(An aside: how many of us Asian women writers have been mistaken for each other at literary events? Raise your hand if you didn’t point out the mistake just to save the dignity of the other person/thrust yourself into denial over this event occuring at all! Raise your other hand if you made a beeline for the wine right after!)
I suppose it could be that easy to wear one of us like a mask, as long as all the tedious aspects of our identities and politics were stripped away. Cut out the background, the body, the pain, and the pleasure that all come with being human and you have the perfect cipher. Yi-Fen’s captor has achieved the ultimate in separating the political from the personal, which happens to be the poetic endgame that he professed in a letter to Poetry in 2010. In reducing a racialized identity to a mere alias, he seems to be making a subtextual argument for racial colorblindness: we are all humans under our cultural baggage, right? But if that were true, why would he even think to use Yi-Fen to bolster his career? How cynical can you get?
Read more | “Yi-Fen Chou and the Man Who Wore Her” | Soleil Ho | Weird Sister