要成為, “男”子漢, 不認輸

有時候會徬徨,會無助,會懷疑自己究竟是為了什麼而來到地球的這一端研究那些距離我時空遙遠的人事物。

昨天早上剛考完第一場考試,明天下午又是一場。無法問心無愧的說自己盡了全力,只能靠自己鞭策自己最後衝擊。

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無意間看到很久以前儲存的,迪士尼版花木蘭的歌曲 “I’ll make a man out of you”在Soundcloud 上的中英雙語版本。要說是什麼時候發現這個連結我還真的不記得了。只記得當時朋友講耳機遞給我的時候我半信半疑地把耳機戴上,左耳傳入中文右耳卻是英文的同一首歌。旋律相同,歌詞相近,講述著同樣觸動我內心的故事。

先談談花木蘭吧。

花木蘭長年位居我內心迪士尼電影的首席,也許是因為女主角和我同為黃皮膚黑頭髮也有可能是因為有很長一段時間這是唯一一部迪士尼出品的非公主電影。或許是因為我內心的叛逆因子從不奢望成為公主,而是更想要靠自己的努力打破別人對我的預設形象吧。

再來說說這首歌為什麼總是能激起我的”戰鬥慾”

“I’ll make a man out of you” 中文版是由成龍主唱的“男子漢”。歌曲襯托了李翔將軍將一群東拼西湊的男兒訓練成能夠保家衛國的男子漢的過程。我並不會什麼歌曲賞析但總是覺得每次聽到這首歌都有種非常熱血的感受。中文歌詞並不是英文歌詞的逐字翻譯,卻別有韻味。當然,中間穿插的士兵無助的“抱怨”會讓我會心一笑。合唱的部分把音量調高會讓我有種全世界都在幫我吶喊助威的錯覺。

那中英雙語版有什麼特別之處

一開始肯定是新鮮感。兩耳不同聲道的體驗至少對我來說是不常見的,不過也有可能是我孤陋寡聞吧。靜下心來聽歌的時候我很享受左右中英切換的體驗,一下子專心分析中文歌詞的韻味,過一陣子又換到英文體會他的押韻。當然,我偶爾也會嘗試對比兩遍的歌詞,看看兩遍的歌詞哪裡不同,試著在我的心裡評比我更喜歡哪邊的描述方式。不過試著兩遍都顧及的結果一般都會造成我的注意力無法集中,我總是很好奇同聲傳譯的人是怎麼做到聽一個語言說另一個語言的。

另一個魅力應該是在於我在靈活掌握中英兩種語言之後常常會茫然自失,我在寫日記的時候該用什麼語言,我的母語是什麼?諸如此類的疑問時不時都會在我的腦海中冒出來干擾我。所以可以嘗試兩者兼顧的機會總是會讓我很興奮。而中英雙聲道的體驗也算是提醒了我最近很少用到的中文也是我人生中十分重要的一部分。

 

開始寫這篇文章的時候並沒有什麼特別的想法,不知不覺就寫了這麼多字也算是驗證了我嘮叨王的稱號吧 哈哈。

以這篇文章激勵自己繼續熱血的奮鬥,如果木蘭可以只身闖入軍營立功我在二十一世紀有什麼做不到的。

以這篇文章提醒自己勿忘初心,總是努力的維持中英雙語的能力是為了成為橋樑,切勿過河拆橋。

以這篇文章撫慰自己疲累的身心,我早已不是第一次看木蘭時的那個小毛頭了,現在可以不用決定未來的終點,但要記得留心記住那些擦身而過的景色和幫助我的人。當然,我也還是那個坐在電視前懵懂的小女孩,這個世界充滿了未知,真是令人興奮。

五月三十一記。

 

 

On Women’s Day

Growing up, I saw myself as a sort of rebel girl.

I didn’t like pink, I refused to wear skirts, or dresses.

I got into fights with boys. So I was violent.

I always wanted to lead, to have my voice heard. So I was bossy.

I once challenged a boy who lived next door to race on a bike because he assumed he’d be better because he’s a boy. So I was aggressive. We even crashed into someone’s gate near the end of the race (hence I never found out if I was better, or if he was.) So I was ruthless and careless.

I was furious. I was a rebel.

I was the rebel girl.

So over the years I toned everything down. Notice how I said ‘was’? I started wearing skirts and dresses when I was required, and sometimes when it wasn’t. I’m still not madly in love with pink, but I do own a few pieces of pink clothing. I stopped fighting with boys, I stopped swearing back at them when they did at me. I drifted to the sidelines, I stopped interjections in group discussions to disagree with a boy because I was told it was ‘rude’. I started objecting to boys versus girls in P.E. class because it was ‘unfair’, because ‘boys are stronger than girls’. My scar has faded from the bike crash, so I guess the rebel girl has gone.

I started to conform. I started to blend in.

I was, just a girl.

I could list my excuses for conforming, for blending in, for toning it down. Although none should excuse the face I pulled when one of my closest friends told me in school that she was a ‘feminist’, these excuses have featured overwhelmingly in my self-reflective process.

Was it the time when my parents told me to close my legs when sitting down because ‘you’re a girl, not a boy’, or ‘think about if you’re wearing a skirt and people are looking up your skirt at your pants?!’

Was it the time when my teachers held me back after a certain fight with a boy, sorry Ian I did kick you quite hard a few times, explaining to me that ‘you should be the bigger person here because boys are just looking for trouble’.

Was it the time when a certain volunteer supervisor told me that ‘I almost didn’t pick you after your story of the bike crash, I thought “this girl is quite angry I might not be able to control her”‘in a space that supposedly advocated free speech, self-expression and learning to not judge others.

Was it the time when I was dragged to buy more ‘feminine’ clothes or the time when all but one of my classmates chose to stay silent when a boy ridiculed those suffering as sex slaves.

Was it because I grew up in a household that still functions as one where mum works a full time job and cooks all meals on Sunday whereas dad freelances and is always ‘too busy’ to help with cooking? Or is it because my WeChat (a further developed Chinese knock-off version of WhatsApp and Facebook combined) is still flooded with articles such as the one that credited the success of Dong Qing, a famous Chinese television host, to her university-level educated father. Although her mother matched him, and in fact graduated from the same university. The only time her mother was mentioned was in the line ‘both her parents were graduates of Fudan University’, as if her mother never played a role in her upbringing or education. Furthermore, the article praises Dong’s father for calling up his friends when Dong was 14/15 and offering her to work for them on no pay without her prior consent. At least said friends were kind enough to offer 1 RMB payment (around 8-10p) per day for her labours, right? Or could it possibly be the fact that “In 2014, according to the data, Chinese women gave birth to 115.9 boys for every 100 girls. (The natural human birth ratio is around 105 boys to every 100 girls.)” [1] and that despite governmental ban on pre-birth ultrasound to determine the sex of the infant in efforts to prevent sex-specific infanticide/abortions, illegal ultrasounds and abortions in favour of boys still persist.

Growing up in a massively sexist and feminist-repressing culture which manifested itself at the familial level, school level and societal level I expressed myself in two extremes. Initially my response was to fight back, to reject all gender-associated norms and sexist stereotypes that were assigned to me. However, I soon caved in when it became difficult.

It is hardly an experience I wish upon others, and one that I continue to find difficult to navigate around. In a recent conversation with a friend I expressed my unwillingness to give birth or raise a girl.

‘But didn’t you just tell me about the gender-imbalance and how you shouldn’t prefer boys to girls?’ he exclaimed, ‘If you’re worried about feminism you could always raise a feminist daughter.’

True. Yet my experiences of being a feminist even before knowing the term ‘feminism’ or understanding what it was all about was a difficult one, and one that I would not wish upon my daughter.

On Women’s Day, I reflected upon what I had said the other day and my own experiences. I am now in a college that celebrates the achievements of women every day, and in a bubble that advocates the rights of women and all other marginalised groups with unceasing efforts.

I have come to realise that even the actions that I had considered to be feminist were conforming to gender stereotypes.

Pink should be a gender neutral colour, violence should not be tolerated whichever gender you are, being bossy and not letting others expressing themselves is censorship not feminism. However, making claims are always easier than taking action.

It is perhaps time that we teach boys not to peek at pants through a girl’s skirt, whether or not she has left her legs open accidentally or just to relax herself. It is also time to teach our girls to call others out for peeking, regardless of the reason or excuse.

It is perhaps time that we stop excusing boys for ‘being boys’ and girls for ‘responding to provocation from boys’. It is also time to teach all children that violence is never the solution.

It is perhaps time that we stop judging an individual from a single incident, regardless of gender. It is also time to let our girls know that they do not need to challenge boys to prove they are better, because girls can and girls will just as boys can and boys will. Every individual develops differently and your gender inhibits nothing, girls shouldn’t have to try harder to impress, nor should boys.

It is perhaps time that we educate everyone that clothing is self expression and that everyone should be allowed to wear anything they want, no matter their gender and even age. It is also time that everyone speaks out on behalf of those marginalised when they are ridiculed or prejudiced against, so their voice is at least not marginalised.

It is perhaps time to consider our roles in front of children, or even for yourselves. It is also time that we stop assuming a boyfriend is to pay for, carry things for, support, a girlfriend. That in a relationship everyone should be treated equally and that your actions are always watched by the young around you and that your actions do have an impact.

It is perhaps time for me to embrace the title as a feminist and to make my actions count.

Happy International Women’s Day

 

References:

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2015-02-03/one-child-policy-didn-t-give-china-too-many-boys