Perspectives: On bra-blogging as a Chinese-American/Hong-Kong-American
In order to put together posts in Chinese, I’m asking for a lot of editing help from Mom. Besides the “I’ve never heard of this” and “I can’t believe people think so hard about these things” and “Are you serious?” lines, I’m also getting several anecdotes about Chinese culture in general (in terms of attitude towards this genre of topic) and about the women in our family.
When CurvyHK was just a thoughtbaby, before I started putting it together, I overheard Mom on the phone with my eldest aunt. My eldest aunt is a really impressive lady: smart, skilled and efficient (all the virtues HKers prize most). She also has four (mega-adorable) granddaughters, so she’s passed many of those life milestones I’m going to trip over in the future. In addition, she’s worked with clothing and people all her life. This must mean she’s well-versed in the whole business of bras, right?
Well, that conversation that I overheard was about me learning all this fascinating stuff about bras on the web. I joined in the subsequent call and the three of us tried to figure out her bra size over the phone (Let me tell you: an arduous endeavor with limited chance of success).
According to traditional norms, East Asian women, whether they are in Asia or overseas, are still expected to be modest, to figure things out on their own, and to keep mum about taboo topics such as the womanly aspects of being a woman (ie, bras, breasts, menstruation cycles and sex, just to blast a few out there). I’d always assumed that this meant quiet, subdued conversations between mother and daughter, between sisters, or between two close friends. Not at all! Apparently, if you’re in a strictly traditional home, each new woman is stuck with the task of rediscovering gravity and reinventing the wheel. Take me, the least conventional female member in all my extended family: I learned about breasts, menstruation and sex in my public school fifth grade classroom during a special section “Human Growth and Development”, and I learned about bras by rushing in and out of JC Penney’s with my mom (or, if we’re talking about proper learning, not even three months ago from NYC bra boutiques and online bloggers).
This whole situation gave me a heads-up. If this was new to my aunt, who I feel is more likely than most other women in Hong Kong to understand and be well-informed about bras and the wearing of such things, then maybe this thoughtbaby has the potential to actually be important and helpful!