Whenever I meet someone new one of the first subjects of conversation is my ethnicity, what am I? Some people say I look white, some say I look Korean.
I've gotten Filipino, Russian, and even Brazilian. I am half Mexican and half Chinese. In all honesty, I enjoy the guessing game; a more narcissistic part of me likes being the subject of conversations Asian latina girls strangers in New York City.
However, I have a different relationship with my ethnic ambiguity when around people of my own cultures and amongst my family. Let's be stereotypical for a moment: Busty, brown with long sultry hair and curvaceous hips.
What do Asians "typically" look like? Short, very thin and pale with straight and jet black hair. What do I look like? I'm almost 5"9 and lbs with brown wavy hair, somewhat pale skin and almond-shaped eyes, B-cup breasts and wide hips More times than not, I come off as anything and nothing at the same time.
Looking "Chinese" at Homecoming in high school, looking "Mexican" for the 16th of September. Most people think it's pretty cool, a friend recently told me Asian latina girls I could probably pass for most any ethnicity and although that may be the case, this characteristic is not Asian latina girls cool when all you want to do is look Asian or Hispanic to fit in or when members of your family criticize your body for being too big, too small or too flat.
She ends her piece saying that all women's experiences are different but she knows she's not the only one feeling the pressure to be perfect. She isn't the only one and by straddling two different cultures with Asian latina girls different standards of beauty and perfection I have learned the hard way that you can never win.
By being accepted and rejected by both of my cultures I have come to that age-old conclusion that the only way to be beautiful is to be yourself and that 'perfection' is a socially and culturally constructed ideal that is impossible to achieve, no matter how beautiful you may Asian latina girls.
I can remember being nine years old and visiting my family in Hong Kong. I remember greeting my grandmother and being met with "hao fei," or "so fat.
Once my mother and I went to buy accessories for my hair at a local shop and I remember hearing women commenting on my weight, calling me fat and sneering at my appearance. I was twelve or thirteen, and I was devastated.
Me and my beautiful Mexican cousins. My mother would tell me to ignore them, that they were ignorant and mean and that I was beautiful as a Latina, Asian latina girls even within my Mexican family I didn't fit in.
I remember running around with my Mexican cousins and slowly growing up, witnessing their bodies growing: The bodies that most resembled those of telenovela soap opera actresses were praised as beautiful while mine was always too big, too small, too flat or too pale. I would yearn for my cousins' dark complexions, their large breasts and small waists.
It didn't help that at school people asked if I could do kung-fu and why, if I was Mexican, I was so pale. Like Duan, for most of my life I was not happy with what I looked like because I didn't fit in: I was also "too fat for an Asian" and too flat for a Latina.