Is it too late?

Yuri’s comment from our previous class really struck me as I was thinking about my own growth from a teenager to a young adult. Sitting in the Gender & Media class, I only now am starting to see the aspect of images and representations in the media that should make me tilt my head, question, and take action (whether it be sharing my thoughts on this blog, or doing my own investigation to find a more helpful context). But outside of class, I get swept up in the everyday cycle and continue to not only evaluate myself, but also let others evaluate me based on these images and (mis)representations of me in the media. By “me”, I mean identities of myself both visible and invisible––male, Asian (South Korea), adult, international student, gay, cisgendered, able. If I have been socialized to evaluate myself against white, male, heterosexual, and attractive ideal within a heteronormative society for the first 18 years of my life, how do I learn to unlearn these “values” and respect myself more? Even looking back at my high school years, I realize how unaware I was of the stereotypes and inaccurate representations of Asians and gay/lesbian people were both in the media and the society (and the lack of representation of gay Asians, transgendered people, asexual people). Not only was the message from the society strong enough to suppress me into denying my own identity, but it was also showing me that my underrepresented or misrepresented identities didn’t really matter––that putting a pink triangle on your backpack, eating cafeteria-versions of “Asian” food during the Chinese New Year, and going to Asian Students Associations (school affinity group) was “enough”. I’m learning to really examine the world around me, but it’s proving to be a difficult process to maintain, and that it seems like the rest of the world hasn’t changed––my friends from high school who share multiple identities as me go on with their “normal”, more familiar ways. So is it too late––for me to completely rewire myself, for my generation to become more aware, and for the world to take action?

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