Dr. Eliza Noh from the California State University-Fullerton has spent much of her professional life studying depression and suicide among Asian-American women. She was inspired to do so and was triggered by her sister’s suicide incident in 1990. In one of her findings, she mentioned about the culturalist biases in psychology. This explained the tendency to expound on Asian-American psychology in culturalist terms (Confucianism and Acculturation model,) static and the dualistic portrayals of Asian American culture vs western culture (Traditional vs. Modern. )
She also explained the roles of race and gender issues that were experienced by many Asian American women. This included the role of orientalism and the stereotype of the “perpetual foreigner,” including the racial and gender dynamics in perpetuating cultural hegemonies, and the impact of racism and sexism. As described in the presentation, Asian Americans are often expected to be smart in math and science. Other educational expectations are also set because of their race and ethnicities.
For most Asian Americans, suicide survivors had developed diverse healing strategies that challenged liberal approaches to recovery; there is this unfeasibility of recovery itself. One thing that was found helping Asian American women that reduced suicide commitments was writing. It also empowered these women to give themselves another chance in life. My thoughts on this presentation were normal, for I was Asian myself. It is a fact that Asian Americans often carry high expectation from parents, friends, or even from their own self-esteem.
I personally experienced that something was inappropriate with regards to my academic ranking in junior high school. My academic stance in school was not as high as the expectations set by my parents that led me to believe that I was not love and that I was a useless child. I even thought about leaving home and just be part of the homeless. But my friends encouraged me to look forward and forget about the limitations at home, and enjoy my life the way I wanted.
After all, I enjoyed my junior high with tons of fun and excitements; surprisingly I had also reached the expectations that were for myself improvement. Learning from this class and from Dr. Eliza Noh’s presentation gave me an insight of the many expectations set for women in all the cultural perspectives. This includes not only the bodily image that the public and media are looking for, but also the pressure from family and peers in pursuing educational goals. A failure in the accomplishment of goals normally results in many uncomfortable scenarios, and may even lead to suicide.
Courtney from Study Moose
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