rants, raves and randomness
It’s a tough being a woman. In this samurai culture where your gender determines your behavior, your future – your worth, basically- nothing is worse than being a woman. Oh wait, there is. Being a non-Japanese Asian woman, things can’t get any worse.
One of the complaints against me by students was that I don’t smile. There’s this expectation to be both cute, entertaining but professional, expectations that aren’t expected of male teachers. I don’t smile, a male teacher told me. But no one complains. Why do I get a flood of complaints about not smiling?
And when I smile a lot, male students misinterpret it. I had to block a student for being overly-friendly. I am not the only one. Not at my school. Not anywhere. Predators at other schools have found ways to exploit the system.
The middle-aged gentleman had previously studied English with Olivia while wearing the shortest of shorts. On this winter day in February 2012, he wore track pants.
During the lesson, Olivia could hear the client’s hand brushing against his pants. But since he constantly scratched himself due to a skin condition, she thought little of it.
“He was sitting right up to the desk so I couldn’t see what was happening down there. A few minutes before the end of the lesson, he pushed himself back and I could see he had a visible erection, and I could see he was stroking it with one hand.” When their eyes met, she says, “He looked at me in a challenging way.”
Olivia believes that if she had been asked the day before it happened, she could have told you exactly how she would’ve handled the situation. But “in the moment, I kind of just froze,” she says. “Everything flew out of my head and I really didn’t know what to do. So I just kept teaching.”
The student then started using two hands.
When the lesson ended, Olivia had to get him to finally pack up his things and leave by telling him she had another student coming.
“I broke down after he was gone,” she says — crying enough during her next lesson that her female student never booked a class with Olivia again.
Olivia says her managers at Gaba, an English conversation school chain with 39 branches across Kanto, Kansai and Chubu, were not supportive. Unable to speak to her instructor support leader (ISL), who had gone home for the day, she emailed him and copied in her previous ISL and the area manager, a non-Japanese male. Unlike regular teachers at Gaba, whom the company considers contractors, ISLs are full-time Gaba employees who act as assistant managers. Most are non-Japanese former Gaba instructors.
However, rather than blocking the client from her schedule, management told her to be patient while they investigated. “It ended up making me feel like they were accusing me of lying,” says Olivia.
Mccrostie, James. The Japan Times. June 16, 2014. Harassers exploit Gaba’s ‘man-to-man’ lesson format Web. November 7, 2014. < www. japantimes.co.jp/ community/2014/06/16/ issues/ harassers-exploit-gabas-man-man-lesson-format >
I shared my woes with a female student. She said, well, it’s because you’re not wearing a ring. And if you smile at them, they think you like them. Great. In this country, it’s always my fault.
Personally, I’m tired of creeps that come in all colors: by that I mean Japanese and foreigners alike. Students leaving “gifts” ; managers trying to bed me; potential students trying to lure me to their homes to teach their “5 year-old daughters”. I wasn’t born yesterday, motherf*ck*rs. And I’m done blaming myself. It’s not like I look like Zhang Ziyi ( I wish) or dress provocatively(I don’t). No matter what I do, no matter what I look like or how I dress, there will be sexual advances. And not only to me, but to many women everywhere. Because it’s not me, not us. It’s them. They are the problem. A gay friend once said, “Hindi ako binabastos dahil bading ako. Bastos lang talaga sila.” Blaming women for how men act is unfair and will get us nowhere. We have to accept that these predators are the problem. There is nothing we could have done that would make them act any better. As a society, we have to accept that and hold them accountable.
It’s come to a point that I’ve decided to train how to kill people. This is now a part of my weekly routine. My mentor, an Israeli old enough to be my dad, empowers me physically and psychologically – incredibly refreshing, after being subjected to the “you’re only a woman, know your place” kind of thinking everyday. He tells me: “There is nothing you can not do”, “Don’t ever think you cannot beat them”. Sometimes, he even imparts wisdom to all of us women taking his class (3 of us, basically, among all the men): “Guys are idiots” or “Testicles are here! Aim here!”. Creeps, be warned, I am not going to be an easy target!
It’s disappointing, that at this day and age, women like me should still feel threatened. From the train gropers to flashers to predator / students. It’s ironic , considering PM Abe is committed to “Unleashing the potential of Womenomics” , a self-proclaimed feminist politician in this highly patriarchal samurai society. But how committed is PM Abe to his womenomics program, really?
Just a couple of months ago, Abe’s colleague, Akihiro Suzuki, shouted a sexist jibe at a female politician.
From Businessweek :
On a day when Abe was trying to trumpet the success of his economic reform program, Suzuki’s sexist heckling of a female lawmaker in the Tokyo city assembly was dominating the news.
Einhorn, Bruce. Bloomberg Businessweek. Japanese Politicians Forget They’re Supposed to Be Feminists. June 25, 2014. Web. November 7, 2014. < www. businessweek. com/articles/ 2014-06-25/ abes-colleague-akihiro-suzuki- apologizes-for-slurring- female-colleague >
From Japan Times :
Shiomura, a member of Your Party, said her fellow lawmakers yelled out remarks like “You should give birth first” and “Can’t you give birth to a baby?” while she was raising questions about policies related to the nation’s declining birth rate and other demographic problems.
Kameda, Masaaki and Nagata, Kazuaki. The Japan Times. Lawmaker apologizes for sexist jibe. June 23, 2014. Web. November 7, 2014. < www. japantimes. co.jp /news /2014/06/23/ national/ tokyo-assemblyman-suzuki-admits-heckling- lawmaker-with-sexist -remarks/ >
To make matters worse, they actually tried to sweep the incident under the carpet.
Earlier Monday, Suzuki denied making the remark when asked by reporters. His own website claims he stands behind the policy of “realizing a society with a better working environment for women” and promotes the idea of work-life balance and reflecting the voices of Tokyo women in the city’s politics.
Kameda, Masaaki and Nagata, Kazuaki. The Japan Times. Lawmaker apologizes for sexist jibe. June 23, 2014. Web. November 7, 2014. < www. japantimes.co.jp / news/2014/ 06/ 23/ national/ tokyo-assemblyman-suzuki-admits – heckling-lawmaker- with-sexist- remarks/ >
From Businessweek :
Ayaka Shiomura, a member of the opposition Your Party, yesterday held a press conference to talk about the way Suzuki and other men in the assembly subjected her to verbal abuse last week for daring to stand up and call on the government to help infertile women and single mothers.
Einhorn, Bruce. Bloomberg Businessweek. Japanese Politicians Forget They’re Supposed to Be Feminists. June 25, 2014. Web. November 7, 2014. < www. businessweek .com/ articles/ 2014-06-25/abes- colleague-akihiro-suzuki- apologizes- for-slurring-female colleague >
If Shiomura didn’t call a press conference to talk about this heckling, Suzuki would have gotten away with it scot-free and the rest of the world wouldn’t have known about it. Talk about manning up and owning up to your mistakes! Show me your testicles, Mr Suzuki, so I can practice what I learned.
But two things bother me here :
a) How can the likes of Suzuki still have a career? They seem to forgive transgressions easily – it suffices to bow deeply while uttering words of apology.
b) How can there be no protests against Suzuki from the womenfolk of Japan?
It doesn’t reflect very well on Mr Abe and his commitment to womenomics either. If I were a true feminist, as Mr Abe claims to be, I’d sack the asshole, party member or not.
Now here’s the thing – Julien Blanc, the controversial dating adviser, is headed to Japan after being forced to leave Austrialia. He holds $3000 ‘seminars’ that help men “DEVELOP PANTY-DROPPING MASCULINITY WITH THIS ROCK-SOLID STRUCTURE TO SELF-GENERATE THE POWERFUL EMOTIONS GIRLS CRAVE”, promising to “Make Girls BEG To Sleep With You After SHORT-CIRCUITING Their Emotional And Logical Mind Into A Million Reasons Why They Should” (from his website).
Don’t underestimate this douchebag – he’s got his legions of followers, and supporters. Yes, at this day and age! It is such great news, therefore, that this guy was kicked out of Australia (whose Minister of Women is a Man! ANOTHER IRONY!) after protests over his video (not posting here, no), but so far, except for the usual noisy, melodramatic, overbearing foreign community, Japan has been quiet. It’s disappointing, really. It’s not like this country needs another sexist pig to teach men how to insult and objectify women, we have lots of experts here already (see Mr Suzuki). If Mr Abe is a real unleasher of girl-power and quite serious about empowering women his steps should be
a)sacking the likes of Suzuki
b) banning assholes like Julien Blanc permanently.
Things are worse at home. We don’t have to worry about people like Julien Blanc ever coming to visit, because predators like him are found locally, a dime a dozen, encouraged to multiply exponentially by the inefficient law enforcement. According to a study in the PI, the incidents of reported rape is getting higher.
In 2013, the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) recorded a total of 5,493 rape incidents involving women and child victims. That’s approximately one reported rape incident every 96 minutes.
But consider this: the PNP-WCPC is just one of several units that report crime data. Its mother unit, the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (PNP-DIDM), consolidates crime reports from all reporting units. Last year, the PNP’s annual report based on DIDM data tallied as much as 7,409 reported rape incidents, or one every 72 minutes.
Consider, too, that these are just the reported rape incidents.
Guidaben, Agatha. GMA News.Rape in the Philippines: Numbers reveal disturbing trend. August27, 2014. Web. November 7 , 2014. < www. gmanetwork.com/ news/story/376614/ news/specialreports/s pecial-report-rape-in-the-philippines- numbers-reveal- disturbing-trend >
A van and a car has been reported to roam the streets and abduct women.
As usual, the tactic is to get a CCTV copy of the cameras around the area – if there are any. No CCTV almost always means no suspects, as per Philippine law enforcement.
How can things get SO out of hand, for a country that has a lot of female politicians, 2 of whom became presidents? PI is not Japan, things could be better. But it’s not. In one country, women are given almost equal economic opportunity as the men, but the rate of rape incidents and violent crimes against women is high. In the other, violent crimes against women are rare, but women are subjected to institutionalized gender discrimination. Can’t we have the best of both worlds?
My suggestion to Mr. Aquino is to
a) reinstate death penalty
and for both Mr Aquino and Mr Abe to
b)impose the death penalty for those guilty of sex crimes
c)impose harsher punishments for repeat sex offenders (including train gropers)
d) treat minors as adults involved in heinous crimes / sex crimes
e) ban foreigners exploiting or promoting the assault of women – forever
f) start an online sex offender registry with pictures and helpful information Something like this :
Because please it’s 2014 and it’s been looong overdue. Women are not a minority, we make half of the population of both countries. Surely, this can’t be too much to ask?