The following is an auto-generated transcript of the Brazn Azn podcast Episode 3. It also includes affiliate links that do not affect the price you pay, but allows me to recoup some of our costs. Please excuse any mistakes or misspellings as we do not have the time nor bandwidth to edit.

Show notes

In this episode, co-hosts Stella and Virginia engage in a candid conversation about the nuances of being perceived in both digital and physical spaces. They explore their personal experiences with identity, the Asian American experience, and the conflicts and comforts of visibility. From the complexities of online perception to the challenges of existing as queer, neurodivergent, and Asian in a predominantly white society, this episode dives deep into what it means to be seen and how we navigate the space between visibility and invisibility. Join them as they reflect on their own perceptions, share their journeys, and discuss the impact of representation.

  • Introduction
  • The Origin Story and Podcasting Model
  • The Complex Feelings Around Being Perceived
  • Deciding to Podcast Despite Fears
  • Identity, Space, and Perception
  • Public Versus Online Perception
  • Impact of Identity on Perception
  • Concluding Thoughts

Listen to Brazn Azn Ep 03


[00:00:00] Stella: Brazn N8n, this is the Brazn Azn podcast and I’m your co host Stella.

[00:00:06] Virginia: And I’m your other co host, Virginia Duan, also known as Mandarin Mama. I’m the entertainment editor for Mochi Magazine, which is the longest running online Asian American women’s magazine. And I’m also the author of a new book, my debut called Illusive. And it’s a kind of a K-pop behind the scenes type of sexy, steamy, very sad.

But happy ending story.

[00:00:33] Stella: So today we’re going to talk about being perceived and the complicated feelings we both have around it.

[00:00:39] Virginia: Yes. This week, our third episode, we both get to be uncomfortable at the same time. Yay. But before we do that, here’s a quick recap of what our podcast is about. Here at Brazn Azn, we explore the concept of being brazen Asians while discussing our own personal experiences and challenges.

[00:00:59] Stella: We’ll delve into issues of identity, social justice, and the complexities of Asian American experiences. All with what Virginia calls our trademark vigor and vim. And so maybe we could open this episode by having Virginia talk to us about why you started the podcast.

[00:01:17] Virginia: Yeah. It’s a, it’s very peak Asian, I have to admit. So I finally broke down and bought a subscription to like Descript Squadcast and you get like 10 hours a month because I’ve been filming another podcast or recording another podcast called the K pop Smash Podcast with two of my friends, Hasina and Blessing.

And I was like, Oh, well, if we only do maybe six hours a month, I have like four hours left. I guess I have to start another podcast to use up those four hours of transcription and editing and recording. But now, because we’re trying to pump out all these podcasts so that there’s a back list, actually don’t have enough hours so I’m like maybe I have to upgrade but then it’ll upgrade to 30 hours and I’m like, well, do I have to start more podcasts to use all these hours?

It’s a vicious cycle.

[00:02:14] Stella: It is a vicious circle! Cycle, but I really love that our origin story is like so peak Asian.

[00:02:21] Virginia: But I mean, to be fair, we’ve been talking about starting a podcast for a long time. It just happened that this was the excuse that I needed. Because I think if we just wanted to do something to do it, I think it’s a little bit harder to convince perhaps you versus, Hey, Stella, do me a solid and help me use up these hours because otherwise they’ll go to waste.

And we hate waste.

[00:02:49] Stella: I know, right? So I actually remember being really surprised at myself for agreeing when you were like, Oh, let’s do a podcast. I was like, Oh Jesus. I’ve always wanted to have a podcast. Like I love the idea of it. But the thought of having people listen to it really freaked me out. I was like, Oh shit. What if I have absolutely nothing to say worth hearing about?

[00:03:12] Virginia: Yeah, I mean, I, I understand because that’s like a normal fear and also I talk to you all the time and you always have amazing things to say and I wouldn’t have suggested it if I thought it would be bad. That’s why it’s so funny because like so many people go to you to get their thoughts refined and when you refine our thoughts, you’re so eloquent and so amazing and then.

You have the nerve to come tell me I don’t know if I’ll have anything smart to say when any time I just bring up some random tweet you go into a dissertation on the background of The tweet the history of this person. I don’t even know who this person is How do you know who this person is?

like you’ll know everything about them and Then have five talking points and I was just like I just wanted to tell you their shoes were cool You’re like, oh, yeah, the shoes are cool, too But let me tell you about how Asian Americans are influential in the fashion scene, especially for shoes and sneaker heads.

And I’ll be like, okay,

[00:04:14] Stella: Yes. Yes. We love an info dump. Thank you for listening to my info dumps.

[00:04:19] Virginia: love it. I love it. It saves me the trouble of learning anything on purpose.

[00:04:22] Stella: God, the best, right? It’s like. a symbiotic relationship.

[00:04:27] Virginia: All right. So tell me more about this freaking out about people listening to you. Is it an issue of not being used to the sound of your own voice, which you’re probably normal versus me? I’m like, let’s listen to Virginia’s voice again, because it’s so soothing and so great, but totally not how I sound in real life. So yeah, is it, is it that or what, what exactly bothered you about it? Right,

[00:04:52] Stella: as I got ready, as like, as we talked about this episode, and I got ready to think about what we were gonna say, I realized that I’m really self conscious about taking up too much space. And I think some of it links to like being really young and being essentially too much. Like I was really loud.

I was pretty rambunctious. I’ve always been a bigger girl. I’ve been a thick girly my entire life, right? I’m five foot eight and I’m, I’m just not small, but I’m around a ton of Korean Americans. And I grew up in the church and so they’re all these teeny, tiny, petite, quiet, perfect girls that I was always being compared to. And I think being neurodivergent, being queer and not realizing it, you just, I just felt so like, Oh my God, this is so agonizing. Like I, I think I really just hated being judged. God, I mean, nobody likes being judged though, right? Like who the fuck likes it? Nobody likes

[00:05:57] Virginia: It’s so interesting that you said that you felt like you were too much because that’s exactly how I felt all my life. Too much. Virginia, you’re too loud. Your laugh is too loud.

And people used to joke that they could locate me. on campus from my lap. I, I’m really loud. People are always like, can you, can you keep it down? But I just have a really, I’m very good at projecting my voice.

I have a very strong diaphragm and you know, don’t worry folks. Karma has come and my children are really loud. And I’m always like, yo, let’s just keep it down a bit. But I, but I’m, but I’m not queer and I’m not neurodivergent. So it’s probably all of those things, right? Like I’m just too American, too extroverted for Asia.

[00:06:47] Stella: And it’s okay, it’s okay to take up space. It’s totally fine for us to take up space, but I think the, the prescribed spaces that we were allowed to be in, like, even I couldn’t help but overflow them.

And I bet you also work too much of a smart ass, because I got, I got yelled at a lot for that.

[00:07:05] Virginia: oh yeah, well so there’s this phrase in Chinese called liǎn sè, which means like the color of your face. So Chinese people have a lot of sayings around face. So, lián sè is like the color of your face. It’s the kind of face that inspires someone to say, fix your face or I’ll fix it for you.

Right? Like, that’s, that’s the kind of, that’s the gist of it. Right? And then there’s like, diù lián, which means to throw away face. And it’s like shameful and then is like to give face, is like your appearance or whatever. So to give an appearance, so when people say to save face, that’s where it comes from. But sorry for that tangent, but folks, that’s what you signed up for, for listening to this podcast. Just know, that my tangents are not nearly as well thought out as Stella’s.

[00:07:54] Stella: But they’re really fun.

[00:07:55] Virginia: Are they? I don’t know. So in college too, I was I was part of InterVarsity and they were really big on the Myers Briggs test. And folks, this was in, 1995. So we were way ahead of the curve. I don’t care how popular Myers Briggs is now. That’s what we were doing then.

And I constantly wanted to be an introvert because people kept telling me I was too loud and I was too much. And could I just calm down? Could I just chill? But the thing is, I am actually a very chill person. I just get. energy from other people, you know what I mean? And I’m actually really chill around other people.

So I think I constantly felt like I was taking up too much space. And then when I worked as a financial advisor, the constant refrain was be interested, not interesting. So you had to shrink yourself even more to get other people to talk more. And It was just really difficult because, well, goddammit, I am interesting.

You’re welcome. Sorry.

[00:08:56] Stella: I was going to say the audacity of telling you to be less interesting.

[00:09:00] Virginia: Yeah, it was basically, I mean, yeah, it was this middle aged white man as my branch manager. And to be fair, I understand where he’s coming from, right? Because he, he gave that advice to everybody. It didn’t matter whether you, you know, it’s that’s how you get sales, right? You want people to like you and people like people who are interested in them.

That’s just sales 101, right? Unpossible

[00:09:28] Stella: I’m an introvert. I’m an introvert who takes up too much space, Virginia. So wait, what is your Myers

[00:09:35] Virginia: you take up just the right amount of space.

[00:09:37] Stella: Briggs?

[00:09:39] Virginia: I Am an ESFJ most consistently.

[00:09:44] Stella: I’m an INFJ. This, I feel like this tracks. I feel like this tracks for us though.

[00:09:49] Virginia: Cuz we’re judgmental on time And we have a lot of feelings.

[00:09:54] Stella: A friend of mine calls Myers Briggs astrology for white men and he’s not wrong.

[00:10:02] Virginia: Really? I’ve never really associated white people with the Myers Briggs at all, ever. I think because. But you

[00:10:17] Stella: a lot on white norms, right? Yeah. It centers a lot on white norms and on white cultural concepts.

[00:10:28] Virginia: know, do you remember when that book Quiet came out about introverts, like by some Susan lady?

[00:10:36] Stella: me about this.

[00:10:37] Virginia: it was like a, I want to say it came out in the aughts and it was all about how introversion is to be celebrated and it’s a good thing. And I just, I never read it, but I just saw it all over the place and I was just like, I should be more contemplative and It would just never work out, though. It would just not work out. But I feel like I’ve become more introverted over the years because I’m around too many people that came out of my vagina.

[00:11:07] Stella: I was gonna say, there’s, there’s definitely a part of me that it retreats even more now because my house is full of children. And it’s not a bad thing, but it just means like I’m constantly touched out, I’m talked out, I don’t, I don’t want to, I don’t want to anymore, yeah.

[00:11:25] Virginia: So I guess let’s reel it back in. I mean, we’re kind of touching on the things that we wanted to talk about, but how do you feel about being perceived, because you obviously chose to do the podcast. So what made you say yes?

[00:11:38] Stella: A big part of me that made me say yes was realizing that I wanted to do it.

[00:11:43] Virginia: Hmm.

[00:11:44] Stella: You know, like, sometimes that’s enough. And my, so my rule of thumb is that my existence is always going to make somebody unhappy. Like my choices are always going to upset at least one person. Right. And so if it’s inevitable that I’m disappointing or enraging to somebody, then the only thing that I get to choose is who I piss off.

[00:12:06] Virginia: Oh,

[00:12:06] Stella: And so it’s like, if people are disappointed, or they don’t like the podcast, or they don’t agree with the choices that I talk about on here, it’s like, well, I may as well make those people unhappy, because doing this podcast makes me happy, and that’s really the math that matters here, right?

[00:12:21] Virginia: Well, I’m really glad you decided to choose to make yourself happy because it makes me happy and ultimately that’s what I care about. I guess this plays in really well with the next topic, so to speak, which is how do you feel about being perceived and seen in general, like not just for this podcast, but in general, both in digital spaces and physical spaces, what impacts when it feels good and safe to be perceived.

And when it, when you’re like, ah, this is. Dangerous. This is not okay. Danger. Danger.

[00:12:56] Stella: I think what impacts it is who I’m being perceived by, honestly. Because I love, right, I love being known by people. Like I love it when someone’s like, Oh, I knew you’d be so into this. I’m like, Yes, thank you. Right? I love it when people say like, Oh, yeah, I read that thing you wrote.

Or, you know, the last conversation we had, it really got me thinking. To me, that feels So affirming and validating, like my existence has done some community good,

[00:13:27] Virginia: yeah, yeah.

[00:13:28] Stella: Like I’m valued and affirmed by the people around me. And I think the places it feels dangerous or uncomfortable is when I feel like people who don’t care about me as a person are judging me,

or people who, in bad faith, will not give me the benefit of the doubt.

[00:13:46] Virginia: Oh,

[00:13:47] Stella: I hate it. I hate it.

[00:13:49] Virginia: is It

[00:13:50] Stella: cringe.

[00:13:52] Virginia: Is it different in real life versus, you know, over the online? Because, you know, like there’s the keyboard warrior thing. So is it easier for you to be perceived online or is it harder?

[00:14:07] Stella: It’s actually about the same. Which is funny. Yeah, it’s about the same. I am also super reluctant to, like, I’m a lurker. I don’t like to, like, leave comments. I don’t like to engage in community because sometimes I’m like, Jesus, like, I just don’t want to get into it. ultimately, I tend to weigh things the same.

Like, is this a place where I can be loving and affirming to somebody? Or is this a place where I can let people know about something I understand or know about? Like, is this a place where I can give information? I think I center a lot of things around community good. Like, is this a place where I feel like I’m doing community good and that includes like myself. Am I doing myself a favor here? But you would, you would think, right? You would think that, oh, digitally, maybe it’s a little bit easier, but no, I have almost no social media accounts for a reason. I just don’t want to be perceived.

[00:15:07] Virginia: then how did we become friends, Stella?

[00:15:11] Stella: This is such a question, right? No, but then how has it been for you, like digital versus physical? And because I think of you as somebody who, feels pretty positively about putting herself out there. I

[00:15:25] Virginia: Yes, because I feel like, everyone would benefit from more of me being out there.

[00:15:32] Stella: mean, I agree. I do not disagree.

[00:15:35] Virginia: I’m only sort of joking. So I’ll start with the places I feel unsafe. So I don’t like being perceived in terms of like physical safety.

[00:15:45] Stella: Hmm.

[00:15:46] Virginia: So, If we’re going out somewhere or if we’re going like maybe in the suburbs, I don’t mind being perceived as much, but in general, I don’t like to be perceived in the city or where it’s like a sketchy neighborhood or whatever. And maybe even at concerts, like whatever we’re attending, it’s not even that I don’t want to be perceived. It’s just, it never would occur to me that I would be perceived because I feel Asian women, especially if you’re a mother, we’re invisible. And I feel like when I have my children, I’m invisible. And I’d actually, if we are being perceived, it’s because the children are doing something too loud, too annoying, too bad. So in that sense, I don’t like being perceived because I feel like, oh, we’re being rude. We’re occupying too much. I have five kids So the seven of us, you know when we’re being perceived is because the baby is screaming their brains out on a plane I don’t like being perceived this way But if she’s being cute and people perceive us that’s different right like so but in general it never occurs to me that people are perceiving me in any way You

[00:16:53] Stella: That is fascinating. Maybe we should trade braids for a day.

[00:16:58] Virginia: You’d be like, how do we work this? This is, this person is broken. But the, the funny thing though is, is that I think people actually do perceive me because I have candy colored hair right now it’s reddish, but so it’s a little bit fading, but you know, my hair’s really short. I have a lot of tattoos if I’m not in my uniform of sweatpants. and sweatshirt. If I actually dress up for something, I like to dress in super bright, super flashy, super insane colors. I don’t even know why, but they’re all giant bags because I only wear bag dresses. I don’t believe

[00:17:36] Stella: We love your, love your sackless, your sack shifts.

Right? Your sack

[00:17:43] Virginia: can you, yeah, because how else can you eat?

[00:17:47] Stella: They’re so comfortable.

[00:17:49] Virginia: Super comfortable and they all have pockets. So yeah, I’m always surprised when people remember me. Or I’m always surprised when people notice me. And actually I have been recognized at concerts and stuff from YouTube.

[00:18:04] Stella: I was gonna say, you’ve been recognized in public. Like, people have stopped you to be like, oh my god, are you Virginia?

[00:18:10] Virginia: yes, it happened. It happened a lot more in Taiwan than it did here. And it’s also a function of. Living in the town right next to where I grew up in. But yeah, so, but it just never occurs to me that people would perceive me.

And I find great comfort in the fact that no one, that I don’t think anyone perceives me because then like, who cares?

[00:18:34] Stella: I mean, I agree. Whenever I’m getting too into my own head about whatever it is, I’m like, literally nobody cares. Like, for good reasons and bad reasons, literally nobody cares. It doesn’t matter. But, I don’t know, maybe it’s because I just really hard on myself. I’m like, what if I’m so awkward and weird that I just should not be allowed out in public?

[00:19:00] Virginia: But maybe you’re just the right awkward and weird. Where you’re

[00:19:05] Stella: Maybe it’s Maybe it’s relatable.

[00:19:08] Virginia: Yes. See online, it’s a little bit different. I think it depends on the context. So if I’m writing if I’m trying to be kind of a shit starter. then I do want to be perceived and I’ll write things on purpose to piss people off. It’s not, when I say that, I don’t mean that I’m not saying things that I care, that I actually believe, but I’m saying things that I know absolutely will piss people off. So for

[00:19:36] Stella: Right.

[00:19:38] Virginia: I used to blog a lot about teaching my kids Chinese. I have a book on it and that’s how people recognized me. That’s how people knew me in Taiwan. They would, they would see me on the corner of the street and be like, Oh, Virginia.

And they would recognize my children because I blogged a lot about teaching my kids Chinese. And we’re not from Taiwan, it’s just that a lot of expats go back to Taiwan during the summer for their kids language. So I said that I no longer wanted to talk about blogging about Chinese because I was really sick of white people taking up space and treating, using me and using us.

That wasn’t the main reason, it was one of the reasons. And a lot of the other reasons were like, Hey, I’m already doing this stuff. It’s how can, how often can you blog about the same thing over and over again? Right? It’s not that interesting. But of course, people focused on the, how dare you insult white people?

Why do you gatekeep Chinese , think of the poor white children who could benefit from their mediocre Chinese and have everyone fawn over them. I knew it would piss people off. And if you’re less of a shit starter, you would probably not say that out loud. But I said it out loud and very loudly. So I think online I’m much more provocative in certain scenarios. Like if I’m writing something that is an opinion or, or whatever. But if we’re talking about like in forums or group chats, then. I try to be a good citizen then it’s just I’m just existing.

And if I’m perceived, that’s great. If I’m not perceived, that’s also great. Unless if I’m doing it for work, which I hate doing. So I never do. I don’t know if that makes sense.

[00:21:20] Stella: And it’s not like you’re trying to be purposefully provocative or inflammatory, like to start shit. It’s just that, you know, that people have very big feelings. about your perspective,

[00:21:33] Virginia: right?

I’m not saying something for clickbait. I’m saying it because I believe it. And it is also clickbait. Like, right. Like, I’m not, I’m not dumb. If someone’s going to click on something because it’s controversial, then. I will take advantage of that. And if they’re going to be all up in their feelings, that’s their problem.

[00:21:52] Stella: It’s so funny because I feel like our takes are not particularly controversial. I don’t think that you saying I am not interested in blogging about this anymore is a controversial take. And yet, people have really big feelings.

[00:22:08] Virginia: Well, some of it was like, who do you think you are that we care that you’re not doing this anymore? And I was like, well, clearly you do care because you’re all up in my face in the comments about this but most, I want to say like the vast majority of people were like, we totally get it.

Thank you for blogging all this time

[00:22:25] Stella: but it’s always, it’s always the entitled ones that get a little, get a little angry.

[00:22:32] Virginia: Yeah. And I think my reaction is always slight bewilderment, like, thanks for proving my point. Like do I, right, like, well, thanks for telling on yourself.

[00:22:51] Stella: And it’s so funny because I’ve read these posts that you make I’ve read the ones you’ve blogged and you try really hard to make it clear that you’re saying this in good faith like you’re not just trying to be an asshole. That’s like fuck white people though. You’re like, you know, I’m not it’s it’s really funny.

I think you try pretty hard to show that you’re trying to be reasonable and people will just take whatever it is. You’ve said and decide that you were the meanest person ever.

[00:23:17] Virginia: I mean, I am a pretty mean person, I wish I liked it more. I wish I leaned into that a little bit more, but you know.

[00:23:27] Stella: One of my big theories is that we would all benefit from just accepting that maybe we’re not good people. I’ve come to accept, like, yeah, no, I’m kind of an asshole and I need to just accept that. I need to be accountable for it,, that doesn’t give me the right to hurt people’s feelings whenever I want, but I need to accept that inside, like, I am just kind of an asshole and that’s, that’s okay.

[00:23:50] Virginia: So I think what a lot of people label asshole is actually just us being honest with our feelings, processing them and having boundaries and choosing ourselves. I think that a lot of times what people consider asshole behavior it’s just us not doing things that they want us to do. You know what I mean?

I, don’t mean like yelling at someone for being slow like driving or whatever, but a lot of times what we consider as assholeish behavior is , Hey, you’re not, conforming to what I expect you to do. You look like a Asian woman. You should be meek. You should be quiet. You should get out of my way. You should kowtow to me.

[00:24:33] Stella: Accommodate me, goddammit. Yeah.

[00:24:37] Virginia: and I’m like, no, going back to the Chinese example, I help admin and moderate a group of 16, 000 parents teaching their kids Chinese in an English dominated place, ? And in the description says, we welcome everyone to join if you have children or trying to teach their kids Chinese. However, we center the Chinese diasporic experience. If you are not Chinese, that doesn’t mean you’re not welcome. And also your concerns are slightly different.

[00:25:05] Stella: Yeah. Like it’s a reminder that they’re a guest in the household, right? Like this community is not necessarily centered on you or about you. And yet

[00:25:16] Virginia: They get mad,

[00:25:17] Stella: yeah, white people will always be like, this is so unfair. This is so unwelcoming. You guys are so mean.

[00:25:23] Virginia: right? You’re such an asshole for, you know, For pointing out that it doesn’t matter how mediocre my white kid’s Chinese is, Chinese people will be like, Oh, he’s so great. He’s so wonderful. But a Chinese American kid can have perfect Chinese and everyone will be like, your accent could be a little bit better.

Anyway , since we’re already kind of talking about this, how do you think our identities as Asian, cis women queer or not queer, middle aged, neurodivergent or not, like how do you think different aspects of our identities impact how we feel about being perceived?

[00:25:57] Stella: I think it has a lot to do with it, right? I think that there is a lot of weight to the expectations around how we’re supposed to behave in multiple spaces. Right, like white people have an expectation of what we’ll do or say or how we should behave.

Corporate America has an expectation. Our families have an expectation. The Asian American community at large, or if we’re back in Asia, like there’s just a weight of a lot of expectations. And women in particular are punished more for not meeting these expectations. It’s so interesting to me that you were saying, Oh, I feel like as a middle aged Asian American woman, like I’m basically invisible.

Like I find that fascinating because , I feel like I am less invisible because I’m an Asian American woman.

[00:26:49] Virginia: Do you feel like that’s because of the increase in anti Asian hate?

[00:26:53] Stella: No, no. I think it’s just that, in my mind, people don’t really expect anything out of white men because they are the universal default in America, right? They just get to be a generic person that is an individual. But as an Asian American woman, like, I’m marked as different from the default.

[00:27:15] Virginia: I find that fascinating because we live in California, you live in LA or no, you live in, SoCal

[00:27:23] Stella: SoCal.

[00:27:24] Virginia: and you grew up in LA and I live in the Bay area. I find it fascinating because I think that because white men are always the main characters in their own story. And they have such a huge sense of entitlement and all the like heroes and stories and movies and everything that they’re hyper visible. So if a white male walks into the room, yes, they’re also like every everywhere, but also. I’m not saying they feel this way, but I’m saying it feels like, Oh, well, they’re, they’re the main character. This is a movie. They’re the person we should be paying attention to. Whereas so I don’t actually know if this is true, but I want to say I learned it somewhere when I was watching Alias, the TV show about spies and one way. To become invisible is to become, to look like your mother because mothers are non threatening. Mothers are in the background. Mothers. I mean, what do they

[00:28:23] Stella: Mothers are not women that you hit on for dates. We’re not sexualized in the same way that, presumably single women are.

[00:28:31] Virginia: Right. And even though we’ve obviously had sex, that’s why we’re mothers. But we’re not dangerous. We’re boring. We’re just whatever. We’re background noise, and then Asians, are often cast as servants as the supporting cast as the massage therapists, the nail techs, like, and these are all important roles.

They’re the, they’re the servers at a restaurant. But they’re not usually the main character. I mean, obviously Asian movies, they’re from Asia. They’re the main characters because those are the people there. But in American movies, it’s very rare or we’re a spy. We’re subtly trying to wage psychological warfare through TikTok.

But yeah,

[00:29:17] Stella: it’s, it,

[00:29:18] Virginia: hmm.

[00:29:19] Stella: fascinating that in America, like in the Western mind, Asian Americans exist as both not a threat and a threat, we simultaneously occupy both spaces as the model minority, but we could also be betraying the country,

[00:29:38] Virginia: We’re such a threat that they had to emasculate Asian men and turn Asian women to hypersexual beings that are preying on the white men to take them away from white women.

[00:29:52] Stella: but also subservient. Two white men, right? Both of these ideas that we’re talking about encompass the entirety of this Asian American experience, where we’re both invisible and we feel unrepresented, we don’t exist in some ways and yet in other ways we’re so marked as different.

This is a good example people give. If you were to draw a stick figure and you wanted to indicate the stick figure was a woman, you would likely add things to the stick figure because we presume the stick figure is a man. If you wanted to give the stick figure a race, you would add things.

And so we have to mark the difference from the generic universal default,

[00:30:33] Virginia: Yeah.

[00:30:34] Stella: that’s, that’s all the individuality we get. The other thing is like, white men in particular get to be individuals, even though so many of them are the same, they get to have this unique story.

They are the main character, right?

[00:30:47] Virginia: Right. Yeah.

[00:30:50] Stella: only thing notable about us is that we’re Asian American in the Western mind, right? That’s like the one thing that we get. That’s the one thing that makes us individual and anything outside of that is really ignored.

[00:31:03] Virginia: I’m still thinking about being invisible and you saying you’re marked as being Asian and a woman. If I am not in the Bay area and if I’m in an area where there are not a lot of Asians, then yes, I agree. that I do feel a lot more marked, but I try never to be around spaces like that. Like I was trying

[00:31:25] Stella: why we can’t leave California for this, for this reason. I mean, like we can’t live in another state. It would just be, for me, I think it would be too much of a culture shock.

[00:31:35] Virginia: Oh yeah. My husband says I’m in a bubble all the time and I don’t disagree with him. And also what’s wrong with being in this bubble? I don’t mind being in this bubble. I almost never interact with white men. Almost never.

[00:31:49] Stella: Same, same. Not voluntarily, anyway.

[00:31:53] Virginia: I mean, sure, I have friends who are married to white men and they’re perfectly nice people. I almost never interact with white women. I, I just have friends who are white and are women that I’ve known for 30, 40 years, when we went to Cabo for spring break, that was the most white people I’ve been around in like years

[00:32:13] Stella: I like how you went to a whole other country.

[00:32:16] Virginia: to Mexico.

[00:32:17] Stella: yeah, and it’s like, Oh, look at all these white people.

[00:32:21] Virginia: Well, because it was a resort and

[00:32:23] Stella: It’s a resort. Yeah,

[00:32:24] Virginia: it’s all white people. So I felt really Asian then. I don’t think I’ve been around that many white people in decades. At least a decade.

[00:32:33] Stella: This is why they say California Asians live in a bubble, right?

[00:32:38] Virginia: Well, sorry. I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry at all.

[00:32:45] Stella: We love it. We love the bubble.

[00:32:47] Virginia: Exactly. Let’s see.

[00:32:49] Stella: We’ve lost the plot.

[00:32:51] Virginia: We have lost the plot. Oh, I will say that I struggle with wanting to be perceived, but then when I am perceived, feeling incredibly uncomfortable with being perceived, but I really want it, if that makes sense. So, so for instance, I wouldn’t be a YouTuber or have podcasts or write or do all these things and then make all these things if I didn’t want to be perceived, right? Like no one makes art to not be consumed, I wrote a book. I want people to read it. And yet when people read it and then tell me what they think about it, especially if it’s really good, then I want to hide because. I have now been perceived and I’m kicking my feet because I’m so pleased that I have been perceived in something that I love doing and then perceived well. And yet my, or like when people tell you they love you and they’re like very sincere and they list all the things of why you’re, you’re great and like it feels good.

And then I’m just like, let’s never speak again.

[00:33:56] Stella: Let me go hide. I would like to be under a blanket now.

[00:34:00] Virginia: right. Which I find so bizarre because I really do want to be perceived. I really love being perceived. And yet when I am perceived in the way that I wish to be perceived, I’m like, that’s too much perception.

[00:34:17] Stella: Time to run away.

No, I feel you. So like you, I had candy colored hair for years. It’s one of the things I love to do, and people are like, I don’t understand why you would dye your hair pink and purple and blue if you don’t want people looking at you. Like, I was at Disneyland, and I remember people staring a little bit.

And I was like, what the hell is going on? Like, have these people never seen a fat Asian woman before? Like, what the fuck? And then I caught a glimpse of myself in like a store window and my, my hair was bright blue. Like my entire head was bright. And I was like, fuck, I forgot that I have blue hair right now.

[00:34:58] Virginia: it’s true. I was in Taipei and I have my routines and I go to the same person to buy the same thing every few days or so. And they’re like, Oh, how are you? I remember you did it. How are your kids? And I was like, how do they remember me? My husband’s like, your hair is blue. You have four children. And you’re covered in tattoos. I wonder why they remember you. And I’m like, Oh, valid,

[00:35:27] Stella: It’s so funny because I feel, I feel like my worries around being perceived extend to like my wardrobe choices.

Like if, yeah, like if I knew that nobody would be looking at me, I probably would have a full sleeve of tattoos at this point. Yeah, I think it’s because I want those things to be for me. Like when I dye my hair, it’s for me.

And it’s not necessarily, but I mean, it’s not like I can hide it when I go out and it’s not like I want to. I tend to get more positive attention for my hair than not, right? Like people will stop me in stores, little kids will comment on it. And I don’t like when it, when it happens, I don’t mind. People are like, Oh my God, I love your hair.

I’m like, Oh my God, thank you. It’s fun, right? And,

[00:36:17] Virginia: is, it is. Are

[00:36:19] Stella: we just have that culture of you chat up people in the grocery store. about whatever the hell is going on, like it’s not a big deal.

[00:36:27] Virginia: you sure you’re not an extrovert?

[00:36:29] Stella: Oh no, I’m positive. I get home and I’m like, the best thing about leaving your house is getting to come back inside.

[00:36:39] Virginia: that’s not how I feel ever.

[00:36:40] Stella: Yeah, yeah. But it is really funny because I’m like, do I hold off on wearing the things I want or getting tattoos because they would be for me and I just want it to be for me and I don’t necessarily want or care to know what other people think about it.

But again, it’s nine times out of 10, it tends to be. positive, right? Like, like with your tattoos in particular, I’m sure that the majority of the time when people comment on them, it’s people that are like, Oh my God, I love them. They look, they look amazing. They really do.

[00:37:17] Virginia: Thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever received negative comments from people. I mean, maybe on the internet probably, but like not

[00:37:26] Stella: And again, like, who cares if some people don’t like your tattoos, boo fucking who,

[00:37:30] Virginia: Right? Like, well, then don’t get them.

[00:37:33] Stella: Right? It’s like they weren’t for you, they’re for me, but I think that’s a part of what it is, is that I’m really struggling in that spot where I’m like, I actually don’t really care what people think, but this thing is for me and I don’t want to fucking let you have it.

[00:37:47] Virginia: Oh, that’s so interesting because for me, I got the tattoos and the multiple ear piercings and the candy colored hair and all these accessories and Chunky rings and k pop accessories galore and the bright clothes and the leather jackets and nerd wear like x men jackets and And wesley crusher bomber jackets because I love wesley.

I don’t care what people say.

[00:38:15] Stella: Spoiler alert, Virginia is a hot mom.

[00:38:18] Virginia: I’m not but that’s very sweet of you so on the one hand, I do these things because I like them and they bring me great joy and a non zero amount of glee, like glee, actual glee, but on the other hand, I also use it as a signal, if that makes

[00:38:36] Stella: Right, right, right, yes. No, totally.

[00:38:39] Virginia: And because I feel like it’s a really, easy way to meet people like you.

[00:38:46] Stella: Yes! I mean, this is why queer people are always like, how can I look more queer?

[00:38:52] Virginia: And I probably try to look more queer as an aesthetic and I’m not queer at all.

[00:39:01] Stella: This is false advertisement, Virginia.

[00:39:04] Virginia: I’m sorry. It’s not my fault that I like the queer androgynous look.

[00:39:10] Stella: But

[00:39:11] Virginia: Blame,

[00:39:11] Stella: there is

[00:39:13] Virginia: blame anime. Blame,

[00:39:16] Stella: any, there isn’t any one way to look queer, right? Like anybody can be queer. That’s like, there isn’t one way to look queer and yet, as a queer woman who is married to a cishet dude, I’m always like, how can I look more gay though? I would just like to let the gays know, I too, am gay. Am I gay?

Like, I, that’s a, it’s a real thing. So many, so many queer women who are married to men that, you know, and they’re bisexual, pansexual, queer. It, it’s like, how do I signify to other people? How do I signal? How do I send out the alert?

[00:39:52] Virginia: Then I’m not one of the straights.

[00:39:54] Stella: Right. And so obviously the solution here is I do need a full sleeve of tattoos.

[00:39:59] Virginia: And to wear more flannel. No.

[00:40:03] Stella: to just femme it up. I mean, hyperfemininity is very, very gay because

[00:40:09] Virginia: it is?

[00:40:09] Stella: are repulsed. Yeah, men are repulsed by women who are wearing a ton of bright makeup and love to wear cute bows and wear a ton of pink. Men are just like, that’s too much. That’s really gross. So men are really repulsed by hyperfemininity.

We could do a whole episode on it. I could show you pictures.

[00:40:27] Virginia: These men are dumb.

[00:40:31] Stella: right. Who doesn’t love? I mean, we love all women, but who doesn’t love a woman who’s hyper feminine?

[00:40:38] Virginia: Yeah. Like I’m so jealous. How do you have the time and the talent to do all these things? But, oh, but back to what I was saying, because. Let’s be real. That’s what I enjoy talking about myself. Is that I also use these signals to do the heavy lifting, of personality.

[00:41:01] Stella: I am pretty sure that it was your personality that got you the tattoos. It’s not the other way around, love.

[00:41:09] Virginia: right, right, right. But like, and so maybe this is just a disconnect with how I perceive myself and how others perceive me, but I would never, ever. In a million years ever say that I am cool and also I would never be a cool Asian,

[00:41:31] Stella: Oh my god, same, same feels, same feels. I too am like, oh my god, but I’m so boring.

[00:41:37] Virginia: I mean, it’s not even that I’m boring. It’s that I’m so cringe like, like, like,

[00:41:43] Stella: yeah.

[00:41:44] Virginia: Is there anything else you want to talk about?

[00:41:46] Stella: I think to, yeah, like, I think to tie it back into the concept behind our podcast, I’m really glad that we’re doing this podcast. because it is pretty brazen of us to even care about perception. Because I don’t think that Asian women are supposed to. We’re supposed to, I don’t know, be robots, I guess.

We’re not supposed to have an interior life. We’re not supposed to have feelings.

[00:42:11] Virginia: Even the Asian

[00:42:12] Stella: so,

[00:42:13] Virginia: you think, like, the, like, the, the, the, the cool Asians, you think


[00:42:19] Stella: you know what’s, You know what’s really funny about being a cool Asian in your 40s or looking like a cool Asian but being in your 40s? Is that people will judge you for that too. They’ll be like, why is she doing that at this point in her life? That’s something that people in their 20s do.

Which is a comment I got a lot about my hair for a while. People are like, aren’t you a little old for that now? It’s like, no. No, nobody is ever too old for candy colored hair. Thank you.

[00:42:46] Virginia: You’re around really judgy people. Why are there so

[00:42:51] Stella: I mean, maybe that’s the problem. I mean, maybe it’s all in my mind, but I have gotten comments

[00:42:58] Virginia: fascinating. That’s so bizarre. So one thing I do like about being perceived online is that people see the stupid things that I do. And because I like to talk about myself so much. They hear about the things that I do or the people I would like to do. And I mean, sure people have judged me.

I’m not saying that no one has judged me, but I would say the overwhelming responses, that’s so cool that you can do this. That’s so cool. I wish, I wish I could be like you. And I was like, you can, you have enough money,

[00:43:32] Stella: But

[00:43:34] Virginia: right?

[00:43:35] Stella: Does make us brazen, right? It does, it does make us brazen to exist, to be perceived, to do things worthy of being perceived.

[00:43:46] Virginia: Yeah. That’s what I like about being perceived because what is it? If you see it, you can be it, and that’s the whole, that’s the whole reason why Asian or white, you know, underrepresented people feel . Representation is so important, even though how you’re represented also matters, but you know, when you’re starving for anything, sometimes you’re like, oh, just tokenism is okay, right?

But like, it’s not, but I get why it, I get why people feel that is enough.

[00:44:20] Stella: Right? Like, if there’s literally never anybody of your background or that shares a similar identity to you on the screen or in a book, sometimes just being mentioned feels like enough at the time, right? Like you’re living in. You’re living with so much scarcity that even a couple drops is sufficient.

[00:44:38] Virginia: Yeah. And so I feel like that’s, that’s how, that’s when I like being perceived. I like being perceived by people who normally do not perceive people like them, that makes sense. And then I

[00:44:49] Stella: no, no, no.

[00:44:51] Virginia: and I like it because I feel as if my existence gives other people permission to exist.

[00:44:57] Stella: And that’s like the reason behind this podcast, I think, for both of us, right?

[00:45:01] Virginia: Yeah.

[00:45:02] Stella: This is what we want. We want people to know that we’re out here. And they can be out here, too.

[00:45:08] Virginia: And also I like to talk about myself.

[00:45:09] Stella: We both love to talk about ourselves, I fear.

[00:45:13] Virginia: And also, it gives us an excuse to talk to each other in, like, sort of in person.

[00:45:18] Stella: . been telling people, oh, we’re doing this podcast, and they’re like, wow, what is it, what is it about? And I’m like, it’s me and Virginia talking to each other. We’re literally just hanging out and nerding out and being amazing and weird.

And if people don’t like it, they don’t have to listen.

[00:45:36] Virginia: they don’t, but Brazn N8n, we believe in you and we thank you and we acknowledge you.

[00:45:42] Stella: Yes, we love you, Brazn N8n. , so I think on that note, I say you and I disappoint everyone who’s ever prayed on our downfall. By having a great time. We’re going to have a great time and Brazn N8n is going to have a great time and that’s what we’re here for.

[00:45:59] Virginia: that’s right. Well, I’m Virginia Duan. You can follow me at TheMandarinMama on Twitter and Instagram, or you can also follow me at VirginiaDuan_Official.

[00:46:14] Stella: And I’m your other co host, Stella, and we love you Brazen Nation. Good night.