Lack of appreciation and acceptance really wears on a childadmin / March 10, 2019
Lack of appreciation and acceptance really wears on a child, both physically and mentally. In the short story, The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston it invites the reader into the lifestyle and upbringing of an asian-american girl. The cultural appropriation and traditions of Asians is conserved and patriarchal. This is why the main character struggles with growing up as a female because she sees how the males in her culture have a higher advantage in society and in the family. The narrator feels unworthy and unaccepted being a female. The character expresses the expectations that chinese village girls have and how that correlated to being raised in the united states. Being raised with heavily traditional asian roots and growing up in america affected the character by her not wanting to be a female, being asian-american and ultimately by allowing her to be the warrior woman that she is today.
Being asian and growing up in america with your own cultural appropriations and expectation . Being a female and not being seen equal to your male counterparts, really can hurt a young girls self-esteem. The character struggles finding her place in society and life because she has such a disadvantage, The character recalls her mother saying “there’s no profit in raising girls. Better to raise geese than girl”. Hearing this can is very hurtful towards anyone let alone your own child, she often felt that she had no value or acceptance so she would rebel. She would scream “I’m not a bad girl, I’m not a bad girl, I’m not a bad girl”multiple time in a row. According to the narrator, “There is a Chinese word for the female I- which is “slave”. Since she refused to cook she would have to wash the dishes and she would purposely crack a few of them. This was her way of “getting back and being slightly spiteful towards her mother. Who would only yell at her “bad girl”. This stereotypical idea of a female being subordinate to a male was not going to be the reality of our narrator. For these reasons our main character did not want to be a female. She longed for the advantages that “the boys” got and desperately craved the attention, acceptance and loved the boys received from her parents. Through her shared experiences the narrator shows the reader what it’s like to be a female in a male dominated society.
The feeling and treatment she was given as a child festered a spitefulness in this young girl’s heart. She did clever things that she knew would make her mother mad, but did it anyways. It was her way of getting back at her mother and a way for her to rebel. Growing up it was her understanding that if she doesn’t “do something big and fine…myher parents would sell meher” whenever they would return back to China. It definitely wasn’t a positive thought for her because it makes her believe that as long as she is a girl/female no matter how grand her accomplishments may be they will never come close to even being satisfactory for her parents. For example, most parents whose child got straight A’s in their academic classes would be elated. But not the narrator’s mother, “I got straight A’s, mama” and her mother instead of praising her or acknowledging her for her accomplishment followed with this response “Let me tell you a true story about a girl who saved her village”. Implying that her grades aren’t truly something “big or fine”. The narrator grew out of trying to please her mom because she felt that anything she could do wouldn’t amount to anything in her mother’s eyes, which eventually allowed her to fester and become spiteful towards her mother. She went as far as to”crack one or two” when she had to wash the dishes and of course her mother would yell “bad girl” and it made her gloat instead of crying. She knew it would upset her mother and that’s why she would do it, she wanted her mom to feel how she feels; wanted her to understand what it feels to have all her hard work mean absolutely nothing and more importantly what it feels like to be outcasted and unloved by your family.
Continuously, Though she was raised with heavy traditional asian roots and she didn’t want to be a female nor an asian american it ultimately prompted her to be the “woman warrior” that she is today. Whenever she would return to visit her family she said she would “wrap myher American successes around meher like a private shawl” which essentially was a way for to grow and look past the cruel hurtful things her family would say. She would wear her hard work and what she saw as an accomplishment proudly, like a shield. Against the hate and negativity. She said ” the swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar. May my people understand that resemblance soon” And “what we have in common are words at our backs”. In other words they share similar experiences of being outcasted, unwanted and unappreciated but by them both breaking through the stereotypical mold of a woman. They both surpassed the limitations that their ethnic backgrounds have placed on them. Finding their voices, allowed them to use their words as revenge and them two alike have labels and words they were called that don’t properly represent their character.
In conclusion, due to the characters upbringing of strict asian based traditions she didn’t want to be a female. She saw first handedly how the roles of females and males differentiated, and unfortunately the female role got the lower end of the stick. Which made her have feeling of not wanting to be a girl anymore and not be an asian -american anymore ,but ultimately it prompted her to be the warrior woman she is today.