The Empress November Edition

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FOREWORD Have you ever just been taken by a moment? One minute you are daunted by that orgo midterm and the anatomy test in two days and then all of a sudden it’s like your soul has been shaken, like the world sped up and you’re in slow-mo. You can feel your sneaker sail in midair as it approaches the wet pavement. You can feel the cool wind ripple past your ears. The sun is warm and gentle on your back, like a blanket about to fall off. Have you ever just seen an autumn morning at Queen’s? They are a bit mystic in their setting. In the crowd of stressed students are these ancient trees that are crooked and daunting but their branches are warm and inviting, like a parent’s hug. Their leaves slowly dance by, showering upon you in red and orange and a dazzling marmalade. Even the buildings seem ablaze with fiery vines wrapping around them. Then there is the slow mist that starts to rise and the aura of mystery that lingers. You no longer can see your future but you’re no longer scared of looking. With the chill of winter and the warmth of spring, you are strong and able. All of these things go through you as your foot hits the ground. You stop and breathe in the cool air, closing your eyes and taking the backpack of stress off of your shoulders. This is fall at Queen’s. GENEVIEVE JOSEPH-MOFFORD, freelance writer

About Us "The Empress" is a mini magazine published once a month. We aim to be the everyday Queens student's magazine, covering topics that are relevant to the most important group of people - you! Our email is theempressmagazine@outlook. com. If you have any ideas for cool articles, any thoughts, anything you want to tell us, or you're just feeling lonely, please contact us (We're not that lonely, we swear). Our office is in room A609 in the ARC and we are there Monday nights at around 9 pm so if you are in the area, you can swing by to say hello. The Empress also has a Chinese language edition, whose goal is to make international students feel at home. If you would like to join, contact the Chinese Language EIC Randy Chen at 12nc1@queensu.ca.

Empress Contributors Volume 22 November Edition Executive Director: Brian Fu Editor-in-Chief: Lucy X. Chen Graphic Design and Layout: Ivan Lin, Lucy X. Chen, Brian Fu Writers Genevieve Joseph-Mofford Ray Wen Lucy X. Chen Daniel L. Kwok Yuki Liang Note: the views expressed by the article authors in this issue may not necessarily reflect those of the editorial board of The Empress.


NOVEMBER 2014 VOLUME 2.2

10 FEATURE Queen's Alumni Dr. Mary Chapman Queen's B.A. 1983, M.A. 1984 on a pioneering Canadian author

CULTURE 4 # HeForShe A Misguided Movement 13 Special Interview 6 Questions with Dr. Mary Chapman CAMPUS LIVING 7 The Truth About College Dating All's fair in love and war Above three photos were supplied by Dr. Mary Chapman. Credits to Martin Dee for the center portrait.


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H eA MfIoS GrU ISD EhD e M OV E M E N T ?

DANIEL L. KWOK Everyone is most likely now familiar with the feminist movement “HeForShe” that surged into the mainstream press after notable actress Emma Watson made what some called a “game-changing speech on feminism” in the UN assembly in late September. The campaign website describes itself as “a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity”, and is already collecting hundreds of thousands of internet followers, with many celebrities and politicians joining the cause. With widespread support, an optimistic message, and the very woman who played Hermione acting as the public figurehead for the cause, it seems that this movement has great potential for changing society. However there are many flaws with the current form of #HeForShe. The speech itself certainly is a well-written piece of prose and Emma Watson’s gifted portrayal of feminism outwardly looks beautiful and inviting, but after watching

the speech, I’m nevertheless left with an uncomfortable feeling that the feminist movement continues to stumble into the same roadblocks that has plagued modern feminism for decades. Despite how key points in her speech are demonstrably untrue – such as her claim that women are not paid the same as men, even though a myriad of factors such as child care, vast differences in hours worked per week, and willingness to do dangerous jobs play into that figure – I am not going to touch on that issue today. Nor am I going to talk about the abuse of her fame to unfairly draw issues into the spotlight that are only there because she happened to star in a popular series of movies. Nor will I remonstrate the many inequalities that men suffer which nobody cares about because nobody tells them to care about it. All those issues fall deep into the wayside when you consider the simple fact that the campaign is trying to promote female strength and willpower by asking men to help women. That is the simple truth that strikes a


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Emma Watson at the UN assembly late September.

"UN Women's HeForShe Campaign Special Event" by UN Women. Lincensed CC 2.0 BY NC DD

profound blow to the heart of HeForShe and cripples it against the very people it is trying to bring into the cause of supposed gender equality. Emma Watson makes attempts to bring men into the conversation, stating that feminism is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities”. That is the definition of gender equality, and definitely not that of feminism. Throughout the course of Emma Watson’s speech, it becomes clear that she is not the least bit interested in promoting men’s issues along with women’s issues despite dropping little anecdotes here and there that men face a few challenges as well. Rather, it’s about how men need to “take up this mantle” and make a stand towards the promotion of female rights. Look no further for proof of her goal than the name of the movement: HeForShe. How is it possible for a speech to so passionately espouse gender equality while at the same time making it clear that the focus is utterly on perceived inequalities of women? If Emma Watson wants a promotion of

female rights while neglecting male rights, then she is free to do so. There is no shame in an organization for a single purpose. However, it is deliberately misleading to misguide people into supporting a supposed movement for gender equality when that is not the intended course of action. Either call your movement feminism or call it gender equality, do not try and call it both in an effort to rally more support. What is most ironically confusing about her speech is perhaps the heavy overtone of female victimization. “If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive.”, or “If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.”, and how a woman cannot “make decisions about her own body”. This type of acceptance of female victimization, of how women seemingly just lay helpless and take whatever is given to them does nothing to help the issue of female equality. How can you expect women to be selfreliant if feminism is fine with them living


4 THE EMPRESS MAGAZINE • NOV as perpetual victims instead of encouraging women to become strong individuals? This systematic pattern of assigning women as helpless individuals who demand the help of men for their own issues extends even to their portrayal of men. According to Emma Watson’s speech, women are oppressed due to the collective action of society, yet men are “made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success”. Men are “aggressive”, the y “c o ntro l” w o me n, and they need “permission to be vulnerable”. It is s t r a n g e t h a t t h e y h a ve stereotyped men as always being "aggressive", and completely ignore the notion of aggressive women or vulnerable men. The common slant in society is that males are the perpetrators of domestic violence against women, but the reverse is unheard of. In a recent study, in 71 percent of nonreciprocal partner violence cases the Who needs feminism? instigator was found to be "Who needs feminism" by Laura Forest. Lincensed CC 2.0 BY NC a woman. The Department of Psychology at California State University compiled a bibliography examining physical violence with a sample size of over 371,600 individuals and came to the conclusion that women “are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.” This traditional, closed-minded thinking that women have some kind of moral superiority over men in cases pertinent to gender equality is strongly suggested in Emma Watson’s speech, and only serves to further the division between the two genders that the movement is ostensibly trying to close. Gender equality is an issue which I strongly support and fervently wish that many others do as well. However, the movement is flawed in conception and in execution, and it would not be surprising if this movement created far more problems for gender equality than it tries to solve. So no, I will not be supporting and signing up for the feminist HeForShe campaign. And nobody else who truly believes in gender equality, of promoting women as strong and self-sufficient, should support the movement either.


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The Truth about University Dating Culture FAYE WU, staff writer

A few days ago while I was walking home from class, I passed a house with two girls sitting on the porch. One girl lamented about how a guy whom she has been hooking up with had been acting distant and was not returning any of her calls, while the other comforted her. Hearing them talk reminded me of remarks my single friends make regularly, such as “Where have all the good guys gone?”, “All guys want is sex” and “I hate university dating”. While these might seem like ephemeral comments made after a difficult and frustrating day, they are actually symptoms of a much larger problem on campus; the demise of college dating. There is no doubt that we are surrounded by a society where hook up culture is openly embraced; we are constantly bombarded by the media with provocative images and ideas that convince us that sex is the root of happiness. Sadly, it influences us more than we would like to think and when we step on campus, there is immediate pressure to find someone else to partner up with because everyone else is doing it. However, this is a dangerous mentality because when combined with our narcissism, selfie-taking, emoji-obsessed generation a lot can be lost in translation. The Love Game Regardless of who you are, you have probably played or know someone who has played the ubiquitous “whoever cares less, wins” game, where whoever appears to care less in the beginning of the relationship has the upper hand. While this is a way of preventing yourself from getting hurt or seeming over-emotionally invested, this mentality can hinder the start of genuine and potentially great relationships because even if your partner wants a commitment, he/she will not make it obvious because of a fear of coming off as needy. In the end, either they will leave you out of frustration or you will play an endless guessing game filled with hidden messages. For example, consider my friend Megan who recently met this guy named Josh. In the early days of their courtship, they would text back frequently from midday until early


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Don't we all wish love could be this simple? "Young romance." by rpb1001. Lincensed CC 2.0 BY NC ND


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hours of the morning and go out almost every day. However, when school started and Josh’s work load increased, Megan was constantly frightened that when Josh did not reply her text immediately, he was seeing someone else. She was also insecure about the fact that when he did reply her but did not use a smiley face, that he was mad at her or upset. These insecurities festered and because Megan was offended Josh did not read her thoughts, they broke up. While I’m not proposing that you go out and tell your potential significant other that you would like a relationship, we definitely need more “live”” communication (as opposed to implied messages and playing the “whoever cares less, wins” game) because, the irony is that no one really likes playing the “whoever cares less game” and at the end of the day, no one really wins because we all want someone genuine who is there for us.


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BEHIND AND BEYOND SIU SIN FAR Discovering Edith EATON: A TURN OF THE CENTURY Canadian writer on race, culture and identity Queen’s Alumna Dr. Mary Chapman (Queen's B.A. 1983, M.A. 1984) unearths previously unseen works of Edith Eaton LUCY X. CHEN and RAY WEN, WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO DR. MARY CHAPMAN Who is “Sui Sin Far”? GONE ARE THE DAYS when ‘fresh off the boat’ derived its literal meaning. Hundreds of thousands of southern Chinese workers were packed on steamboats, tracing their families’ and friends’ footsteps to the Gold Mountain. Political correctness did not exist when local people realized the Chinese were willing to take jobs at lower wages than they did. Chinese were not the “model minorities” then; they were thieves, gamblers, job-stealers, rat-eaters. It was then when Edith Maude Eaton decided to adopt her pen name “Sui Sin Far”, narcissus flower in Cantonese. Narcissus flower is considered the flower with the most attractive fragrance in Cantonese culture. Adopting this pen name, Eaton seemed to be willing to spread

her interest in Chinese culture. What is so intriguing about Eaton/Far, though, is that she wasn’t completely Chinese. Her father was an English merchant, and her mother was a Chinese woman adopted by English missionaries at a young age (her nickname, predictably, was “Lotus Blossom”). Eaton was born in England in 1865, before her family eventually moved to Montreal. Growing up, she took the stigma of being half-Chinese as a form of martyrdom. She “[gloried] in the idea of dying at the stake and a great genie arising from the flames and declaring to those who have scorned us: ‘Behold, how great and glorious and noble are the Chinese people!’”. In the 1890s, Eaton worked for the Montreal newspapers and did most of the local Chinese reporting. She took great interest in the state of North American Chinese communities and spoke up in their


CULTURE 9 defense in the face of public contempt. By 1909 she was studying Chinese and using her limited language skills to interview Chinatown residents. A brief episode from Eaton’s memoir amply illustrates the social context of her writings: “Someone makes a remark about the cars full of Chinamen that past that morning. A transcontinental railway runs thru the town.” It is interesting to note that amidst the general fear of the “Yellow Peril”, the Japanese was more favourably regarded than the Chinese. Kimonos, folding screens and woodblock prints were all the rage, and heavily coloured popular romances like “Madame Butterfly” and “The Mikado” did reflect, to some extent, this cultural attitude. Eaton’s younger sister Winnifred assumed the name “Onoto Watanna” and wrote sentimental, exoticized stories that fueled Western fantasies about Japan, but Eaton made a different commitment. Drawing on her journalistic experience, she began publishing short stories depicting North American Chinese characters to an Anglophone audience in a realistic and sympathetic light. Friends joked with her. They told her she should also capitalize on her exoticness in order to achieve literary success: “I should dress in Chinese costume, carry a fan in my hand, wear a pair of scarlet beaded slippers, live in New York, and come of high birth. Instead of making myself familiar with the Chinese Americans around me, I should discourse on my spirit a c qu a i n t a n c e w i t h C h i n e s e ancestors”. This she refused to do. These short stories eventually became published in a collection titled Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912), the only book under her name. At the time of its publication, one review in The Journal of Education called it “a revelation”, while another abounded in exoticizing compliments, commenting that “Miss Eaton is gifted with a fine sense of

humor that is as dainty and delicate as the grotesqueries of a Chinese fan.” Since then, Sui Sin Far sunk into obscurity. Starting in the 1970s, Eaton’s writings enjoyed a renewed interest. Although her Chinese-related writings was what first caught the attention of Asian-American writers when they dug out her short stories and essays, there is much more than meets the eye. Critics have since recognized the complex, cosmopolitan aspects of Eaton’s work beyond the Chinatown theme. Dr. Mary Chapman, Queen’s alumni (BA. ‘83) and assistant professor at UBC has been uncovering more about Eaton and the results are surprising. For one thing, the distinctly “oriental” pseudonym “Sui Sin Far” is innocently deceptive. Eaton was a Eurasian woman who grew up in Canada and travelled extensively throughout her life, who wrote in her memoir that “I have no nationality and am not anxious to claim any” (whether the latter part of the statement is true we don’t know). In fact, North American Chinatowns was not Eaton’s primary theme. She wrote in many genres and for much more diverse audiences than had been acknowledged, publishing in over 50 Canadian, US and Jamaican periodicals, newspapers and magazines. Eaton was also much more prolific than formerly believed, says Dr. Chapman, whose extensive archival research has revealed that Eaton published at least two hundred and twenty texts, which quadrupled the number of Eaton’s writings currently available to the public. Dr. Chapman further dispels the myth that Eaton was an anti-feminist. Although Eaton has been criticized by some contemporary scholars for not being too enthusiastic about the US Suffragist m o ve m e n t , r e s e a r c h s h o w s t h a t s h e was quite well-acquainted with Chinese progressives of her time, and was very much inspired by the Chinese suffrage discourse, which advocated banning footbinding, educating women and giving them job options. Being an independent woman from an impoverished background


10 THE EMPRESS MAGAZINE • NOV who supported herself through her writing, Eaton firmly believed in self-sufficiency. Ironically, when Eaton died, her sister Winnifred wrote her obituary in New York Times, informing the public that she was the daughter of “a Japanese noblewoman adopted by Sir Hugh Matheson as a child and educated in England.” Eaton had an internationalist worldview that surpassed the boundaries of nations and cultures (to put things into perspective, only after 30 years after Eaton’s death did the Chinese get their “Head Tax” abolished). Yet even now in 2014, people from different backgrounds have a hard time understanding one another. Being a writer bearing multiple identities, Eaton endeavoured to bridge this gap—but still, we are yet to find a solution.

Mrs. Spring Fragrance Eaton’s writing is not characterized by great artistic deliberations or skilled dramatic pacing, yet her simple prose is compelling in its truthfulness. Between the lines of Mrs Spring Fragrance we see an intelligent, sensitive woman deeply passionate about her subject matter, and glimpse into a fascinating world of intercultural tensions. “The Story of One White Woman Who Married a Chinese”, for example, is the fictional memoir of Minnie Carson, a single mother betrayed and deserted by her emotionally abusive ex-husband, who finds shelter in the household of a Chinese merchant, Liu Kanghi. While working for him as an embroiderer to support herself, she muses: “I began to feel that life was worth living, after all. I watched with complacency my child grow among the little Chinese children. My life’s experience had taught me that virtues do not all belong to the whites. I was interested in all that concerned the Liu household, became acquainted with all their friends and lost altogether the prejudice against the foreigners in which I had been reared.” Minnie falls in love and marries Kanghi. However, Eaton is not too quick to paint a rosy picture of cultural tolerance. Minnie remarks after her marriage that“men cast upon me the glances they cast upon sporting women [prostitutes],” and Kanghi is eventually shot in the head. The hate The first edition of Miss Spring Fragrance crime, surprisingly, is committed by the (Photo credits go to Dr. Mary Chapman.) Chinese. It’s a tale of individual moral awakening against the general social climate. Eaton’s Chinatown stories perfectly capture this tension, which in her time seemed irreconcilable. As an outsider to both cultures, she portrays neither as morally superior to the other, and warns against the dangers of ignorance and intolerance.


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Six Questions with Mary Chapman LXC: When and how did you first discover Far/ Eaton? You graduated from Queen's in the 80s during the time of Eaton’s "revival" in AsianAmerican literature, so is there a connection there? CHAPMAN: I first encountered Sui Sin Far when I was in grad school at Cornell in the late 1980s; her Mrs. Spring Fragrance reprinting didn't come out until 1995 but I must have heard of the book from other Americanist students. At Queen's (19791984), I can't recall studying any non-white writers; the curriculum was pretty British and pretty historical. LXC: What is it about her that intrigued you and led to your research on her? CHAPMAN: Since I frequently teach US Lit surveys, I am always trying to give students a sense of the diversity of US authors; Eaton's stories were short, accessible, and seemed to draw on the same sentimental/ activist tradition of 19th-century US women writers so she was an easy author to incorporate. I didn't begin to do research on her per se until I was researching Making Noise, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (Oxford UP 2014). Sean McCann had published an article claiming that Sui Sin Far was "anti-progressive"

and I wasn't convinced that was true, i.e. one can be critical of white middle/upperclass US suffragists and still be a feminist and progressive. So I dug deeper and discovered that she was incredibly wellconnected with Chinese progressives; She wrote an article profiling Liang Qi Chao (leader of the Chinese Reform Party) and his wife in October 1903 when Liang lectured in California where she lived; she later met Sun Yat-Sen in Montreal. more research led me to learn more about the ways in which turn-of-the-century feminists in China defined feminism and to recognize that their feminism differed from the feminism of the US suffrage movement which was, for the most part, quite racist, classist and exclusive. I remember googling her name and pseudonym late one night and a story by her that I had never heard of appeared. The Alaska Widow takes up the cultural dynamic produced by the Alaska gold rush and the Spanish-American War, and it features a child born to a Native American mother abandoned by a Caucasian adventurer father who later dies in the Philippines. Because it is so different, it made me wonder: How many other unknown stories by Eaton exist, and how might they challenge scholars’ understanding of Eaton?


12 THE EMPRESS MAGAZINE • NOV LXC: There have been previous biographies on Eaton. One by Donomika Ferens on the sisters, one by Annette White-Parks and then another by Diana Birchall, which focused more on her sister, Winnefred. What do you hope to bring to your new book that the other ones haven't? CHAPMAN: White-Parks' and Ferens' biographies were monumental, and so was Birchall’s; I won't overturn their work. I am simply adding to the continuing efforts to comprehend Eaton as an author. I think of Eaton as a transnational author—born in England, raised in Canada, with work experience in Jamaica and the U.S., and cultural connections to China. For me, Eaton has significance as an early Chinese-North American voice, but she's also significant as an early Canadian woman journalist, and as an early transnational voice. LXC: How did you go about doing your research? CHAPMAN: Eaton’s letters, autobiographical publications, and the acknowledgments page of Mrs. Spring Fragrance, as well as reviews of and editorials about her work, provide clues about magazines and newspapers in which she published. Preparing spreadsheets for over fifty such publications, along with a timeline of Eaton’s biographical and bibliographical information, has helped me to develop hypotheses about where she might be publishing and when. Over the past six years, I have borrowed every circulating issue of these 50-plus magazines and several newspapers, or I have hired graduate students based near relevant libraries to do research on site. Searching the daily newspapers in which she is known to have published has been more daunting, since most relevant titles haven’t yet been digitized. I am still waiting for newspapers such as the Montreal Daily Star, the Chicago Evening Post, the Seattle PostIntelligencer, the New York Evening Post, and the Boston Globe to become fully searchable. LXC: Do you sometimes feel pressured to accurately represent Eaton's unique cultural heritage? CHAPMAN: I think the important thing for me to remember about Eaton as I write about her is that she doesn't represent the Chinese-American or Chinese-Canadian viewpoint; she can only represent her own unique perspective, shaped, as it is, by her upbringing, her background and parentage, and her experience. Early in her career, she hesitates to say "we" when referring to Chinese people; later she uses "we" occasionally but mostly refers to Chinese as "my mother's people" and recognizes the tensions within her produced by her mixed-race status. LXC: What's the most exciting part of your research? CHAPMAN: The most exciting part of my biographical research on Eaton has been the discovery of her mother's past. According to family lore, Edith Eaton’s mother Grace was born Achuen Amoy in February 1846 in Shanghai. A few years later, according to this same family lore, she was “stolen from her home”. 1850s newspaper articles reveal that the three-year-old Achuen Amoy was bought up by a successful Chinese knife-throwing acrobat Tuck Guy and his wife, who trained her to tightrope dance and serve as the human target in a knife-throwing act performed by a troupe known in the West as the “Chinese Magicians”. Eaton's fiction features lots of circus entertainers and orphaned children; I think her mother's traumatic childhood informed her imagination!


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