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28 February 2021

Film “Hidden Figures” breaks the stereotype

It’s been thought women are not good at mathematics and not suitable for engineering jobs. But that kind of notions were proved to be nonsense a long time ago. The film “Hidden Figures” described three Afro-American women working for NASA rocket engineering department as mathematicians, in Jim-Crow era, 1950’s to 1960’s.

 

I learnt about the film by Voice of America article on NASA’s International Space Station program. NASA named the supply ship to the ISS Katherine Johnson after one of mathematicians in the biopic film.

 

They were not only being woman but Black women, who had to sit down on back seats in public bus and could not share the same bathroom with their white co-workers. But they did contribute to the very difficult space programs by calculating the orbit and designing rockets.

 

If they were white male, this story cannot be a film.

 

Breaking stereotype is the most important factor to counter racism or other type of discrimination such as gender, and sexual orientation. Stereotype is the origin of discrimination. Prejudice is biased view on others using stereotype images. Then people discriminate others based on prejudice.

 

Stereotype is baseless information about others. Like all Japanese can do Karate, which I don’t. You cannot generalize others based on such stereotype. The sad thing is people judge others by these stereotypes and then sometimes treat them badly.

 

In the film, NASA officials found the women very useful to the organization’s projects so they accepted them equally. If they hadn’t accepted them as legitimate staff, NASA would have lost such great assets and wouldn’t have succeeded in historic space missions in those days.

 

Stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination undermine progress of our society.

 

Let’s get rid of such things from our world.

27 August 2020

Film "Bombshell" Trump and FOX culture in America

A real story about women who worked in America's conservative mainstream news media network, FOX during 2016 US presidential election. 

A popular anchorwoman, Gretchen was demoted and finally fired because she refused to accept her boss, Ailes, president of FOX news network. Then she decided to sue him for his constant harassment over a year. 

Another popular anchorwoman, Megyn Kelly was also harassed by him in the past. At first she was reluctant to join Gretchen's lawsuit fight but later she joined for women's rights. 

What was surprising to me was, even in 21st century America, such cases happen in a major corporation and it was really courageous thing for women to file a lawsuit against a boss. 

Women were still dealing with harassment but tried to conceal their emotional struggle in public. They often blamed themselves for what happened. 

FOX and its owner Murdoch supported Trump. Actually FOX culture was really Trump-like, sexist and racist. But people love such culture. Actually, more people view FOX than liberal news channels like MSNBC or CNN. 

FOX is like Goebbels strategy channel, attracting and harmonizing conservative people. The media represents the very honest opinion of some major portion of America who are fed-up with political correctness and diversity campaign. FOX is like silver-fox. 

This year, another election, it seems Trump can be reelected. His opponent, Biden is not a very strong candidate. Even polls indicated Biden has got more support but Trump has been supported by hidden fans who never responded to the surveys. 

America is dominated by FOX and Trump culture. It is just scary but this is the real America we have to deal with. 

15 September 2019

Film “East Side Sushi” Can Japanese accept the change?

A story of a Mexican American woman who worked in Japanese cuisine restaurant for the purpose of getting a stable job and later came to want to be a sushi chef. The story took place in California.

In Japan you can rarely meet a female sushi chef. It is said that women are unfit for the job because their body temperature is normally higher than men so they cannot grip rice and raw fish properly.

But such things are nonsense. The bottom line is it is just male chauvinism that prevented women from entering that industry.

In the film the owner of restaurant preferred Asian men standing and making sushi inside counter facing directly to customers. It was his intent to keep the image as a Japanese restaurant. She cooked in the inner kitchen. She could make better sushi and never smoke but Asian men who smoked were allowed to face customers. 

Why are we so stubborn?

The film seemed to question how Japanese should deal with new ideas and educates us how to live with diverse population. Meaning we have to give up conventional stereotypes of our own. 

There are many foreigners who do Japanese things lately. There are many foreign sumo wrestlers. There are many women who do what traditionally men do. 

A dark skin Mexican female sushi chef indeed looks odd to us but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. As long as they can make delicious ones, it is desirable. 

In the film protagonist knew importance of freshness even before she became a chef. That is very much related to sushi making. 

Japanese cultures are not just for Japanese to enjoy and preserve but all of the people in the world. 

Besides above, what you can learn from the film is sushi rice is made with vinegar, sugar, and salt. Japanese chef use carbon steel knives, sticking chopsticks on rice is very inappropriate act which resembles funerals. 

Great lessons for Japanese viewers. Most Japanese never knew. 

 

14:15 Posted in Culture, Film, Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: sushi, racism, feminism

05 January 2017

Film "A Geisha" Feminist study movie

1st time I watch this film was more than 20 years ago. When I was attending US university. I took a course titled "History of Japanese and Chinese women." During the 4 month-long semester, the attending students had to see the old Japanese film as part of course requirement and the students all discussed matter related to the theme of the film. The film was of course, played with subtitle.

The film was released in 1953, 8 years after Japan's surrender to the war. Japan regained sovereignty and new constitution that ensures basic human rights and women's suffrage became effective. The story took in Gion district, famous Geisha town in Kyoto.

So women including Geisha girls should have basic human rights as other people. The two geisha got in trouble with their clients. One younger apprentice geisha (called Maiko) was about to be raped by her client so she fought back and hurt him. That aggrevated the client. Then the older geisha who ran Geisha house and hired the apprentice had to compensate by sleeping with the client's big client so that both can reach a big business agreement.

She was used as a prostitute and a tool for the business. The apprentice was shocked to know that because she thought that is not what a Geisha does.

In the last scene, the older Geisha says "You are living in a new era. I want you to keep your body clean."

A sad fact of Geisha life.

Nowadays, such thing should not be done so often, I believe.

A lot of people seem to misunderstand job of Geisha. Geisha literally means "Artist" or "Entertainer."

Geisha is after all, entertainer. Just showing dances, and singing songs in the party room. Of course they escort guests by pouring sake and chatting with them. They do not sleep with guests.  

They are not prostitutes. They have never been like that even in the very old days. But what happened to them is sometimes Geisha needed a big money to make a debut buying expensive kimono. So easiest way to get that is have patrons. Geisha agencies preferred that way so that the agencies could get back the debut fund they owed their hired geishas. Some popular ones did not have patrons because she could payback the debut fund only by entertaining guests in party rooms.  

Geisha not only entertain adult men but they entertain families including children. No alcohol, and nasty or obscure talk in the room. Just enjoying shows, meals, casual talk and views from the window. Independent and decent women's occupation.

That should be the tradition we have to preserve.

15:46 Posted in Film, Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, women, feminism, geisha, kyoto

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