AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Lisa Lee And Lynn Chen’s “Thick Dumpling Skin”

February 21st, 2011 | 4 comments | Posted by Diana

In all of my three decades of life, I have never once been skinny.

Now–before you get all up in my grill with the, “Ohmygawd Diana, you’re NOT fat” words of soothing or the “You bitch, don’t talk to me about not being skinny” words of annoyance, please know that I’m not fishing for compliments, nor complaining about my size, nor stating I’ve never been a healthy, normal weight. I’m just saying, I’ve never been skinny.

But Asian girls are supposed to be skinny, right?

That’s like, the Asian girl thing: “Oh gosh, I just eat and eat and eat but I can’t gain any weight.” And “Urggg–they ran out of size zeros.” And “I was the skinniest person on my softball team in high school and I always hated it.” And “I can’t believe it, Yennie and I both hit three-digit weights over the holidays and we almost died!” Slight frames and narrow shoulders and bony hips and knobby knees and protruding ribs and flat asses and tiny breasts and slender thighs and stick arms. It’s our answer to the world’s Amazon legs and blonde waves and sexy curves. We’re skinny, betches.

Well, some of us.

Are we all meant to look like this?

Then there are the rest of us. We are sized 4, 6, 8, 14, 20. Medium and XXL. We do not eat whatever we want. Our clothes don’t “hang” on us. We cannot fathom wearing thigh-high boots. We have learned to like Diet Coke. We see photos of ourselves at weddings and realize that our arms are the same size as our cousins’ legs. We do not get lifted whimsically in the air by men. We have never liked our knees. We walk into an Asian supermall and watch them shake their heads–Your size we do not carry. We have an aversion to pool parties. Our grandmas hope we’re smart, because she thinks we are fat. We cannot buy jeggings at Forever 21, despite the fact that they are only nine dollars, because that shit would never fucking fit. We are criticized by our families for failing them with our failed figures. We feel guilty sometimes. Defensive sometimes. Jealous sometimes. Angry sometimes. Embarrassed sometimes.

Some of us are fat, some of us are stocky, some of us are soft, some of us are short and round, some of us are pear-shaped, some of us are athletic, some of us are medium, some of us are chubby, some of us are tall and strong, some of us are even… tiny. The funny thing is, even some the skinny ones feel this way. And the not-so-funny thing is, all of us are just fine and lovely and probably don’t think so.

Asians and Asian American ladies have been struggling with weight issues, impossible ideals and skewed body image forEVER. Do we talk about it? Hardly ever. And what about our men? God forbid.

Which is precisely why Hyphen publisher Lisa Lee and actress/blogger Lynn Chen started the site, Thick Dumpling Skin–a forum for Asian Americans to discuss weight, body image, and the pursuit of the “perfect body” in the context of our culture.

From the Press Release:

We wanted to create a place for Asian American men and women to come together, to share, to discuss, and more importantly, to find support for something that has only been acknowledged on the surface, yet largely ignored in our community,” says Lee. “We want anyone who has felt cornered in their struggle with weight to grow some thicker skins and learn to love them as well.”

Perhaps you’re surprised by the women behind TDS–they are, after all, two of the most gorgeous women we’ve ever met in person. They couldn’t possibly have anything to worry about! But that’s precisely the idea that needs to be blown out of the water–that behind all of these beautiful Asian American faces, there is no struggle.

Chen–who started her blog, The Actor’s Diet, after years of battling with eating disorders–reached out to Lee, who published a notable article in the last Hyphen discussing her own lifelong war with food and body image. Together, they created Thick Dumpling Skin in hopes of building a community and honest, open dialogue… starting with them:

And it seems about time that “the rest of us” join them.

[Thick Dumpling Skin]
[Hyphen: Seeking the Perfect Body - Hyphen’s Publisher Recounts Her Struggle To Face Down The Pressure To Be Thin]

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4 Responses to “AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Lisa Lee And Lynn Chen’s “Thick Dumpling Skin””

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DISGRASIAN™, Hyphen magazine and Hyphen magazine, Sofrito Gringo. Sofrito Gringo said: RT @disgrasian: AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Lisa Lee and Lynn Chen’s “Thick Dumpling Skin” [...]

  2. isaacakira says:

    About the pics of the skeletic ladies: there’s nothing sexy about been morbidly skinny (hi, I’m the guy who always complain when people say Grace Park and Maggie Q are sexy).
    Unfortunately, a Asian actress should be skinny to be accepted by the entertainment industry (in any country). And (almost) every men like much more curvy girls Jenna Ushkowitz or Christina Hendricks (at I do).
    Ok, I know it’s not about what men like or dislike but about women (and men) accept themselves. However, I always wondered why Hollywood thinks a bone and skin like Kim Yunjin would be desirable.

    Ps. I small cartoon from Brazil.
    It says: 1.You know when a girl is hot by her sidelong (lateral).
    2.No matter the color, size, weight, height… or which planet she comes from.
    3.As long you want to bite her sidelong, surely you will be happy.

  3. Anthony Hoang says:

    I agree that people (men and women) should be happy with their body image and not derive happiness solely from their looks. I also agree that the public perception of Asian women is skewed towards these stereotypes. But I think saying it is okay to love who you are even if you are over weight is a little too much. If you are healthy and at a healthy weight that’s one thing. But if you are saying “love yourself” even if you are over weight that is too far the other direction.

    Most readers of your site and future readers of TDS are intelligent and aware of the cultural stereotypes of how Asian women are portrayed. If they are reading this website they are very aware of the social forces at work and can use their own discretion when looking at their bodies.

  4. [...] Okay, you might think I’m crazy now, but I will redeem myself with this announcement: I’m one of Disgrasian’s “Amazians of the Week!!!” [...]

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