#PaperlessAndBeautiful: On The A4 Waist Challenge, and Body Image in the Asian American Community

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I do not have an “A4 Waist,” and I am totally okay with that.

The latest social media trend to take thin-obsessed China by storm is #A4Waist, wherein (predominantly – but not exclusively — female) users post selfies boasting that their waist is so slim that it can be completely obscured by a vertical sheet of A4 paper. The dimensions of A4 paper is 8.3” x 11”, meaning that those who “pass” the A4 Waist Challenge have waists <~17” in diameter.

For those keeping score: In American sizes, this is about 7” smaller than a US size 0.

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Finally! A Simple Solution to Help Deal With Microaggressions: The My Oppression Card Project

The Oppression Card Project, by Sarah Doherty and Lauren Simkin Berke
The My Oppression Card Project, by Sarah Doherty and Lauren Simkin Berke

This is easily one of my favourite crowd-funded projects I’ve ever had the privilege of being able to support.

Have you ever been accused of playing your [race/gender/other form of oppression] card? Now, the next time someone treats you to some unrelentingly microaggressive behaviour, you can whip out your real life, actual oppression card and use it to help communicate your feelings about your most aggravating -isms!

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Faces of Asian America: Being A Roller Derby Rockstar | #APAHM2014

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Thu Ngo is a former roller derbyist who goes by the name Viva Glam. Since the writing of this post, she has retired from active skating due to a knee injury but still actively volunteers for her league.

What is Viva Glam?

My name is Thu, but when I strap on my skates, I’m known as Viva Glam. I’m a derby girl – I play women’s flat-track roller derby.

Unlike the roller derby of the 70’s, there is no elbowing, tripping, or fighting – modern-day roller derby is full-contact and it is the real deal; the women who play it are true athletes. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world right now, but derby is still considered underground/alt, and we constantly fight to be seen as a legitimate sport. We do everything ourselves: skaters not only train intensely to compete in bouts, but they also take care of the business of running their leagues, handling finances, publicity, sponsorship, and recruitment themselves, in addition to whatever their lives entail outside of the sport (school, career, children, etc). We don’t get paid for it either – everyone involved in derby, from the skaters to the referees to the non-skating officials, is there out of love for the sport and the community.

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Faces of Asian America: Being Bald and Bold | #APAHM2014

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Traci Lee is a producer at MSNBC, and was diagnosed with alopecia — a condition that results in hair loss — as a child.

How do you see yourself as a person with alopecia?

I spent a lot of my life avoiding mirrors. When I first began losing my hair at the age of seven, I thought pretending the problem didn’t exist would make it disappear altogether—or, at least, it would slow down the inevitable process of losing everything. As the hair on my head disappeared in patches, so did my eyebrows and eyelashes, and it became too hard to see anything in my reflection except for what was missing.

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Help As[I]Am publish magazine issue on representation of Asian American bodies!

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As[I]Am is a really phenomenal digital magazine focused on representation of Asian Americans in art and social justice. They are planning an upcoming issue titled “Resistant Bodies” which will focus “on how our bodies are read and interpreted, and how they can be a site for struggle, reflection, and/or transformation.” This issue will include a broad array of relevant topics including “burlesque and body image, environmental sustainability and food justice, presentation of queer femme identity, and the ownership of body and portrayal.”

But, As[I]Am needs your help to make “Resistant Bodies” a reality. They have 5 days left to raise $500, and still have $250 to go. If you have a few dollars lying around, please consider donating to this campaign!

Update: Congratulations to Project As[I]Am for getting their campaign funded!