Smashing stereotypical portrayals of East Asian women in books and theatre [video]

Yang-May Ooi, writer/ performer of Bound Feet Blues spoke at the launch of the Anglo Asiatic Arts & Heritage Alliance launch in April about “Tiger Spirit Women” – dynamic, intelligent, independent and fierce East Asian women who are the anti-thesis of the stereotypical portrayal of them in books and theatre in Western culture.

Yang-May says: “My creative work is dedicated to smashing the stereotype of the docile, passive China-doll like East Asian woman who exists solely in the domestic sphere and to portraying us as we really are – active agents taking our place in the world, capable, empowered and forces to be reckoned with.”

In her talk, she discusses her two novels, The Flame Tree and Mindgame, and Bound Feet Blues as well as her new theatre and book project Butterfly in Blue Jeans.

You can watch her whole talk in this video below (approx 8 mins):


You can  BUY BOUND FEET BLUES, THE BOOK – please click on the links below:





Boy or girl? A gender busting clothing line from Selfridges

Selfridges is creating a gender blended clothes shopping space so that you can select clothing that is not gender stereotyped. How cool is that!

This news piques my interest because I’ve always been a tomboy. In Bound Feet Blues,  I talk about wearing boy clothes and boy shoes. One of the themes of the show is gender roles and identity within a cultural expectation of what a woman should be like – and look like in the context of her feet and clothing.

You can check out the Agender section in Selfridges website – or go to the store itself –  to see how their clothes may  or may not complement your personal style.

UEG Para Bellum jersey shorts (Black

From what I can see, the clothing seems generally shapeless and baggy so as to hide all curves or forms that might give an observer a clue to the wearer’s gender.

What that made me realise was that I don’t want to look genderless! Despite still retaining a tomboy sensibility, I love being a woman and I enjoy wearing clothes that express the femininity of my physique. It’s just that I don’t go for the particularly “femmey” look involving flower prints, floaty skirts and girly shoes. I haven’t really analysed my personal style before but I suppose it’s still tomboyish but Continue reading

Do you suffer from shoe envy?

In Bound Feet Blues, I talk about how I used to envy men their solid, sturdy shoes. Men’s shoes give them the freedom to stride around as if they own the world. Whereas some women’s shoes – especially the more feminine, delicate ones – felt like they hobbled me and restricted my ability to move around.

In particular, I loved the look of brogues and longed to own a pair. But men’s shoes are of course huge and would never fit me. And I would feet too embarrassed to go into the men’s section of shoe shops to ask to try their shoes on.

The great thing now about our post-modern, post-feminist world is that there are brogues made for women – like this rather elegant pair…

Shop the Masculine Tailoring issue of THE EDIT magazine. Church's | Burwood polished-leather brogues.



Do you suffer – or have you ever suffered – from shoe envy too? And if so, what and who did you envy..?

Continue reading

Follow my Mood Board for Bound Feet Blues on Pinterest

Images can help the creative process. Artists, writers and other creatives use Mood Boards to help them in their work.  Discover how Author and Story Performer Yang-May Ooi has been using Pinterest to collect pictures in a Mood Board for her current project, Bound Feet Blues.

For Bound Feet Blues, I’ve found it helpful to collect images of bound feet and the Chinese cheong sahm (long dress) as well as other images – no matter how tangently – that relate to the various themes I’m exploring:

# Chinese Continue reading