WANG opposes valuing women based on how they look, rather than who they are and what they do. WANG also opposes the prohibitive and narrow beauty standards imposed on women that reflect racist, heteronormative, capitalist, sexist, ageist, cissexist and disableist ideologies.
Women everywhere are expected to conform: to remove their body hair, to wear make-up yet look ‘natural’. To diet, and to wear restrictive clothing. All in order to be considered acceptable, respectable and feminine. If you support women's choice to refuse these regulatory practices, then join WANG! It's not just for the unshaven and undeodorised but for anyone who believes that women shouldn't be reduced to how they look and that women do not need to be conventionally beautiful to be attractive. We are much more than our beauty, and the beauty we have is manifold. People of any/no gender are welcome too, and we support all struggles against the pressure to conform to hegemonic representations.
This tumblr is no longer affiliated with WANG the facebook group.
I always think it is important to say that I’m here today as a queer, disabled, korean woman, transracial/transnational adoptee, raised in a US territory in the Caribbean. None of which are more or less important. For me, these are not just descriptive terms; they are political identities, based out of my own and other people’s lived experiences, and I understand them—all of them—to be powerful ways of moving through and understanding the world…
What I have learned from living in the south has helped me to survive as a queer person; and what I have learned from being adopted has helped me to survive as a disabled person.
To me, femme must include ending ableism, white supremacy, heterosexism, the gender binary, economic exploitation, sexual violence, population control, male supremacy, war and militarization, and ownership of children and land.
Ableism must be included in our analysis of oppression and in our conversations about violence, responses to violence and ending violence. Ableism cuts across all of our movements because ableism dictates how bodies should function against a mythical norm—an able-bodied standard of white supremacy, heterosexism, sexism, economic exploitation, moral/religious beliefs, age and ability. Ableism set the stage for queer and trans people to be institutionalized as mentally disabled; for communities of color to be understood as less capable, smart and intelligent, therefore “naturally” fit for slave labor; for women’s bodies to be used to produce children, when, where and how men needed them; for people with disabilities to be seen as “disposable” in a capitalist and exploitative culture because we are not seen as “productive;” for immigrants to be thought of as a “disease” that we must “cure” because it is “weakening” our country; for violence, cycles of poverty, lack of resources and war to be used as systematic tools to construct disability in communities and entire countries.
I would like to share two quotes with you that resonated with me for today:
“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.” — Audre Lorde
“To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself, value yourself. And that’s political, in its most profound way.” —June Jordan
I want to say upfront that I don’t identify as femme. I have struggled with identifying as Femme. I don’t politically identify as “Femme,” even though I get the lived experience of being a femme of color in so many ways. And frankly, much of this is because I have had horrible interactions with self-identified femmes of color, much of which has been because of their ableism and ignorance around how ableism, white supremacy and gender oppression get leveraged everyday in service of each other. Much of it has been because of the palpable culture of ableism within queer people of color community. And some of it has been because I have spent most of my life as a physically disabled child, youth and adult adoptee of color trying to find my way into “human,” let alone “woman.”
As a disabled child shuffled through the medical industrial complex and as a baby of color shipped across the world to “new parents,” I have felt more like a different species, a freak, an object to be fixed/saved, a commodity. Like someone who has been owned and whose body has never felt like it was mine. Like someone who they were trying to make human (read: able bodied, white), if only the surgeries had worked and the braces had stuck. Like something that never could even get close to “desirable” or “feminine” or “woman” or “queer.” Like ugly. Not human.
Many people assume that I identify as femme and even call me femme, but the truth is that “femme” has not felt like a term where I belonged nor was it a place I wanted to be. I rarely see femme being done in a way that actually challenges and transforms gender, rather than colluding in an alternative enforcing of gender. Many of the people in this room are more invested in being beautiful and sexy than being magnificent. Even something as small as the time I nervously asked a comrade femme of color friend of mine to wear sneakers in solidarity with me, instead of her high heels, because I didn’t want to be the only one and didn’t want to get chided from other femmes of color about my shoes (as so often has happened). She said “no,” but she (of course) “totally didn’t think there was anything wrong with wearing sneakers.”