Iam wanting to write a story about a girl who has asthma, a learning disability and is considered by society to be less than average. She is also a little over weight. When she has been given immortality other immortals shun her and want her dead. To escape from this she goes to a martial arts temple in China. She is also an American. I was wondering how I could incorporate both cultures in my story?
Overweight Chinese American girl with asthma & learning disability, martial arts, & China
Disclaimer: I’ve written this response assuming that the main character herself is Chinese or Chinese-American.
Some stuff I’d like to discuss point-by-point:
Being an Asthmatic
Asthmatics don’t exactly have the best representation in media, so I’m worried about a non-Asthmatic writing a story where the main conflict is centered around the MC’s method of coping with ableism.
Especially considering how we’re portrayed as stereotypical nerds/geeks for not being absolute athletes (haha maybe because pushing ourselves that far will literally result in an asthma attack-)
I have a feeling that in addition to the point where Chinese people are already stereotyped as nerds, having her be asthmatic as well does mean you’ll have to be more careful in how you present her. We already have the whole “model minority, East Asian = nerd” thing going for us.
America’s definition of “overweight” looks different for all kinds of people!
Someone who’s statistically considered “overweight” by American standards might pass as being “average” (in American standards once again) and vice-versa! The existence of the word actually insinuates the existence of an ideal weight-- pretty fatphobic.
If you mean to say that she’s fat, chubby, and/or plump, then do so. Don’t dance around the term just because it’s deemed ‘undesirable’ by our Eurocentric beauty standards.
(Additionally, being chubby is associated with the nerd trope as well. More to watch out when developing her character.)
Mod Rune mentions the specific way you’ve phrased how as a result of her being overweight and asthmatic, she’s “considered by society to be less than average” and she’s shunned/wanted dead specifically for these two reasons.
Being disabled =/= incompetency or being less than an abled person. Once again, an OwnVoices situation would make sense; However I would still worry about infantilizing Asthmatic/chubby people this way.
The plot… oof.
I’m worried that your method of combating the already-delicate conflict (that she’s looking for a way to cope with her feelings of inadequacy induced by ableism/fatphobia), is pretty insulting. You specifically word her trip to China as an “escape” which I feel could have a much better reason-- your excuse as is sounds to lead into a story of “refinding myself at the home of my birth culture” or something like that- especially with the fact that she’ll be doing this at a martial arts temple. A very cultural aspect of China.
That being said; Even though a Chinese martial artist does feel rather stereotypical, it does help with asthma (source: me and Taekwondo)
Specifically, according to this study from NCBI on the correlation between asthmatic children and Taichichuan, results have shown that “12 weeks of Tai-Chi-Chuan could improve the pulmonary function, decrease airway inflammation, and improve quality of life in children with mild asthma”.
However Northern Shaolin, Hung Ga, Wing Chun, and other Chinese forms of martial arts could work as well! Please do research on the specific techniques and differentiate between them. Appropriating Chinese martial arts on top of the fact that it’s already rather tropey- very bad.
A different plot?
Perhaps don’t send her off to China to quote, "escape from how other [immortals shun her and want her dead]".
I think a better motivation for this change in landscape would be “She wanted to train to get stronger and improve her health with how it was negatively impacted because of her asthma.”
The thing with a lot of disabled people is that-- we don’t want to have to “keep up” with abled people. We don’t want to need to take all these extra measures just to be able to function ‘normally’ (or at least the one defined by society). I feel that the motives in your original plot panders to that idea that she must get stronger or else she’ll never be accepted by the other immortals. A Chinese-American asthmatic myself, I’d much rather see her self-worth measured through her own growth as an individual than how well she ‘fits in’ with non-asthmatics.
Marika mentions that people also often do martial arts for culturally-relevant exercise-- so this could also be a way for her to reconnect with her birth culture.
Sophia also mentions that being overweight has little on one’s skills as a martial artist; So it shouldn’t be used as an argument as to why someone shouldn’t be taking on a certain expertise. (Seconded, as someone who did kendo: some of the better kendoka were overweight and had more precision than I did --Jess)
Incorporating TCK Culture:
Look for stuff written by actual Chinese-American third-culture kids!
Every little part of life- from the stories parents tell their kids before bed to the kind of food we eat daily- is 100% influenced by both our caregivers and the community we live in. For me personally, we’d have hotpot dinners with other Asian families during the Lunar New Year and I’d typically be sent to Chinese school on Sundays as well.
Mods Jess and Lesya touch up on some TCK elements in this ask as well! (Wanting to Learn More About Culture Because of Chinese Name) However your MC celebrates her cultures will also depend on how assimilated into America her family is.
Like I said earlier: look for materials that Chinese-American TCKs and immigrants have written! There’s no better way to learn about certain customs than getting them from the actual source.
My ending thoughts!
These are honestly traits that I’d love to see more, as an asthmatic Chinese-American myself who has done martial arts in the past, haha.
Be extra careful when a ton of your character’s traits are found in East Asian (Chinese) caricatures! Be sure to flesh her out as a three-dimensional character as this description that you’ve given us (regarding her conflict) makes me go >.>-- I don’t like it as is.
Give her motivations for herself that aren’t purely to conform to others (per the submissive Asian girl trope). Having a bullied Asian girl does feel like it plays into this, so please don’t have her measure her worth as an individual based off of the standards set by abled people!
Do tons of research on Chinese martial arts! Marika mentions huge points below that I want you to consider when giving her a specific speciality-- just saying “a martial arts temple” doesn’t cut it.
(As always, any reader feedback/additions would be appreciated!)
~ Mod Emme
These are my thoughts as someone who has practiced various styles of Chinese martial arts.
While the quality of the instructor and the student’s efforts are crucial, I think you need to be clear on the following:
The style of martial arts your character will be doing
Their physical limitations
The type of learning disability they have.
Different fighting styles suit the limitations of different body types in different ways
A person who is overweight may find styles with explosive movements that put weight on vulnerable joints like the knees to be painful. Styles that favor stable stances may be more feasible than those that emphasize movements with lots of air time, crouching and jumping.
A person who is inflexible will need a style that encourages them to keep limber to avoid getting hurt.
A person with diminished lung capacity will need a style that safely challenges their endurance.
Different learning disabilities might make certain styles more or less difficult to learn
ADHD may favor fast fighting styles with complex move sets and a wide variety of weapons.
Issues associated with memory retention may make styles that emphasize sparring easier than those that focus on memorizing forms
Make no mistake, the culture of a style will be as much of a consideration for your character as the Chinese and American cultural influences. Do your research, and inquire with practitioners as to what styles would work well for your characters.
The tumblr blog How to Fight Write would likely be a good resource on the physical logistics of different styles.
453 notes · View notes
my headcanon sexualities and pronouns for rrverse characters part 2
Magnus Chase - he/him, pansexual
Alex Fierro - he/she, queer
Mallory Keen - she/her, bisexual
Thomas Jefferson Jr. - he/him, aromantic ace
Halfborn Gunderson - he/him, straight
Samirah Al Abbas - she/her, straight
Amir Fadlan - he/him, bisexual
Blitzen - he/him, gay
Hearthstone - he/they, gay
Gunilla - she/her, bisexual
Carter Kane - he/him, straight
Sadie Kane - she/they, bisexual/polysexual
Zia Rashid - she/her, bisexual
Walt Stone - he/him, bisexual
Jasmine Anderson - she/her, lesbian
Cleo - she/her, aromantic
Felix - they/them, ace
Julian - he/they,bisexual
Alyssa - she/her, pansexual
(let me know if i missed someone you want me to include)
61 notes · View notes
And I think it’s that which most people feel right now - unsettled. Uprooted. I realize with people moving out and away from my life, our vivid globalized modern world seems to spin faster, creating an inherent homelessness. There are few people which have lived in the same place all their lives and it seems very peaceful and quiet to me, like you establish yourself in a steady environment without too much change altogether. What must it feel like not to be torn between different places, always missing someone? This nostalgic reminiscence on the one hand and then this longing for something-else, undefined, far out there. There are many advantages to being at home everywhere and nowhere, I acknowledge that. It creates a certain openness and curiosity, and it leaves you feeling that wherever you are, everyone is people like you and I and creating the possibility of being at home anywhere. It also adds to critically questioning your own cultural beliefs, norms and values. However, it leaves you homeless as well. In most countries, people at least have nationalist pride. They feel happy and proud to be of their country - and unless it includes the exclusion of others or devalue other countries, it seems somewhat healthy to me. Germans are not proud of their country. It seems, we live in a history of shadows that still hover over our present; and sometimes, I feel like that myself, haunted by the shadows of the past, living in a state of myself defined by these dark spots, unable to escape because this is me, this is who I am. We build our identities on what has formed us, our personal history, and often times, we don‘t feel like we fit into the landscape of our body and the politics of our minds.
Is it our postmodern quest for a selfhood marked by fluidity, for individuality, our religion of self-realization that actually unsettles us? We‘re taught to move beyond borders, even if these exist for a reason. I‘ve moved away from the meadows and the fences I‘ve grown up with, the dichotomies of good and evil, black and white. And I‘ve learnt that freedom can lie both within and outside of fences. Albeit, to actually have the discernment, the wisdom of which borders to keep and which fences to tear down is another skill that requires long practice.
I‘ve come to think after all this moving, after all the different places and apartments I‘ve lived in, they all leave a mark on you, a certain feeling, memory or smell in the vast rooms of your heart. You never really let go of a place. Like with a person, you can transform it in your imagination by witnessing the ongoing change there. You could also keep an idealized version of it within. I guess it‘s just the same thing as with a human being, you believe you know a place but it evades classification in its constant evolution and flux.
Why then is it that we long for a constant, a thread connecting past and present, future and all the ways we move through time and space? I‘d say that we were made for a constant place, however not as in the perfect home with the perfect garden in the ideal spot (although it is a dream many, including me, fancy - the ocean-view-home, the remote countryside house, etc.). Rather, we long for both eternity - which encompasses all spheres of time known to us, obviously -, and for a home; or more precisely - a place that enables us to feel entirely ourselves and loved, known and secure in. I agree with C.S. Lewis‘s conclusion that our hearts must have been made for a different place. I neither reject nor cling to the idea of paradise. Through all the images, paintings and popular culture it has become somewhat cliché, somewhat kitschy, and somewhat unreal. But I still believe in such a place, and I believe, it must be God‘s heart where we‘re most at home, his lungs where our breath came from, his hands that molded our shape, and his eyes that saw us before our creation, even before the beginning of (human) time and the laying of world‘s foundation. ~
29 notes · View notes