Culture

Hope Solo & Double Standards

Let’s face it: double standards are a part of life.

This is why hot girls on Instagram have thousands of followers while their male counterparts look uber-douchey for taking topless selfies.

This is why men can fart in front of others and receive laughs while women fear the day they let out a single squeak of gas, for that would surely be followed by their permanent banishment, a social excommunication of sorts.

Recently, ESPN published a detailed account of Hope Solo’s most recent run-in with the law. Solo is one of the faces of U.S. Women’s Soccer, the star goalkeeper for the red, white, and blue. The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off this week, and Solo was again making spectacular saves for the U.S. National Soccer Team.

Back on June 21, 2014, Solo was involved in a domestic dispute with her half-sister, Teresa Obert, and Obert’s son, which turned physical. Punches were thrown and faces were scratched, which ultimately led to Obert calling the police. When police arrived, they questioned all parties involved, viewed the evidence, and concluded that Solo was the primary aggressor, leading to her arrest.

A dismissed domestic violence case and an appeal by the State of Washington later, here we are: a case against Solo still pending and Solo, seen across the country on national television playing for the U.S. National Soccer Team.

The past year has been marred by domestic violence in sports. The NFL has taken a public beating for its mishandling of Ray Rice and his bout of domestic violence. The WNBA has recently suspended All-Star Brittney Griner and her now-ex wife Glory Johnson for their domestic violence incident (a female same-sex couple involved in domestic violence – America is surely not ready for you, yet). But Solo’s status in U.S. Soccer still remains intact.

Is this another case of a gender-based double standard? Do we believe women aren’t strong enough to be the aggressor in a domestic violence incident? Should we be outraged that Solo is allowed to participate in the World Cup?

In short, my answers are no, no, and it depends.

Question #1 is more about Solo’s abilities in her field than it is her gender. She is considered by many to be one of the, if not, top goalkeepers in the world. If we know anything about sports, it’s that talent and ability trumps morality every time. Floyd Mayweather continues to not only be allowed to fight in the state of Nevada, but is cheered by millions despite the fact that he is a convicted domestic abuser. Producing on the field will apparently cover a multitude of sins.

Question #2 is a ridiculous one that can be answered with two words: Ronda Rousey.

Question #3 is the most interesting one.  To me, this is not a question about uneven male and female perceptions, but rather a question about the institutional decisions of U.S. Soccer in comparison to others like the NFL and the WNBA. Sports is big business; whether we like it or not, profit takes precedence over ethics. They don’t see man or woman, straight or gay, black or white – they see green. This is not an issue of double standards; this is an issue of potential ethical mismanagement of U.S. Soccer by its executives. Whether these sporting officials should take matters into their own hands and discipline players for off-the-field issues is up to the individual to decide.

It’s easy for people to look at this as Hope Solo getting away with domestic violence because she’s a woman, but that’s really not the case. This is just another example in the storied tradition of athletes, male or female, being allowed to participate in their sport despite having issues outside the playing field. And in time, this may very well turn out to be another example in the other storied tradition of a sport’s governing body conveniently looking the other way, all for the sake of money.

– Chris.

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What Type of Asian Guy Am I?

Well ain’t this some shit.

I recently came across a YouTube video by the FungBros titled 15 Types of Asian Guys. Hmm, well let’s see what these dudes have to say, I thought.

First of all, along with being a Millennial and adjusting to the constant advancements in technology and the resulting shifts in social norms, I am an Asian-American. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Korea (South Korea. If I’m ever asked again which Korea, north or south, I may hit this person). I was born in Los Angeles and have lived in Southern California my entire life.

But here’s the problem: to Whites Blacks Hispanics Americans, I am Korean Chinese Asian, and to Koreans, I am American. So what the fuck?? It’s as if Korea and the U.S. are picking teams for kickball and neither country wants to pick the American-born Koreans. This struggle for identity is real and something that I feel constantly, and it definitely plays a part in defining the type of “guy” I am.

Back to Asian guys. Here’s the clip:

The clip is pretty amusing and well-made, yet it left me with an odd, slightly unpleasant feeling.

One may think, 15 types? Why so much? It’s rather necessary to have this many types because Asians in America are, for the most part, segregated. Central and South Americans share a common language whereas Asians do not, and this language barrier is why I think a lack of unity among Asians in the U.S. exists. I can’t understand a lick of Vietnamese, and a Thai person wouldn’t understand any Korean – unless he/she is into Kpop and Korean dramas. So naturally there would be many different types of Asian guys.

After writing down the list that the FungBros created, here’s what I’ve concluded about myself:

  1. Hip-Hop Asian Guy
  2. Nerdy Asian Guy
  3. Thug Asian Guy
  4. FOB Asian Guy
  5. White-Washed Asian Guy
  6. Bad Ass Asian Guy
  7. Young Business Professional (YAPPIE) Asian Guy
  8. Party Asian Guy
  9. Fitness Asian Guy
  10. Hipster Asian Guy
  11. Hustler Asian Guy
  12. Rich Asian Guy
  13. AZN Asian Guy
  14. Underachiever Asian Guy
  15. Church Loving Asian Guy

Of course, my knee-jerk reaction is to discount generalizations, but there is some truth to this list. In my experience with Asian guys (and being from SoCal, I’ve had a lot), much of this has to do with life stage. At some point, I probably would have been a Party Asian Guy or a Fitness Asian Guy; it just depends on what we’re into at the moment. This comes back to the identity struggle: we’re trying to find ourselves in a country where we experience a lack of acceptance even though we’re a member just like everyone else.

A list like this can also be problematic because of its stereotyping nature. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most non-Asians in the U.S. think almost all Asian guys are nerds. Do we need another list to further typecast us? Maybe it’s not a big deal; these guys were just joking around, after all. I just hope non-Asians don’t view this clip and actually believe that all Asian guys fit into these molds.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on Asian guys. Are we all great at math? Do we all love sneakers? Are we all either super soft-spoken or batshit-crazy gangster, with nothing in between? Do we lack the qualities of leaders? Are we just weird?

By the way, there’s also a video for 18 Types of Asian Girls– equally amusing, equally well-made (since Asians are so tech-savvy), and equally unintentionally somewhat offensive.

– Chris.

Should Parents Post Photos of Their Children on the Internet?

I stumbled across an interesting AskReddit thread posing the following question:

Within the next 10 years, a generation of children whose parents posted their entire lives online, without their consent, will become young adults. How do you think they’ll feel about it?

Pause. Think about that. It is a really great question. We all know from this article titled, “How Many Kids Do You Want?”, I am rather dog obsessed and not child obsessed. My only “child”, a 5 year old, is very hairy, walked from day one, and still hasn’t talked. Do I post photos of Kang Kang online? Hell yes… he has more followers than I do (follow him!). Do I ask him if I can snap photos and post him on social media? Hell no! But again, he is a dog and he can’t talk back. This is why dogs are man’s best friends and “children”.

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@oclhasa — doing what he does best: act cute!

But would I care as a human being? The best way to answer this personally is to think back through all of my photo albums sitting in my mother’s home. You know, the Polaroid and Kodak moments where every snap counted because you only had limited film. As a baby, I was often told I looked like a monkey… I had fine, static-infused hair that stood straight up, huge cheeks and deer-in-headlights eyes. My mother also had an interest in taking naked photos of me. I often wondered if Instagram was around in the 80’s, would I go viral as @NakedMonkeyBaby? Transitioning into a pre-teen, things were not looking up in the appearance department. I had awful hand me downs from my older brother who was 7″ taller. His shorts were my high-waters when high-waters weren’t in. I often cried, “Why can’t you be a sister?!” I wore these really ugly coke-bottle glasses with metal frames that took over half my face (you can’t even pass them off as hipster). I grew up surrounded by 4 male cousins and as a result turned into a bit of a tomboy. There is actually a photo of me at a park in the scorching AZ summer – topless – with 4 topless boys. I have to admit I could really pass off as a boy, especially with my identical bowl-shaped hair cut that matched my brothers. My hair was never brushed and I never wore dresses. As a teenager, things started finally looking up. I started to blossom and became more confident. I was able to save up my own money and bought new clothes that actually fit. In the final year of high school, I registered for a Facebook account and started posting photos of my teenage self on my own. I liked having the say in which photos were Facebook-worthy and which were to be deleted and never surfaced on the web.

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Brother & I (with monkey hair)

Going back to the original question, I think it’s safe to say I’m just thankful my parents still don’t know how to use the photo function on Facebook. My response is out of sheer embarrassment of being an ugly duckling monkey growing up. I’m not sure if I would feel differently if I were cute or pretty. What I can say though is I do enjoy gathering in the living room with family and friends, browsing through physical photo albums, and allowing them to laugh at my expense. There is something sentimental about not having all of your photos visible to just anyone online. Funny side note: My mom is on Facebook and she is my friend. I once posted a photo of my brother and I. She commented, “Good picture. Put on Facebook.” This illustrates how technically savvy they are (thank God).

My advice to parents if they want to post photos of their kids is 2-fold: 1.) Make sure it is a flattering photo – save the embarrassing ones for a private album and 2.) Make sure metadata or geolocation settings are disabled. When I posted photos of Kang Kang on Instagram I had my “Add to Photo Map” setting on. Chris pointed it out and said to remove it because if you zoom in you can actually see where we live! It’s pretty spot on. God forbid any dognapper knowing my routine over the course of 10 posts and one day dognapping him! Apparently there are stories of this happening to children so be diligent. The other thing to consider is your photos can end up anywhere as you’ve given permission when you accept the Terms & Conditions on sites like Facebook. There was a Facebook lawsuit when a girl realized her face was part of a sponsored advertisement photo. Facebook won (surprise!); lucky for the girl it wasn’t an STD campaign. Oh, and don’t forget about the creepers. Child pornography exists. I would be mortified if my physical photo albums ever become Facebook albums. Which leads me to the next point – don’t accept friend requests from strangers. I keep getting weirdos inviting me to be friends. To which I say:

DeleteDeleteDelete

Let’s discuss! What are your thoughts to this question?

Seeing Clearly

What if we could see three times better than 20/20?

That’s what Ocumetrics claims is an imminent possibility. The Canadian research corporation is on the cusp of developing a bionic lens that could soon render prescription glasses and contact lenses obsolete. With a procedure similar to cataract surgery, people will be able to see far better than they ever could as their natural lens is replaced with this new invention from Ocumetrics. This will undoubtedly change the human experience as life will be seen in greater detail and from greater distances.

Ocumetrics Bionic Lens - photo credit: Canadian Press

Ocumetrics Bionic Lens – photo credit: Canadian Press

Naturally, this brings about the question: How will this change the way we look at ourselves and each other?

On the surface, improved vision is a great technological advancement. Impaired vision affects the lives of billions; a breakthrough of this magnitude could increase the quality of life for many on a scale like that of the Internet. But what about the social consequences of being able to see in greater detail than ever before? In today’s high-definition world, how will seeing human “imperfections” more easily and in greater detail affect our sense of aesthetics?

We see ourselves in the mirror every day. We interact with normal people constantly. On the bell curve of human beauty, a 5 out of 10 is the median. The media, however, is a different animal altogether. The people in television, movies, and advertisements are attractive, having a sex appeal that is above that of the average person we encounter daily. CGI, Photoshop, and mobile filters serve to enhance their attractiveness even more; this has created a skewed perception in our minds of our standards of beauty. Should women strive to look like a Victoria’s Secret model and men like those in Calvin Klein ads?

Admittedly, this affects even yours truly. The gap between the “beautiful” people on billboards and Instagram and the everyday normal bloke is growing so much, in fact, that I can’t help but think the median is more like a 4 than a 5 out of 10. The normals are becoming less attractive. How can this be? Is the epidemic of obesity dominating the other side of low-carb diets and Crossfit to this extent? Is the human race evolving towards ugliness?

The truth is, most of us don’t have flawless skin or six-pack abs. Hair loss is real, and our skin will start to wrinkle and loosen up over time (of course, we can do our due-diligence when it comes to preventative measures, like Gwen Stefani).

Here’s the real problem: The things we see on the screen influence our views, and there are more screens in our lives than ever before. Computers, laptops, TV’s, phones, and iPads are giving us access anytime and anyplace. Instagram has birthed thirst-trapping, and everyone seems to be thirsty these days. Of course, porn is everywhere too, and are we all perfectly groomed with zero body fat? (I just looked in the mirror, confirming the answer is a big No)

Having better vision will be great, but only if we’ll see things the right way. We don’t need Ocumetrics to do that.

– Chris

A Buyer’s Remorse

Emily and I went to the mall this past Memorial Day weekend. The usual hordes of shoppers occupied the walkways and shops. I decided to bring a book with me to pass time while Emily shopped. I sat on a bench and in between reading chapters of Stephen King’s The Stand I looked out at the crowd and felt a bit somber. Society has turned us into mindless hoarders and consumers, I thought.

Who can blame us, though? The Internet enables us to see ads of the newest gadgets and the latest fashion 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Holidays have turned into sales opportunities: what better way to remember our fallen soldiers than with a 40% discount at Nordstrom? Facebook and Twitter feeds have been overtaken with businesses pitching their products. Even individuals themselves are becoming advertisements, hence the birth of the fashion blogger. We have become the all-consuming, all-accumulating culture of retail.

I couldn’t help but wonder if any of this mattered. A man down the hall dropped $10,000 on a Rolex even though he could simply check the time with his phone. A woman across the way spent $1,000 on a Louis Vuitton wallet- yes, we spend money to be able to hold our money. I can’t judge- it’s their money- but still, am I alone in finding this level of vanity to be excessive?

Eventually, I was inside the aforementioned Nordstrom, walking around with an 800-page book in my hand. People were sifting through the racks of clothes, others stood in line for the fitting rooms, and employees were busy ringing customers up. An older man stood by the TV and watched sports highlights, waiting for his wife to finish looking at shoes. Emily was on the other side of the floor looking at makeup, and I contemplated the futility of everything.

Then I spotted a nice shirt, waited for a fitting room, liked what I saw, and promptly dropped $60 for it. Let the self-loathing begin.

– Chris.

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) – A Man’s Review

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

They surely had that in mind when they made Pitch Perfect 2. The sequel to the surprisingly successful 2012 a capella movie followed the same script: a floundering musical performance in the beginning, a struggle to find identity in the middle, and an epic a capella number of a lifetime in the end. I’m not alerting for spoilers because it doesn’t matter if viewers know the ending; the point of movies like this is the ride, not the destination.

The first Pitch Perfect had all the makings of a movie I would totally despise. A movie about an all-female collegiate a capella group doesn’t scream must-see to me at all; that just reminds me of Glee. Who needs to see that shit?

But something strange happened: I enjoyed the first movie. These girls can really sing, and the dorky tone of the movie had a certain charm to it. The movie knew it was ridiculous and didn’t take itself seriously, but instead chose to have a self-deprecating tone. And Rebel Wilson. She’s the female answer to Zach Galifianakis-a comedian with a deadpan game so strong it will make the most hardened of people LOL (we also think she would make a great Disney princess).

I left the movie theater after watching Pitch Perfect 2 thinking that I could’ve waited for this movie to be on Netflix. The story was a complete retread of the first movie; it seemed as if Universal Pictures decided to show the same ‘ol song and dance again because they knew it would sell.

As a result, most of the jokes in the movie didn’t work because these were basically the same jokes being told a second time. How many times will we find humor in men being unreasonably into a capella? Will we always find minority and lesbian jokes amusing? This movie proved that the answer is an emphatic no.

If it wasn’t for Rebel Wilson’s reprise of Fat Amy, I would deem Pitch Perfect 2 unwatchable. She put the entire movie on her back with another great performance, hitting all the right comedic notes throughout. This is art imitating life: Fat Amy believes she carries the Barden Bellas in the way that Rebel Wilson carries the entire movie. Once again, she crushed it.

I wouldn’t recommend people to see Pitch Perfect 2, just like I wouldn’t have recommended people to see The Hangover 2. The sequel could have been much more than it is had the filmmakers been more vigilant about providing a fresh spin on the story of the Barden Bellas. Instead, they chose to rehash the same plot points, resulting in an aca-underwhelming viewing experience.

– Chris.

The F Word

This past Sunday, the most recent episode of Game of Thrones aired, ending in cringe-worthy fashion.  A female character was raped on her wedding night after being forced into a marriage. The scene set the Internet ablaze with complaints and protests about the show’s depiction of women. The upset viewers cried, “Did she need to be raped in order to keep her character interesting?” Thrones, an adaptation of the widely popular book series A Song of Ice and Fire, is deviating from the book’s story more and more.  In the book, this female character wasn’t raped; this particular scene was added by the TV showrunners. As a result, many viewers who saw this scene as gratuitous and sexist are vowing never to see another episode.

Beyond female nude scenes and gender roles on TV shows, a broader topic has emerged to the surface-feminism. What is feminism? Who is qualified to speak about feminism? Are men allowed to chime in on women’s rights, or are we all inherently the oppressor because we are males?

I’ve seen tweets throughout the week from women urging other women to ignore the opinions of men when it comes to feminism because they are not us. I posted a question on my Facebook-Can men be feminists? Women responded with Yes and Absolutely. This role of men in feminism has been debated by women for years.

My belief is this: feminism exists because there’s an imbalance in society. I am fully aware that women have it much worse than men do in general terms. Women have to bear children-that sucks. Women are constantly degraded to being nothing but sexual objects by men-that sucks. The vast majority of domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace occurs at the expense of women-that really sucks. Perceptions and stereotypes also affect women: If a woman is quiet in the office, she’s often considered timid and lacking in leadership qualities, whereas a quiet man may be looked at as introspective and refined.

In my opinion, feminism is the belief that women deserve the same basic rights as men do. I also believe that it’s very important to be wary of generalizations when it comes to men and women: not all men are creeps and misogynists, and not all feministic women despise men.


The biggest badass on the planet right now is probably Ronda Rousey. She has risen to the top of the mixed martial arts world, obliterating the competition along the way. She has dispatched her opponents so quickly that entire fights can be shown on a single Instagram post. Sports Illustrated, the magazine that normally puts women on their covers because they’re wearing bikinis, recently put Rousey on the cover with the headline: Ronda Rousey Is The World’s Most Dominant Athlete. I tend to agree.

Ronda Rousey is on top of the sports world.

Ronda Rousey is on top of the sports world.

But even Rousey isn’t impervious to gender biases. She continues to get asked from time to time, “Why are you single?” Some may believe the underlying message behind the question is a compliment-You’re successful, attractive, and men must throw themselves at you, so how do you not have a man? Others, however, may see the question as a gender-biased slight, inferring that something must be wrong with her since she’s single while, on the other hand, successful, famous single men are celebrated for being such ballers and pimps.

Rousey has said that she never intended to be an example for women, but that’s exactly what she has become-a role model. She is a woman at the top of a predominantly male field. Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), once famously said that women will never fight in the UFC; he has since changed his tune dramatically. Ronda Rousey was merely pursuing a passion of hers, blocking out any noise about her gender. She now realizes that she is doing much more than that. This 15-minute segment on Rousey by HBO’s Real Sports is worthwhile to watch:


I do believe in gender equality, just as I believe in racial and sexual orientation equality. But is saying that enough? What role should men play in this battle?

I don’t want this to be a woe-is-me situation; I know that the world’s smallest violin is playing for me. Like many things related to women, I’m just left wondering.

 

– Chris.