So I’ve been debating since midnight whether or not to post this. I mean I’m trying to be disciplined and post something up everyday. If only to prove to myself that I can. But, at the same time I know I’m going to have to run a longer, further, probably even several articles to explain this one.
Oh well, I guess I have to bite the bullet sometime, and pray my paranoid anxieties don’t lead me to dream horrible things.
Today I (re-)ran across theory of the Default Man, pushed to the fore quite recently by Grayson Perry. The idea that the White, Middle-class, Middle-aged man is the norm, the ‘guy in charge’ and prevalent across our society. Now this theory is centuries old, for sure, despite being acknowledge, affirmed and challenged throughout history it hasn’t quite gone away. Just been chipped at, until some may argue even those who own but a small sector of the Default Man’s huge silhouette are having epistemological crisis’s in their selves. Be they white, middle-class, middle-aged or even just a man, any one of these are having the same stinking journey, full of crippling doubt, never-ending ailments and spiritual disease that’s rife in all of us.
As a Woman of Colour* , it just got me thinking, due in part to my recent run-in with my old, bad, fucked up self, where do I fit in? What does a Default Woman look like? Is there such a thing as a default Asian, African, Hispanic, Jew, Muslim, Chinese, Pinoy, ..etc. etc.? Or does this one default apply to the entire globe? Because, you know, of course only the Western anglo-guys have ever conquered and colonised all of land and sea, across the whole wide world, right?! Since time immemorial; Thanks Alexander the Great!
I guess I would really like to explore what a default woman looks like, behaviourally speaking, but also in appearance and expectation, and perhaps contrast this with what an Asian woman like me, is expected to aspire too. What are the consequences of fulfilling these societal aspirations pushed on us, or for coming up short?
Also, as I thought earlier, if I a WOC, aspire to be respected, independent and content, for knowledge and dare I say some power **, what then? As has been so painfully pointed out to me on my journey to better myself and strive to be acknowledged and respected for myself and my mind, I might be “getting too big for my own boots”. By working towards higher knowledge and independence, I am seen by most people, across the social and cultural divide to be a range of different things; “a coconut”, “a bounty”, “a self-hating asian”, “a curiosity”, “misunderstanding”, “slow”, “silly”, “naive”, “bird”, “unable to get it“, “stupid”.. the list is sadly endless.
So perhaps this is the greatest flaw and one that should be pointed out and yelled louder. Instead of bemoaning that the Default Man is everywhere, maybe we can all try and change the angle. Look at how we treat and respond to those who try and negotiate access to these sites that we deem can, and must, only be occupied by the privileged few. We should encourage people of all colours, all genders, sexes, sexualities to be granted the ability to move freely. To grow, change, to nurture and expect to be nurtured on our way through our journeys in this life. Perhaps then we can begin an end to our unequal past.
*(I know shady term, I will totally explain why I use this another time – stay tunes ;P)
**(Only enough to be left in peace and provide a happy existence)