’s article “Female breadwinners: Good income, bad outcome?” which talks about men’s problems with females earning more.  Basically as women become more educated and earn more, if they are married to men who are less educated and earn less, the marriage tends to end in divorce due to the frail man-ego.   As well, the  Economist did an article in 2011, The flight from marriage, which had some interesting statistics on women in Asia marrying later and the percentage of them not marrying increasing over the years.  The reasoning behind this shift in Asian society is due to women becoming more educated, wanting a man with higher education than themselves and having a job increases a woman’s autonomy.  She has more options which include not having a husband as she can support herself.

econ marriage asia

The guru that I often listen to is my 98 year old grandmother.  While growing up, she was not allowed to have an education and was put into an arranged marriage at the old maid age of 18.  Throughout my life she often told me that the only way for me to be happy in the future was to obtain a good education and job, so that I can support myself and not depend on men.  Being trapped in a bad marriage is worse off than not being married.  She was way smarter than my grandfather I think, so she was not that happy.  I wonder what choices she would have made if she had options.  Maybe I wouldn’t exist…alas…

These debates will continue until women and men are considered “equal” by general society – but then again, this may never happen due to gender differences.  Often, I have been jealous that my husband has never had monthly menstrual pains or have to imagine the horrors of child birth.  Complaining about this in business class made me seem like a dominant man-woman as my male classmates nodded nervously in agreement.

Another issue in these debates is that there is never a thought to consequences.  So if a women has children and is dependent on her husband, what happens if he dies/divorces her/leaves, etc?  This is a similar issue with pro-life arguments – people want all children to live, but no one wants to take care of them.  Do people practice what they preach?  Usually no!

My alternative solution to all this is to have all future generation of children created in artificial cabbage patch wombs, have robots do housework and parents put on the same schedule for “balance” family time at the end of the day.  Then one day, all the future children go berserk due to some DNA split gone wrong, blow up the planet Earth and the debate ends…hm…we can make a movie from this!