Mothers and DAUGHTERS, has there ever been a more VOLATILE relationship than HORMONAL WOMEN who LOVE each other as MUCH as they hate the REFLECTION of each OTHER?
It’s fifty-two minutes past three am as I write this, and I am about to watch The Joy Luck Club. It was the first film in the 90s to contain an all-Asian woman cast, with men being the side characters. It was the first time that people in America, Canada, and around the world, saw Asian women as more than something to fetishize.
For the first time, people started to see Asians as real people. I didn’t recognize that at the time. I just knew that every woman my mom knew – almost all white – loved this film and the sweetness of the story. The Joy Luck Club is about the journey of Chinese women, with their Chinese-immigrant mothers, and that’s a story – the story of mothers and daughters – that every woman can understand.
Every woman on earth knows what it feels like to deal with traumatic mother-daughter relationships. Each of us has the scars of the mothers that came before us, and every woman on the planet can claim that, which is why the story is so relatable. It’s beautiful, haunting, and relatable because even if the women are Chinese, the issues they face are global.
Hunger, poverty, love, war, sacrifice, journey, expression. These are human emotions, and it doesn’t matter where you come from we all experience these emotions. At different wavelengths, but we all have them.
Like Crazy Rich Asians, The Joy Luck Club before was considered a revolutionary film. Because women didn’t talk about their issues back then, and Asian women didn’t have issues. Their lives were perfect, and they had no problems. This film really opened a crack into the world of Asian creators and gave us an honest look at Chinese interpersonal relationships.
Women constantly try to tear each other down. In front of other women, in front of their children, in front of co-workers and employers, wherever they can, a woman will just as soon throw you into a bus, as save your life.
But we’re so focused on the idea that women are perfectly innocent creatures, we never talk about the fact that in spite of the patriarchy, women are quite capable of making their own twisted and evil choices.
WOMEN will support EACH other and SIMULTANEOUSLY try to DESTROY each OTHER while SAYING “this is my SISTA.”
We don’t talk about the fact that films like The Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants, and even The Women, much like The Joy Luck Club, are aberrations. We don’t talk about the fact that most girls don’t grow up with a safe, secure, group of women friends, because most girls weren’t and haven’t for a very long time, been taught, how to connect with each other.
We as women, too many of us, are focused not on following our passions, in order to follow our passions, but on survival, and too often that means finding a good job, getting a man with a lot of money, and cutting ourselves off from everything we used to know.
I am reminded of the opening scene of Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst – in the film Marie is taken from her own home to a new place, where she must leave everything behind. Her friends, her family, her dogs, and even her clothes and jewelry are stripped from her because she is no longer who she was. She is about to become a wife, and her old life is completely over. There are no reminders of her past.
Marie Kondo says that we must hold onto only that which brings us joy, but simultaneously, we are conditioned to give away or get rid of all the things that matter to us, because “they are a part of your old life.“
In days of old, a mother’s only focus was on making sure she raised a healthy, beautiful baby, that would eventually grow into a woman who would marry a wealthy man. That was their job. their only job.
If a woman’s child did not marry a wealthy man, it was a defeat, because her life would be lived in untold misery, because only a man, could buy a woman’s freedom.
WOMEN are FORCED to release EVERYTHING that MATTERS to them, in a conditioned EFFORT to MOVE on from the PAST.
Eventually, women opened up to reality. We were not born to serve.
Women are integral parts of this world. And too many of us, every single day, are sacrificed, at the altar of the patriarchy, in order to make the lives of the men in our world, easier, and frankly my dears, I’m tired of it.
Think of any film or television show, where women are both mothers, who work. You’ll see a constant theme. They are tired, overworked, and feel the need to rebel against the system. These films are projected as empowering, but are they? Or are they just constant reminders of how difficult it is to be a whole person, outside of being an employee or boss, a wife, and a parent?
I look at all the women I knew in my 20s who tricked me into babysitting while conditioning me to be their kid’s Black auntie, so they could go and escape their kids for a few hours and I look at my life now, and honestly, I couldn’t imagine trying to raise kids today.
In today’s climate women are expected to literally be everything. Women, wives, mothers, partners, employees, boss chick, allies, activists, and heroes, and you know what? I’m not doing it. I fucking refuse.
I think the reason that I am struggling so much right now, is because in today’s climate it’s hard to figure out where you fit when you have mental health issues, and you’re trying to just…cope. It’s hard to look around and access the situations around you, and believe that you remember how to help the wounded because you’re so shocked by everything you see. It’s hard to know which battle to fight for first.
Telling someone to be THEMSELVES doesn’t mean MUCH if you WON’T let THEM discover WHO they COULD be
It’s all well and good to tell women to be themselves, but if we’re working them to the bone for 12-15 hours a day and only paying them minimum wage, then we’re not really expecting them to be themselves.
What we’re doing is feeding a system desired to exhaust us so much that we can’t fight back, and yeah, I’m there.
I started this website because I believed that my story – and the childhood version of myself, deserved better. I believed it deserved to be told. This year I haven’t been as focused, I’ve been distracted by my own traumas. But I just want you to know I’m still here, I’m still watching, and I’m still seeing the same cycle play out again and again and again.
If we really want to help women, then we’ll focus more energies on putting money towards social services organizations that are designed to help lift women up when they’ve fallen down, instead of tearing them apart when they have nowhere to go.
If we really want to support women – ALL WOMEN AND YES TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN – then we will stop ripping them apart just to see what they are made of. Women deserve better than that.
If we really want to support women, we will let them have their safe spaces without trying to invade that space because we’re men who think they deserve to be wherever they want. If you really want to support women, you’ll encourage more stories of women connecting, being friends, supporting each other, and reminding each other that no matter how hard it is, we still really do have each other.
If you really want to support women, you’ll stop taking advantage of women by creating groups designed to heal just so you can make a buck.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall