SUMMER INDEPENDENT STUDY REPORT
OCAD University Study on Feminism through Asian Perspective Professor Paula Gardner
THUY LINH DO 2450880
FRONT COVER CREDIT Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844-1926). In the Loge, 1878. Oil on canvas. 81.28 x 66.04 cm (32 x 26 in.). The Hayden Collection - Charles Henry Hayden Fund, 1910. 10.35. ÂŠ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
SUMMER INDEPENDENT STUDY REPORT
OCAD University Study on Feminism through Asian Perspective Professor Paula Gardner
THUY LINH DO 2450880
6 16 32 38
REFLECTION WRITTINGS • On Eastern and Western, Vietnamese Feminist Literature • Yoshimoto Banana and Yamada Eimi – Feminist voices in Japanese literature • The concept of Time Traveling from an Asian Feminist perspective • Thoughts on Vietnamese and Asian feminist literature
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY • Readings • Films
VIDEO INSTALLASTIONS • Installation 1 - Mother Earth • Installation 2 - Sleeping Women
REFERENCES AND CITATIONS • Reflection Writtings Citations • List of Readings • List of Films
REFLECTION WRITTINGS ON EASTERN AND WESTERN, VIETNAMESE FEMINIST LITERATURE
REFLECTION WRITTINGS ON EASTERN AND WESTERN, VIETNAMESE FEMINIST LITERATURE (CONT.)
REFLECTION WRITTINGS ON EASTERN AND WESTERN, VIETNAMESE FEMINIST LITERATURE (CONT.)
no control of who are looking at them). Obviously feminist literature also gives readers a different view of a different way of thinking, these seemingly boring topics revolving around love, children, marriage and family, the love triangle are no longer simple or easy to understand, since behind every story is an observation, an obsession of a womanâ€™s point of view. They simply want to be equal to men, and need a position worthy of them. From a supporting role, a minor role in the literature, women today have really confirmed their roles, and in fact they are half of the world, which cannot be denied. However, thinking too much about fighting against men, overestimated themselves, much as sometimes women forget and deny the role of men. Many literature works by Japanese, Chinese or Vietnamese female writers look down on men, considering man is only a tool, a game for them to play on their fingers, and praising gay love, which led to the weakness of feminist literature in Asia. The more I read about feminist literature and think, I realize that no matter how the women are acting, fighting, or struggling, itâ€™s all because they want to get out of this thinking set that they have to love their husbands, children, and protect and build a happy family. Too tired from having no other selection that they demand to be released. However in the end, no matter how much they have rebelled, they still want to return to their homes, still desire a happy family, with a very strong shoulder to lean on. As a result, there is no need to deny men and what they have done just to praise women. Feminist literature, just like any other literature, should speak out the observations, thoughts, the feelings of not only one person but of many people, of the society in which we live.
REFLECTION WRITTINGS YOSHIMOTO BANANA AND YAMADA EIMI FEMINIST VOICES IN JAPANESE LITERATURE
Despite being one of the most economically developed countries in the world, the position of women in Japanese society is still considered not equivalent to men. As a result, it’s not surprising to see that among the modern Japanese writers, there aren’t many women who have frankly and clearly addressed the topic of feminism in a powerful and convincing way. More often we see writers talk about their disappointment and unhappiness towards a violent, gender discriminative, unfair society that looks down on women and refuses to make any change. Among those rare female authors who dared to bring up this topic, Yoshimoto Banana and Yamada Eimi are believed to be the most successful and influential.
In her novels, Yoshimoto Banana describes her characters as the victims of male-esupremacy mentality and a sexist society, who exert all their strength to get away from it. As the result, she shows compassion and sympathy towards any act a woman could perform to protest against their unfair world, even when the acts (committing adultery, homosexuality etc..) are considered unacceptable in Japanese traditions. However she also writes about a reality where all attempt to fight against such a cruel world is useless. In her most famous novel Kitchen (1988) (5), character Eriko, the father of the male protagonist, decides to become a woman after losing his wife, and ends up getting killed by a customer in the bar she’s working at. Her death could be explained by the fact she has chosen to become the weaker sex. On an interview published in her official website Yoshimoto Banana also admit that she does feel discrimination as being a women in today society and even though she doesn’t on purpose try to address this problem, the audience probably can sense this through her books (3). Also, Yoshimoto Banana’s characters are often illustrated to be somewhat passive, the way they react towards the discriminative society is similar to how the majority of Japanese women do. Facing their brutal and inequity “fate”, those women can only weakly protest by hiding in the "kitchen", or running away to secluded places, like the beach or countryside... In an article “Hold the Tofu” on New York Times (4), editor Elizabeth Hanson explains the idea of kitchen in Japanese traditions – "A gentleman does not go near a kitchen.", or “Traditionally a cramped, dingy place
REFLECTION WRITTINGS YOSHIMOTO BANANA AND YAMADA EIMI FEMINIST VOICES IN JAPANESE LITERATURE (CONT.)
-- even in an otherwise well-appointed home” – “it revealed the low status of the women who spent much of their time in it”. However, By using the name “Kitchen” in English instead of “Daidokoro” in Japanese as the title for the novel, Yoshimoto Banana expresses her desire to get out of the old-fashion tradition that make Japanese women suffered for generations. Still, even the most gender discriminative, sexist society has a weakness – the act of sex itself. Sex seems to be the only point men have succumbed to female. So no wonder that whenever a woman needs to protest she could use sex as a weapon to fight against men. The Japanese feminist writers in Japan, though expression of different extent, all want to prove that: - Sex is not the monopoly of men - Not only women are sexual objects - Females have the advantage of winning in sex. But when Yoshimoto Banana uses this weapon in great discretion and carefulness, Yamada Eimi writes about sex in the boldest and wildest way possible. She writes about her characters having sex in the bathroom (Bedtime Eyes, 1985), on the slimy dirty floor (Soul Music Lovers Only, 1987), praising the pleasures of flesh, letting her characters having sex with black American, provoking the whole Japanese society which always considers this as the most gruesome taboo. Many Eimi Yamada's characters are Japanese women pursuing their black lovers as a way to cross the border of sex and race to discover themselves, in a society where they are constantly oppressed and dissatisfied.
Yamada Eimi’s female characters do not respect man as usually seen in Japanese culture. Her female characters always want to "manipulate" men, "dominant” men, being more confident, have more ideas, and do not want to be framed under the ethical discrimination framework of society. Yamada Eimi shows that school is the most effective tool for mind-mapping and indoctrinating children of traditional society. She realizes that this is a stronghold to attack first for any women rights
REFLECTION WRITTINGS YOSHIMOTO BANANA AND YAMADA EIMI FEMINIST VOICES IN JAPANESE LITERATURE (CONT.)
revolution. A lot of Yamada Eimiâ€™s stories (ex. I Cannot Study , 1993 or After-School Keynote, 1989) taken place in school settings, and her characters are often the rebel types who challenge school traditions. Yamada Eimi is no manifesto for women's rights advocate. Indeed, she shows her disagreement towards the general Japanese old-tradition culture and society. However compared with Yoshimoto Banana or other Japanese female writers, she is the only one who dares to speak bluntly and directly provoke the male-supremacy mentality. As a result, Eimi Yamada can be considered as a rare voice of feminism in Japanese society where the kimono does not allow women to step far forward or being aggressive.
REFLECTION WRITTINGS THE CONCEPT OF TIME TRAVELING FROM AN ASIAN FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
Space and Time Travel is not a new subject, we can easily find numerous of films or novels written about such topic in either Western or Eastern media. However, in recent years, time traveling suddenly turns into a popular trend in countries like China and Korea, attracting colossal viewers around Asia. Those novels or films and TV series often have the same plot, about a woman from modern time suddenly travels back into the past, with interesting content, attractive casts and romantic love tales, these stories keep on being a magnet for millions of viewers (especially female) across Asia. In this writing I would like to look at the most popular and successful Chinese novel Bubu Jingxin (Thrill At Every Step), 2006 (1) and its TV series and analyze its sensation from a feminist perspective. Bubu jingxin (Thrill At Every Step), is the debut novel of Chinese writer Tong Hua. Originally published online in 2005, it has later been republished four times in paper book and adapted into 2011’s Chinese most popular TV series (2). The female protagonist, Zhang Xiao, is a white-collar worker in the big city. One day, while quarreling with her boyfriend on the street, Zhang Xiao is hit by a car and her soul travels back to the Qing Dynasty (1636-1911). She begins a new life in the imperial palace, where she has to tread cautiously. Due to her knowledge of Qing history, she knows the fate of each figure she interacts with. Though she starts off falling for the eighth prince, practicality eventually trumps love, and she turns to the fourth prince–the man who would beat out the other princes for the crown, and later become known as Emperor Yongzheng (1678-1735). Following the success of Bubu jingxin the TV series, China continues to make another TV series titled Gong (Palace) (3) told the same love tale between a modern girl and Kangxi’s princely sons, with a happier ending. For me, it is very fascinating to interpret these time-travel soaps from a feminist viewpoint. At the beginning, which set in modern time, the heroine is just an ordinary woman, like any of the female viewers. However after travel back in time, her charisma expands instantly. Due to all kinds of coincidences, the heroine enters the imperial palace. Compared to other women in ancient time, who grew up in a society dominated by “male superior” mentality, the main character obviously stands out with her strong and unique personality. As a result, she attracts all the princes. Even the emperor admires her wisdom (again, thanks to the fact that she comes from modern world). In my opinion, the story and its success tell us two things. First, it proves that modern women has achieved so much compared to the past. Women nowadays are more confident, more powerful. They are able to go to school and receive good education, having conversations with men from an equal position, holding a job and do so much more than staying home and bringing up the children. However, its popularity also demonstrates that women from the presence are dissatisfied with their lives. Like how the female lead feels before she travels back in time, modern women might find their jobs boring, their lives dull, their relationships tedious… Young female enjoy the novel and the TV series because the story brings in an illusion about their place in society. Your everyday existence might be dreary, but in ancient time, you can be a unique princess attracting the wealthiest, most intelligent, and most attractive princes from the royal family. The audience obviously knows that this is just fantasy. But I’m sure that many of them would gladly travel back, if given an opportunity. According to those soaps, modern girls, living in ancient times with a modern mind, could receive not only the love of the charming princes, but also the ability to foresight and even the capability to modify history. With historical knowledge, the female protago-
REFLECTION WRITTINGS THE CONCEPT OF TIME TRAVELING FROM AN ASIAN FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE (CONT.)
-nist predicts important historical events, including the end of the princes’ fight for the royal throne. She is like a prophet who knows the destiny of everyone around her. She seems to be able to alter history through her relationship with the imperial family. These time-travel stories also describe the female leads as ones who carry the big accomplishments of modern thinkers to ancient China. In Bubu jingxin, the heroin keeps indoctrinating princes with ideas of liberty, equality, and monogamy. Thanks to this, those princes determine to get away from their father’s control, and creating their own destiny. In both TV series Palace and Bubu Jingxin, both female main characters get the king’s praise with modern knowledge, and the plots are very amusing. In Bubu Jingxin, the girl builds a new wheelchair for Kangxi, and the emperor gets rid of his sedan chair and like this new vehicle better. In Palace, when asked in royal court about her opinion of Kangxi, the protagonist recites a poem by Mao Zedong that compared ancient Chinese kings. The king seems very impressed. These time traveling stories perfectly satisfy female audience; women lack authority in society – many suffer pressure from family, workplace and relationship. These stories just chase these frustrations away. Every time reading a chapter in the book or watch a TV episode, female viewers can enjoy the feeling of being in control of power. This, in my opinion, explains the popularity of the novel/ TV series.
REFLECTION WRITTINGS THOUGHTS ON VIETNAMESE AND ASIAN FEMINIST LITERATURE
Like how Japanese author Yoshimoto Banana or Vietnamese Y Ban said in their interviews (1) (2), most Asian female writers claim they do not think about gender issues during the creation of their works. When putting pen to paper, they simply write about what interest them. However, as a result of being women, the works of these writers would show more or less the "feminine" aspect of their own. It’s no surprising to see that the stories often refer to women everyday lives, their families, children, their desires to change... They speak for other women in their world, which as well including themselves, and from what they’ve got to say the society can somehow understand their dreams, their secret desires that in real life are not allowed to be revealed, nor easy to be accepted. In the literary history of Vietnam, works that carry ideas of feminism have emerged since the late 19th century, and female poet Ho Xuan Huong (3) is the most significant example. We can say, Ho Xuan Huong, or "the Queen of Nôm poetry" was using her poems to fight for women's rights in the feudal society. However, there weren’t much feminist literature in the old society. It only really flourished during the modern time. When the eyes of the society become more open, plus the trend of integration into the Western world, women writers have been more confident in constructing female characters in their writings. Accordingly, their dreams, their aspirations, even the discreet desires of female instinct have been voiced out strongly. Vietnamese women literature is more or less influenced by feminist literature from China and Japan. These are the two countries in the region with the strongest feminist literature, with a large amount of works and numerous authors have been translated into Vietnamese. It’s easy to understand why feminist literature has flourished so rapidly over Asia in modern time, because this is an area where "male-supremacy mentality" has heavily impacted women in the past (and still existing today). However, if Chinese has a whole categorize for this line of literature called “Ling Lei” and Japanese has long in the past considered female writers from their ancient Heian literature (10th century)(5), Vietnamese feminist literature, even in the present time, is still in the process of looking for its own characteristic. The struggle of feminist literature in Asia can be explained by a society where "male-esupremacy mentality" has been dominant for centuries and refuse to change. A lot of works by female writers has been banned after published by the government of its own country as being too decadent, or sexual. A few examples of this are “Shanghai Baby”, 2001 (4) by Wei Hui (China) or “I am woman”, 2007 (6) by Y Ban (Vietnam). The pressure from the government has created difficulty for female authors who want to fully express themselves in pages. However it’s also true that, although in Vietnam the amount of works written by women writers is numerous, the ones with creditable quality are not much. There are a lot of female writers, especially young writers using feminist issues as a sparkling jewelry to attract readers. Showing too much sexual details, using cheap language that make readers flushed turning pages can bring instant fame to a couple of young female writers, but they are also be forget quickly right after. Feminist literature, if such can be distinguished, is also part of the literature in general. And to be considered a valuable literature work, the writer must satisfy the criteria of literacy art. This means that the works need to bring readers not only subtle sensation of language arts, but also the humanity in the stories being told. The issue of women must be seen and told through the heart, love, torments and talents of women writers, not merely a "strange game" for readers as some young female writers are being perceived. All the "fake" women's rights issues in literature for the
REFLECTION WRITTINGS THOUGHTS ON VIETNAMESE AND ASIAN FEMINIST LITERATURE (CONT.)
purpose of the writer's fame will soon be boycotted by readers. Any female writers who aware of this will see, to be admitted as a feminist writer, is extremely difficult.
PICTURE CREDIT Screenshot from Thelma & Louise (Dir. Ridley Scott; 1991)
READINGS THE SECOND SEX (1953) SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR
18 THE LOVER (1985) MARGUERITE DURAS
IN A DIFFERENT VOICE (1982) CAROL GILLIGAN
Beauvoir, Simone De. The Second Sex. New York: Knopf, 1953. Print. For me, reading Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1953) left me feeling overwhelmed, and even slightly frustrated-not at the text itself, but the lack of time I had to spend on it. I will definitely be re-reading it in the near future. De Beauvoir disassembles feminine “inferiority” with unusual, methodical perception. It seemed as though every other page summoned a flood of ideas and reappraisals in my mind. For instance, her description of the male/female relationship as “The One” and “The Other”, led me to consider the possible societal effect of a theoretical “third sex”. How would the preexisting male/female relationships change; how would they vary as the “dominance” of this third sex changed, etc. Then it occurred to me that one might consider homosexuals “The Third Sex”. This would certainly provide interesting insight on our current observations regarding homosexuality. It seems to me that one could argue women have been empowered by this “Third Sex”, as they, by default, no longer reside in the lowest position. Perhaps this has some effect on the femininity of homosexuals. Duras, Marguerite. The Lover. New York: Pantheon, 1985. Print. Read the novel by writer Marguerite, the reader cannot help but use the word "haunting and shocking" to express their impression. Being haunted by such a vivid, clear and sharp depiction of life through each detailed, describing phrase the writer uses. Being shocked not because of the novel’s numerous “hot” scenes, but its strong impact on audience awareness. The story is more like an autobiography of a French woman on her love at the first sign memories. Fifteen years old, on the ferry across Mekong River, she met a Chinese older man. Didn’t need to talk much, their eyes met, and it seems like they already belong to each other. However, the love between a teenage white girl and her 12-year-older Chinese lover couldn’t have a happy ending. It was because his rich family cannot accept a poor girl like her, and also because her family don’t want her to marry people from the “third world”. For me, it is interesting to see that all the men characters in “The lover” are weak, passive or brutal and generally are losers. Her lover, cannot surpass his family and her family pressures, finally gives up his love and marry the woman his father picks for him. Her brothers, the older one is vicious and evil, humiliating his sister to get money, while the younger one is weak and pitiful. The great thing in Marguerite Duras novel is she doesn’t favor any particular gender, she just tell the story in a sincere way, exactly how she thinks. She doesn’t fear to criticize her mother to have a blind love for her son, to look down on others. I finished the book and turned it over and read the first few pages again. The Lover is not only a novel about a love relationship--it is about a woman, growing up, appearance, colonialism, differences, family, and so on. The experience spreads out beyond the pages of the book. Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1982. Print. In this book Carol Gilligan explains the differences between how men and women think. She outlines how psychological theory has been developed more so by men, and has focused more on how men think. She brings validity to women’s priorities and ways of thinking. In my opinion I found this book interesting and easy to read
READINGS (it’s short!). It shows how different genders and societies process information and interact. The author, however, makes conclusions that men and women’s psychologies are actually biologically different, which is still a controversial argument nowadays. Written in the 80s, this book is great to better understand the feminist movement in the 1970-80s.
WOMEN AS LOVERS (1975) ELFRIEDE JELINEK
Jelinek, Elfriede, and Martin Chalmers. Women as Lovers. London: Serpent's Tail, 1994. Print.
THE GOLDEN MOUNTAIN (2004) IRENE KAI
Kai, Irene. The Golden Mountain: Beyond the American Dream. Ashland, Or.: Silver Light Publications, 2004. Print.
First published in Germany in 1975, this novel by Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek is the story of two women trying to improve their lives through the lives of their men. My reflection to this novel has been put into the writing “On Easten, and Western, Vietnamese Feminist literature” (page 6)
Being written by an Asian American, I really like that The Golden Mountain has both Eastern and Western perspectives on it. I find the way Irene Kai tells story from one person's perspective and then by a relative's perspective makes the story much clearer, more interesting and unbiased. It really makes you see how inaccurate it can be to make assumptions about others. This book emphasizes the value of girls and women in China, and therefore can be very depressing at times. A simply written and carries interesting viewpoint and insight into Chinese social history.
READINGS SEXUAL POLITICS (1970) KATE MILLETT
20 BUBU JINGXIN (2005) TONG HUA
Millett, Kate. Sexual Politics. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970. Print. Is said to be a must read for anyone interested in feminism. Sexual Politics by Kate Millett is an examination of how thoroughly culture and society are dominated by men. The book was published in 1970 and sold 22,000 copies in its first month of publication. Although written twenty years ago, it is still incredibly relevant today. Some of the statistics she cites may be different now, but other than that, things are still the same. I couldn’t finish the last chapters since the book is really long, though it is written in a very interesting way. Millet basically critiques different pieces of literature for their subliminal (and sometimes overt) sexist comments and connotations. The passages she writes about are very graphic and interesting; For example, on page 78 she writes “And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman?”
Tonghua. Bu Bu Jing Xin - Startling by Each Step. Beijing: Min Zu Chu Ban She, 2006. Print. Startling by Each Step, also known as Bubu Jingxin is the debut novel of Chinese writer Tong Hua. Originally published serially online in 2005 on Jinjiang Original Network it was later published by Ocean Press, National Press, Huashan Arts Press and Hunan Literature and Art Publishing House. My reflection to this novel has been put into the writing “The Concept of Time Traveling from an Asian Feminist Perspective” (page 12)
WHEN THE MOON Trinh, T. Minh-Ha. When the Moon Waxes Red: Representation, Gender, and Cultural WAXED RED (1991) Politics. New York: Routledge, 1991. Print. TRINH T. MINH-HA Trinh T. Minh-Ha is my most valuable discovery over this independent study. Even
though I haven’t got a chance to watch her films, reading through some of her essays really captivate me. The book is a collection of her provocative essays on Third World art and culture; she examines Asian and African texts, the theories of Barthes, questions of spectatorships, the enigmas of Art, and the perils of anthopology… Since she talks about so many subjects it is hard to drive those into feminism alone. Because Asian feminist female authors often write narrative stories, these kinds of essays and films are a very different way of approach the subject, I consider this book one of very rare Asian women’s kinds of “political book”.
READINGS WOMAN, NATIVE, OTHER (1989) TRINH T. MINH HA
Trinh, T. Minh-Ha. Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1989. Print. Being a Vietnamese woman (Trinh was born and grew up in Vietnam), as well as American feminist/theorist, her films obviously bring a new perspective of viewing feminism, especially women rights in third world countries. Trinh T. Minh-Ha films are placed between the border of “documentary” and “art”. As the result that the writer always struggled in searching for herself in between Western and Eastern culture, the writings were a bit hard to read. However I am very interested in reading and watching more of her films and essays, as she might be the perfect example for me to look upon. In this book she talks a lot about the quest of searching for a person’s identity, the desire to find the "true native", the "real" and "unspoiled" subject. “A Japanese actually looks more Japanese in American than in Japan, but the 'real' type of Japanism ought to be in Japan" (page 84). It is an interesting way of her attempt to define herself first, in order to find a voice and speak up her feminist perspective. I really love the book!
SHANGHAI BABY (2002) WEI HUI
Wei, Hui, and Bruce Humes. Shanghai Baby. New York: Washington Square, 2002. Print.
A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN (1989) VIRGINIA WOOLF
Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989. Print.
I’ve read this book a while ago when it was translated into Vietnamese and didn’t realize one day I will read it again for my study on Asian feminism. Originally published in China in 1999, the book is about the life of a Shanghai girl named Coco who chose to abandon her previous profession as a journalist to be a cafe waitress. She did it mainly because she wants to have more time to write since she dreams to be a renowned writer in the future. She is in a relationship with an lazy, unemployed, mommy-boy guy named Tiantian, who apparently couldn't have sex with her due to amount of the drugs that he has consumed in all his life. This guy - who receives a healthy sum of money monthly from his mom who lives in Spain - is hopelessly in love with Coco and chose to abandon the fact that Coco is having a purely sexual affair with a German expat named Mark. This creates a hopeless love triangle between these three people and it gets more complicated when Tiantian is trapped under the evil net of drug abuse and Mark's wife and kid come to visit to Shanghai. Mark left China and Tian Tian died in the end was a twisted ending for the novel. Overal it is a very dark and depressing story, with a lot of hot scenes. The novel is very wild and open about sex, but it wasn’t considered sick or break any real taboos in the western world. The fact that it had sparked such huge media interest and controversy, and was banned in its own country China is definitely a sign that the role of women in society is still more traditional in general than in western world.
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” A Room of One's Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on 24 October 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in Octo-
READINGS ber 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled "Women and Fiction", and hence the essay, are considered non-fiction. The essay is generally seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy. (From Amazon.com) My reflection to this novel has been put into the writing “On Easten, and Western, Vietnamese Feminist literature” (page 6)
THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA (2002) XINRAN
BEDTIME EYES (1985) YAMADA EIMI
Xinran, and Esther Tyldesley. The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices. New York: Pantheon, 2002. Print. The Good Women of China is author Xinran Xue’s first book and it is an eye opening look at the role of women in a relatively recent China. The "good women" in China, in Xin Ran stories, are not women that view as "good women" in the Chinese society. I had to do some applause for Xin Ran and those women who had shared their stories. It's wonderful and excruciating. I had never found stories as tragic as their stories: A girl repeatedly sexually abused by her father, recovering in a hospital and in incredible tenderness begins to keep the flies around her bed as pets; or in the aftermath of an earthquake a girl is trapped two stories in the air between two freestanding walls, rescue workers unable to free her, her mother comforting her as she dies… Life is just hard, but, they move on. They keep on living, even if it only in their own dreams. Their imagination that cannot be held back by anyone. Not the government, not the society, not even the people who love them. I had to thanks for them for sharing their lives so personally. So close, that I even felt that I related with them.
Yamada, Eimi, Yumi Gunji, and Marc Jardine. Bedtime Eyes. New York, NY: St. Martin's, 2006. Print. “Originally published in Japan in the mid-1980s (before Trash), the three novellas in this harsh, vivid collection each feature a Japanese woman in a destructive relationship with an African-American man. The title novella presents Kim, a nightclub singer who falls for a navy deserter called Spoon. As Kim and Spoon's coke-fueled sexual idyll spirals into violence, Kim remains desperate to keep him. Another sadomasochistic relationship forms the core of "The Piano Player's Eyes," about a woman named Ruiko who dominates her "new toy," Leroy Jones. When he returns to Japan two years later as a noted jazz pianist, they vie for the upper hand in the relationship, with devastating results. "Jesse," a wrenching story that unfolds more warmly than the previous two, revolves around a turbulent threesome: Rick, an alcoholic; his young girlfriend, Coco; and the title character, his 11-year-old son. Coco first sees Jesse as competition, but as she realizes the father-son bond trumps that between lovers, she struggles to win the boy's approval. In stark, profane prose, Yamada complicates racial stereotypes—the hypersexual black man, the submissive or dragon lady Asian woman—as she illustrates how cultural and racial difference amplify "the extraordinary power of sexual curiosity.”
READINGS Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved My reflection to this novel has been put into the writing “Yoshimoto Banana and Yamada Eimi – Feminist voices in Japanese literature” (page 8)
KITCHEN (1988) BANANA YOSHIMOTO
Yoshimoto, Banana, Megan Backus, and Banana Yoshimoto. Kitchen. New York: Grove, 1993. Print. Banana Yoshimoto is one of my most favorite writers; I love the way she writes, even though she doesn’t become a sensation in the West like Haruki Murakami. She's a minimalist storyteller, who is able to turn the emotional state of the right reader with the flick of just one beautiful perfect phrase. Kitchen a wonderful book containing two tales of loss, love and loss of those loved. The first story lends its name to the title and is the longer of the two. It was a gripping tale dealing with death, love and family. I enjoyed it greatly. The second story Moonlight Shadow was another beautiful tale of loss and personal growth. My reflection to this novel has been put into the writing “Yoshimoto Banana and Yamada Eimi – Feminist voices in Japanese literature” (page 8)
FILMS BEAUTIFUL (아름답다) DIRECTOR: JUN JAI-HONG STORY: KIM KI-DUK (2008)
SCARLET HEART (BUBU JINGXIN) DIRECTOR: LEE GUOLI STORY: TONG HUA (2010)
Beautiful (아름답다). Dir. Jai-Hong Jun. By Ki-Duk Kim. Perf. Cha Soo-Yoen and Lee Chun-Hee. Sponge Entertainment, 2008. DVD. The film is a tragedy about a young woman who finds her beauty to be a curse. The story was written by Kim Ki-Duk, the infamous director of “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter .. and Spring” (2003). In the movie, we don’t know a lot about Eun-yeong, the main character, besides the fact that she is very beautiful. She is so gorgeous that all men want her and all women are jealous of her. She is having a relatively happy life, enjoying being worshiped by others, until she is raped by one of her stalkers, Seong-gmin, who then blames Eun-yeong for the incident, saying, "I did it because you're so beautiful". Traumatized by her attack, Eun-yeong tries to destroy her beauty, first by attempting to become obese, and when that fails by making herself unattractively thin. When her beauty does start to fade, she becomes alarmed and tries to regain it by wearing gaudy make up and revealing clothes, her behaviors increasingly destructive and unstable. A policeman, Eun-cheol, watches her downfall with pity and sympathy, but eventually he too submits to his lustful desires, and raped her. Eun-yeong’s death in the end of the movie was a peak of her suffering. Despite the violence and darkness of the movie, this movie was really well directed; the art direction was also remarkable. I found the concept of woman as the passive object of looking, of desire in the film; especially in the beginning where the character receives the “male gaze” constantly. At first she enjoys those admiration (from men) and jealousy (from women), however once the spectator’s desire turn out to be more than just a “gaze”, Eun-yeong falls into a passive situation, getting suffered from her beauty, to the point that even her death cannot help.. Bubu Jingxin (Scarlet Heart). Dir. Lee Guoli. By Tong Hua. Chinese Ent., 2010. TV Series BBJX is a period drama (Qing Dynasty) with plot that revolves around history (with a dash of fiction), romance, conflict and politics. The story began with a modern girl, in an argument with her lover that she met an accident, plus being electrocuted at the same time. Unknowingly, such fatal combination had her travel across time and ended up in Qing Dynasty, as Ma'er tai Ruoxi. Confused, she has to adapt with the changes and live a life totally different from the present time. With her sister, being the concubine of the 8th Prince (YinSi), Ruoxi was introduced with the princes and eventually have to make it through the palace selection. Ruoxi used to be a vocal, free-minded lady from the future and has no qualms on voicing out what's on her mind. Her attitude has attracted the princes, who some started to like her for her uniqueness. Throughout all events and circumstances, the princes grew up with Ruoxi and would protect her from the harms of the palace, and they all loved her. As romantic as it is, I find it “troublesome" and unrealistic for a girl to be loved by almost everybody. Emperor Kangxi loved her (as a daughter), 8th Prince loved her, and she returned his love, but as fate twist and turned, she find herself in love with 4th Prince. The notorious Crown Prince also requested her hand for marriage, and at the end 14th Prince found out that he loved her too! However, understanding that the character was built as a “dream figure” for modern women, I could understand why the plot was written like that. Despite having much fun watching this TV series I did not have enough time to complete its 35 episodes, though skimming through the films alone gave me inspiration to the writing reflection “The Concept of Time Traveling from an Asian Feminist Perspective” (page. 12)
FILMS PALACE (GONG) DIRECTOR: LEE WAI-CHU STORY: YU ZHENG (2011)
HYSTERIA DIRECTOR: TANYA WEXLER STORY: STEPHEN & J. L. DYER, HOWARD GENSLER (2011)
MONALISA SMILE DIRECTOR: MIKE NEWELL STORY: LAWRENCE KONNER & MARK ROSENTHAL
Gong (Palace: The Locked Heart Jade). Dir. Lee Wai-chu. By Yu Zheng. Hunan TV., 2011. TV Series The story plot of Palace is very similar to that of Scarlet Heart, with more comical and funny acts. Luo Qing Chuan is a modern girl who accidentally got transported back in time to Emperor Kang Xi's era of the Qing Dynasty. She gets entangled into the princes' struggle for the throne and is torn between her love for Yinsi, the 8th prince and Yinzhen, the 4th prince who is the future Emperor Yong Zheng. Both TV series (Scarlet Heart and Palace) were very popular in China and Asia right after being released, especially among young girls - both of them were ranked number 11 in national rating by the time of airing. Beside beautiful cinematography and cast, funny story, in my opinion, these successes were achieved thanks to the charracter construction and time traveling magical story. To me, the film illustrates human’s desire to accomplish impossible things (like traveling through time, or changing history) and also demonstrates modern women’s dreams to be independent, confident, and equivalent to men like the main characters in those TV series did.
Hysteria. Dir. Tanya Wexler. By Stephen Dyer & Jonah Lisa Dyer, Howard Gensler. 2011. Film seen in theater It’s the story about a time when women who didn’t fit into the social norm of how women were supposed to be and behave where diagnosed with what was believed to be a scientific disease (hysteria) that was then “in milder” cases treated with “pelvic massage” until the women reached what we would call an orgasm. The treatment however was considered not to be sexual but an advanced physical stimulation of the nervous system. A true story, shockingly absurd, which the film portrays in very amusing manner, with a very charming young doctor (Hugh Dancy) and his very inspiring and striving female (Maggie Gyllenhaal) acquaintance. I really enjoy watching this movie in the theater, as it gives me some insightful thought about “hysteria”, about the tale of how the vibrator came to be, and as well as the development of feminism in Western culture with Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character one of the pioneer. The movie took place in a time when women were seen as weak, faint, and invalid, and at most times were confined to the home with no relief of these certain "hysteria’s symptoms". I especially really loved Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feminist-acivitist character.
Mona Lisa Smile. Dir. Mike Newell. By Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Columbia Pictures, 2003. DVD The movie was released in December of 2003. The movie is based around the life of Katherine Ann Watson, played by Julia Roberts. The movie takes place in 1953 at Wellesley College which is an all girl’s school. A graduate of Berkeley, Watson longed all of her life to teach at Wellesley. So, when a position opened for an Art History class, she perused it until she was successful. Watson was not at all encouraged to teach an Art History class; in fact she was steered away from it. During the 1950’s
every young girl dreams of getting married, having children, and being a house-wife. Watson dreams to change all of that. Being a single middle-aged woman, she tries to put a spark in her students’ eyes. She believes that they can be and do to accomplish their biggest dreams. Watson’s most outstanding, and outspoken women are played by Kirsten Dunst (Betty Warren), Julia Stiles (Joan Brandwyn), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Giselle Levy), and Ginnifer Goodwin (Connie Baker). Betty believes that there is no other way to go about life except to be a married woman and house-wife. Half way through the semester, Betty gets married. Joan is a pre-law student but plans on getting married after she graduates. Watson helps her apply to law school, which Joan had never even considered. Giselle is a free-spirit and constantly looks for ‘fun’. During the entire duration of the movie woman are displayed as people who are only capable to do one thing: get married. This movie is entirely based on the fight and feminism movement. Although this movie displays women to only be married and to be house-wives, during this time, that is all they were allowed. It is hard to believe that about 60 years ago, women could not even apply themselves in the work place around the nation. To watch this film is a wake up call: we, as women, have come so far. Without women, like the one played by Julia Roberts, America would not be the way it is today. Women would still be expected to stay at home and cook and clean and take care of the children. I would defiantly consider this film a feminist film.
SLEEPING BEAUTY DIRECTOR: JULIA LEIGH STORY: JULIA LEIGH (2011)
Sleeping Beauty. Dir. Julia Leigh. Prod. Jane Campion. Perf. Emily Browning and Rachael Blake. 2011. DVD
THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA DIRECTOR: TRAN ANH HUNG
The female form is objectified and sexualized in Sleeping Beauty, the directorial debut of Australian novelist Julia Leigh. A modern, ostensibly feminist fairy tale, the film tells the story of Lucy (Emily Browning), a young university student struggling to make ends meet. She takes a variety of odd jobs – waitressing, photocopying, even medical guinea pigging, which foreshadows her later work – but still has trouble paying the rent – until she responds to an ad for an elite brand of prostitution. At first merely a scantily clad server at a private black-tie dinner party, Lucy eventually works her way up the corporate ladder to become the titular figure of the film: a drugged, naked girl which old rich men can do anything they want to – except penetration. Needing the money, Lucy sells her body and buries her shame, only briefly questioning her decision near the end; in general, though, this is not a film of character motivations and narrative progression. When I was small, I really enjoyed watching Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, and I didn’t realized one day, while studying about feminism, I will be reading a lot of criticisms of the fairy tale. The sleeping princess in Disney’s version was so passive and fragile; she only can wait for someone to come rescue her while sleeping. I was even more shocked to discover the original ancient tale of Sleeping Beauty, which involve the princess being drugged and raped while sleeping. The Sleeping Beauty version that Julia Leigh constructed in this movie can be considered a modern response to the original story. And even though still a very dark tragedy, the new “princess” is seen to be much more stronger and in-control of herself. This is to me, a very worth watching modern feminist movie. The Scent of Green Papaya (Mui du du xanh). Dir. Tran Anh Hung. By Tran Anh Hung. 1993. DVD This movie is certainly one of the best Vietnamese films, made by a Vietnamese
FILMS STORY: TRAN ANH HUNG (1993)
THE VIRGIN SUICIDES DIRECTOR: SOFIA COPPOLA (1999)
director/writer Tran Anh Hung. I enjoy watching and love everything about the movie: the story, the cinematography, the characters… The narrative is about Mui, a 10 year old girl working as a new servant in a wealthy Saigon’s family during the 1950s. In this family, everything has to depend on the wife, and her husband is only known as a playboy. They have three sons and daughter who passed away a while ago, who would have been Mui’s age. As the result, in her mind the wife treats Mui as her daughter. Mui grew up and got sent to another family, a young pianist who is the first son’s best friend. The musician eventually falls in love with the peasant, he taught her literacy and in the end they married. The film was shot in a slow style (monotone) that is considered Director Tran Anh Hung’s signature, and is very different from Hollywood fast pace approach. The way the camera moving made viewers feel like they are a part of the film, watching character Mui secretly through different stage of her life. The film is entirely about Vietnamese people, society and especially women. Tran Anh Hung, through the film, has painted a picture of Vietnam in the old days from his childhood memory. And despite he is a male director, the way he constructs such beautiful fates of woman in Viet old society makes me believe “The scent of Green Papaya” can be also seen as a feminist film. The story brings us a lot of different angles on Vietnamese women, those are Mui, and her female owners (the wife and her mother-in-law). Mui is a cheerful and happy-go-olucky girl, who never once shows her sadness towards her servant fate, innocently has a crush on a friend of her owner’s family, Khuyen-the pianist- and fortunately has his love in the end. The wife of the family, despite being the “pillar” of the family, is also a passive woman who cannot do anything about her playboy husband. She can only cry when he steals money from the family and running away with mistresses, and be happy when he comes back. Or her mother-in-law, though hasn’t been described in details throughout the movie, is also believed to be a passive female figure. She shuts herself off after the death of her husband, always stay inside the room and pray to Buddha, blaming her son’s wife when he is running away from home. Or the young, rich, fashionable girlfriend of Khuyen, who always seduces him with her body and ends up losing his interest in her … The Virgin Suicides. By Sofia Coppola. Dir. Sofia Coppola. 1999. DVD. This was my first reaction after watching “The Virgin Suicides” by Sofia Coppola. The movie was filmed based on a novel under the same title, telling a sad tragedy of five Libson sisters. In the end of the film, the girls all committed suicides leaving a haunting mystery to the neighbor boys, the story narrators. In my opinion, the story might be a bit too exaggerating, making all the ordinary troubles a girl has to face growing up to be much more severe and horrifying than they actually are. I’m not sure I like the way the narrators are a group of teenage boys. Even in the end those boys claim that they couldn’t understand the girls and that they will spend the rest of their lives trying to put together the unsolvable mystery of the Lisbon sisters. However it is probably the writer intention to let the girl’s problem being seen through the boy’s eyes, showing how men always view women and women problems as troublesome and unable to understand. I can’t deny that I was drawn to the stunning cinematographic that is very “Sofia Coppola”. In opposite to the dark, sad and haunting plot, these dreamy and picturesque scenes are believed to be the way a girl view her life. The deaths of the girls in the end of the movie shocked and disturbed me, of course not in a bad, but lingering and saddening way. My most memorable scene is when the smallest sister, Cecilia came to see her psychologist. The doctor was very surprised to hear that she is depressed, he asked “What are you doing here, honey?
FILMS You're not even old enough to know how bad life gets.” . Cecilia replied, with a blank expression on her face “Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl.”
THELMA & LOUISE DIRECTOR: RIDLEY SCOTT STORY: CALLIE KHOURI (1991)
Thelma & Louise. Dir. Ridley Scott. Prod. Ridley Scott. By Callie Khouri. Perf. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 1991. Thelma & Louise is no wonder a classic movie about the topic of feminism. Two main characters, Thelma and Louise are illustrated to be totally opposite, however they are as well best friends. Thelma is a housewife who often stays at home all day; whilst Louise is a waitress at a busy restaurant. This background has built very different personalities t two women. Thelma is naïve, weak and somewhat foolish, she got married really early (right after high school) to a brutal husband and never thought of doing anything to change the situation, until she agrees to go on the trip with Louise. On the other hand, Louise hasn’t married yet, she is in a relationship with a rocker who is on tour most of the time. Feeling neglected and not sure about her boyfriend’s feeling, she decides to go on a trip for a few days with Thelma. In the movie, Louise appears to be an independent woman with simple clothing and hair, she even smokes in public; In the opposite, Thelma likes to dress up with layer dresses and accessories, she brought two suitcases with her on the “expected” 3 day trip. Thelma couldn’t seem to make decision on her own but always has to ask for other’s permission and opinion. She is, in my opinion, the reason for the tragedy to happen. If she had knew how to keep a distance with the man they met at the pub, the rape wouldn’t have happened and Louise wouldn’t have killed the guy. However as the film goes on, the characters have developed and changed. Especially Thelma, she becomes a total different person. In the end of the film, Thelma is not only an alcoholic, a robber, but also a much happier person who is in control of herself. The two character’s personalities are perfectly fit to each other, however instead of a man x woman love, the film has created a woman x woman friendship to show the united attempt of modern women on the way of searching for their feminist rights. The death of two women in the end depicts the difficult, almost impossible journey they have to face on the way to accomplish their mission. However, as the director explains in the behind the scene part on the DVD, instead of showing the car falling off from the cliff, he left the film ended with the car jumping up, hanging and flying in the sky. This scene is an metaphor of an optimistic future. Vertical Ray of The Sun (Mua he chieu thang dung). Dir. Tran Anh Hung. By Tran Anh Hung. 2000. DVD The third movie from Tran Anh Hung’s “Vietnam triology” has left a deep impression on me. I was really impressed by not only the detailed and stunning cinematographic or the careful selection of music, but above all, Tran Anh Hung’s fascinating view on the ordinary lives of Vietnamese people in general and Vietnamese women in particular. The story surrounds the lives of three sisters Suong, Khanh and Lien. These three characters represents three generations of women in the director’s eyes. Suong, the oldest sister, is married to a photographer with one son. Not being satisfied with her boring husband going on business trip all the time she secretly has an affair with another man. Later she found out her husband also cheats on her and even has a son with his mistress. After he confesses everything to Suong, she decides that they should act as nothing happened, stop their affairs and continue to live their lives. Suong, in my opinion, represents the women from old generation who consider her
FILMS self esteem more important than anything else. She’d rather save her face and lives an unhappy life than break her family up and tries to figure out what she wants. She might as well no longer be in love with her husband, but she doesn’t dare to change anything about her life. Khanh, the second sister, is luckier to have a husband, a writer, to be very much in love with her. However while Khanh is pregnant and her husband goes on a trip to collect information for his upcoming novel, she doubts and is worried that he might be unfaithful to her. The truth is he did meet a woman at the hotel, and is very attracted to her, he even went to her hotel room. However after all he didn’t technically cheat on his wife, though he would have done it if given a chance. Khanh finds out the truth by coincidence but decides to keep silence. Khanh stands for a newer women generation compared to Suong, Khanh considers herself equal and has power over men (she can talk to her husband about sex openly…). However she still doesn’t dare to stand up for herself when she needs to. She never mentions about her worries to her husband before he left on his trip, she doesn’t say anything when she found the piece of paper with a women hotel room number in her husband jacket’s pocket. Lien, the youngest sister, represents the modern Viet women. She is a happy, free spirit girl. She is also naïve and like to daydream. But she is also very confident and brave. She is at the age of getting married, but she has a hard time searching for the right person. She lacks basic knowledge of sex education and thought that only kissing and hugging can make a woman pregnant. She lives with her older brother and always dreams to marry someone like him. I’d rather believe Lien actually idolize her brother because she lost her father when she was small, than to think that she has a brother-sister complex. The way Lien approaches life is totally different to her sisters. When her boyfriend doesn’t want to see her, she goes searching for him and wants to talk to him in person. She wishes to be in control of her life, finding the right person to be her husband, the father of her children. She also often imagines herself pregnant, which represent her dream to be a mother, the most ordinary desire being a woman. Watching the film I have come up with all kind of thoughts and comparisons towards the three sisters. Which one has the happiest life? Obviously living a fake and unfaithful life like Suong is not happy. However being passive like Khanh is also bad. And Lien, having to figure things out on your own is hard too. I guess this is also the message Tran Anh Hung wants to deliver through the movie. Being a woman is never simple, no matter which generation you’re from.
VERTIGO DIRECTOR: AFRED HITCHCOCK (1958)
Vertigo. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Paramount, 1958. DVD. Afred Hitchcock is the master of obsession films; this is an undeniable truth. The more I watch his movies the more I realize the images of women depicted in his works are not very realistic nor ideal, They are illustrated to be very submissive, somewhat foolish, either living like a shadow or being victims controlled by men. I believe those characters were built like that on purpose, to illustrate women tragedy fates through Hithcock’s eyes. The women appear on his works are often blond, with cold, blank expressions on their faces, dressing in fancy and fashionable clothing. They are often victims of blind loves and are controlled by men, and usually end up in tragedy fates sooner or later in the films. In Vertigo, the main character Scottie, is a former detective, who has nothing to be proud about. He is weak, is afraid of height, easily gives up his job when he feels like it. Such a “loser”, is loved by two women: Midge, a fashion designer, very talented artist, who is said to previously engaged to Scottie but called off the wedding. She has a one side love for him and they remain
good friends but no matter how she tries and sacrifices for him he would never love her back. She acts like a mother of the man character, hopelessly loves and protects him but ends up getting hurt. Scottie while doing his duty of following Medelein - a married woman who said to be haunted by a ghost and attempt committing suicides several times before - is eventually feels for her beauty and mystery. He of course doesn’t know the woman he loves is just a disguise hired by real Medelein’s husband. The husband killed the real Medelein and use Scottie as his evidence. Scottie suffers from the death of his lover, the one who has never existed, by chance bumped into a woman that look identical to her, named Judy. Judy is actually the Medelein Scottie loved, but he didn’t recognize her. Judy loves Scottie, and when he insists her to dress and act like the decreased Medelein, Judy agrees. In my opinion, this act of being submissive is the peak of women weakness. She keeps making wrong decisions and naively thought that he would really love her again after doing everything he asks for. In the end she dies. Both the real and the fake Medelein, and as well Midge are the examples of women who doesn’t know how to stand up for herself. Medelein’s husband who doesn’t love her killed her. Her grandmother, the figure in the painting, had a tragedy fate of a loveless marriage as well long before. Midge loves someone in vain, as thus she is unfortunate. And Judy is the saddest; she was loved when she wasn’t herself, and lost the love when she tries too hard (in the wrong way) to grab love from being submissive and having no self-control.
PICTURE CREDIT Screenshot from The Mona Lisa Smile (Dir. Mike Newell; 2003)
PICTURE CREDIT Screenshot from Vertical Ray of The Sun (Mua he Chieu Thang Dung) (Dir. Tran Anh Hung; 2000)
VIDEO INSTALLATIONS INSTALLATION N0. 01 MOTHER EARTH
MOTHER EARTH is an interactive sculpture and video installation project in Summer 2012, made as part of the final delivery to my independent study on Feminism. The main object in the installation is the sculpture of two female’s hands, being in the position of reaching out for help. The sculpture was made from clay, which is the material distracted from earth. The term “mother earth” deriving from the belief that Earth is the mother of the nature, the one who created the world, is the inspiration for me to set up this installation. In my opinion, “Mother Earth” has a lot of things in common with women, both being a mother and a creator; Being powerful as they are, none can achieve their goals alone without the help of others. By adding light sensors and distance sensors into the sculpture and using a projector to display video on the wall, I want to let the audience interact with the work and see the result in front of their eyes. Every time somebody touches the clay hands (the act of giving out a helping hand) they will switch the video of the earth rotating calmly into a video showing the story of how the planet was created starting with the Big bang.
View the installation video at http://linhdo.info/installation01.mov
Sculpture and installation: Linh Do Background Music: Soundtrack Pro Video: EARTH: Making Of A Planet. National Geographic, 2012. DVD.
VIDEO INSTALLATIONS INSTALLATION NO.02 SLEEPING WOMAN
Inspired by Andy Warholâ€™s film Empire (1964) and the concept of the male gaze, I have come up with the idea of shooting myself sleeping in the quiet room and let the footage loops infinitively in the installation. The film is being played in a dark, small, quiet and private room that will make viewer imagine they are entering a personal space. After entering the room, the viewer then see a woman sleeping. They can either quietly looking at her and walk out of the room without her notice, or come closer and wake her up. Similar to the previous installation, I add light and distance sensors to where the video is being projected, so that whenever a person comes closer and interact with the girl, she would open her eyes. This installation depicts the perception that woman is an object of looking (male gaze), however through the way viewer interact with the videos, I also want to deliver the massage that women could be in charge of herself, even during her most passive situation (being asleep). The girl in the video was able to wake up when she senses that something is coming closer to her.
View the installation video at http://linhdo.info/installation02.mov
Video and installation: Linh Do Background Music: Soundtrack Pro
PICTURE CREDIT Screenshot from Vertigo (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock; 1958)
REFERENCES & CITATIONS
REFERENCES & CITATIONS ON EASTERN AND WESTERN, VIETNAMESE FEMINIST LITERATURE
YOSHIMOTO BANANA AND YAMADA EIMI FEMINIST VOICES IN JAPANESE LITERATURE
REFERENCES & CITATIONS THE CONCEPT OF TIME TRAVELING FROM AN ASIAN FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE THOUGHTS ON VIETNAMESE AND ASIAN FEMINIST LITERATURE (CONT.)
REFERENCES & CITATIONS READINGS LIST
(1) Beauvoir, Simone De. The Second Sex. New York: Knopf, 1953. Print. (2) Duras, Marguerite. The Lover. New York: Pantheon, 1985. Print. (3) Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1982. Print. (4) Jelinek, Elfriede, and Martin Chalmers. Women as Lovers. London: Serpent's Tail, 1994. Print. (5) Kai, Irene. The Golden Mountain: Beyond the American Dream. Ashland, Or.: Silver Light Publications, 2004. Print. (6) Millett, Kate. Sexual Politics. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970. Print. (7) Tonghua. Bu Bu Jing Xin - Startling by Each Step. Beijing: Min Zu Chu Ban She, 2006. Print. (8) Trinh, T. Minh-Ha. When the Moon Waxes Red: Representation, Gender, and Cultural Politics. New York: Routledge, 1991. Print. (9) Trinh, T. Minh-Ha. Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1989. Print. (10) Wei, Hui, and Bruce Humes. Shanghai Baby. New York: Washington Square, 2002. Print. (11) Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989. Print. (12) Xinran, and Esther Tyldesley. The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices. New York: Pantheon, 2002. Print. (13) Yamada, Eimi, Yumi Gunji, and Marc Jardine. Bedtime Eyes. New York, NY: St. Martin's, 2006. Print. (14) Yoshimoto, Banana, Megan Backus, and Banana Yoshimoto. Kitchen. New York: Grove, 1993. Print.
REFERENCES & CITATIONS FILMS LIST
(1) Beautiful (아름답다). Dir. Jai-Hong Jun. By Ki-Duk Kim. Perf. Cha Soo-Yoen and Lee Chun-Hee. Sponge Entertainment, 2008. DVD. (2) Bubu Jingxin (Scarlet Heart). Dir. Lee Guoli. By Tong Hua. Chinese Ent., 2010. TV Series (3) Gong (Palace: The Locked Heart Jade). Dir. Lee Wai-chu. By Yu Zheng. Hunan TV., 2011. TV Series (4) Hysteria. Dir. Tanya Wexler. By Stephen Dyer & Jonah Lisa Dyer, Howard Gensler. 2011. Film seen in theater (5) Mona Lisa Smile. Dir. Mike Newell. By Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Columbia Pictures, 2003. DVD (6) Sleeping Beauty. Dir. Julia Leigh. Prod. Jane Campion. Perf. Emily Browning and Rachael Blake. 2011. DVD (7) The Scent of Green Papaya (Mui du du xanh). Dir. Tran Anh Hung. By Tran Anh Hung. 1993. DVD (8) The Virgin Suicides. By Sofia Coppola. Dir. Sofia Coppola. 1999. DVD. (9) Thelma & Louise. Dir. Ridley Scott. Prod. Ridley Scott. By Callie Khouri. Perf. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 1991. (10) Vertical Ray of The Sun (Mua he chieu thang dung). Dir. Tran Anh Hung. By Tran Anh Hung. 2000. DVD (11) Vertigo. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Paramount, 1958. DVD.