Dec 7, 2007

Not your erotic, not your exotic

I have been talking with my roommate recently about my struggle with the way I keep my hair.
I Colour my hair and receive comments on how the light Colour suits me.
Sometimes I feel as if I keep coloring it to keep the attention… to sell my self out to what mainstream says is beautiful ( light long hair)
I use to have dark hair, I also use to get all these comments on how exotic I looked… my roommate calls it something like orientalism which is interpreted to refer to the study of the East by Westerners shaped by the attitudes of the era of European imperialism, it implies old-fashioned and prejudiced outsider interpretations of Eastern cultures and peoples.
ok so maybe people don’t mean it in a negative way, maybe people don’t realize that I am first nations and that the way I look is local. Well regardless I asked my roommate to write a blog about it because she would make it sound fancier, she sent me a link of a poet named Suheir Hammad… I went there but instead of posting the video I thought it would be nicer just to be able to write what she spoke!

Not Your Exotic, Not your Erotic

Don’t wanna be you’re exotic like some dark, fragile colorful bird, imprisoned, caged in a land foreign to the stretch of her wings

Don’t wanna be your exotic
Women everywhere

Some taller, darker, nicer then me but like me just the same.
Women everywhere carry my nose on their faces, my name on their sprits
Don’t seduce your self with my otherness!
My hair wasn’t put on top my head to incite you into some mysterious black voodoo, the beat of my lashes against each other aint some dark desert beat,
It’s just a blink,
Get over it!

Don’t build around me your fetish, fantasy, your lustful profanities to cage me in, clip my wings.

"Don’t wanna be your exotic

your loving of my beauty ain't more than
funky fornication plain pink perversion
in fact nasty necrophilia
cause my beauty is dead to you
I am dead to you

Not your
harem girl geisha doll banana picker
pom pom girl pum pum shorts coffee maker
town whore belly dancer private dancer
la malinche venus hottentot laundry girl
your immaculate vessel emasculating princess
don't wanna be

not your erotic
Not you’re exotic


Jenn said...

This just brought to mind a poem by Hiromi Goto...

leah said...

Hmmm... reminds me of the class of which I just finished writing my exam. I remember reading this article about how the people who have learned to "acculturate" themselves to the Western White culture pass by as being okay and thus can be tolerated. While others, however, who have more of a difficult time passing of as a white person, get "othered" and marginalized, and viewed as oddly different from the social norms. I think I am one of those people who have passed by as being "white"... like, I don't have a Filippino accent, I eat white food, I don't smell like Chinese soap, I shop at Capers and not Chinatown... I think people would definitely "other" (see me as being different) me for sure if I were/did those things.

So be true Leaha. Be yourself. Die your hair light, make it dark. Not to spite the dominant norm, and not to conform to their labels... but because you're you and you're unique. AND YOU'RE part of Canada's indigenous population, so you should make the rules of exoticism!!!

Anonymous said...

leaha, ur hair looks amazing with that slight lightness. u stunn me leaha, as alwayz