Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pictures of You

By Debbie Hsieh

Does it always have to be blacks, whites, and grays?

A couple days after getting a supposedly flattering haircut, I was on the phone with one of my good male friends. “What are you going to do with your hair?” he said, changing the subject from my common gushing of guy problems. “What? What’s wrong with my hair?” I was serious too! Everyone, from teachers to friends to complete strangers had told me my haircut was amazing. “Well, I like that really Asiany-Asian look” he responded. I didn’t get it… or at least I thought I didn’t get it. “You know… your hair is kind of… puffy.” Puffy? Puffy! I’d prefer… voluminous, but that conversation got me thinking about “Asiany-Asianness.”

For girls, at least two-inch heels, mega-flares, streaked and perfectly flat hair, sheer shirts, and too much makeup is usually required. For guys, anything brand name, and spiked, tinted hair. And for both sexes, colors are many times limited to black, white, and gray. Those who deviate even slightly in this dress code automatically are seen as not Asian enough, or in extreme cases, even whitebread. When people are questioned why they dress like that, they usually respond “It looks good.”

Sure, it can look good. But when guys are wearing those hold-up-I-gotta-hike-up-my-pants-every-two-seconds jeans, I have to admit, it looks bad. As for guys, I’m not sure whether they always love their girls to wear the exact same thing as their friends every single day, differing only by golden or amber highlights, or the tint of their lipstick. The world already thinks that we all look alike. Do we have to reinforce that by dressing exactly alike as well?

The other day I was shopping with one of my female friends. She was trying on a lavender tube dress that looked amazing on her. After receiving compliments from me, the salespeople, and her boyfriend, she changed back into her clothes and placed the dress back on the rack. “It doesn’t look Asian enough,” she said, shrugging. “Maybe it they had it in black.. “ Her boyfriend and I exchanged exasperated looks, picked the dress back up, and shoved it into her hands.

Honestly, a lot of my friends do not exhibit the Asiany-Asian style. As for myself, I like the flares and chiffon shirts, but I have my share of straight-leg pants and those comfy fuzzy hooded t-shirts. Needless to say, I’m hardly picked up by those “gangsta-wannabe” Asians. Why? Probably because I’m not wearing enough makeup… or maybe because I’m taller than they are (WITHOUT heels, thank you very much). But most likely, come on it’s gotta be, because my hair is too puffy.

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