I am thrilled that Susan Blumberg-Kason invited me to participate in the The Next Big Thing, an Internet meme where writers answer questions about their latest or forthcoming works.
Susan is the author of the forthcoming memoir Good Chinese Wife. This book traces the five years she spent trying to assimilate into a Chinese family, after jumping quickly into marriage with a Chinese man. But over time, she comes to reconsider what she thought it meant to be a wife, have a family, and raise a child — and faces the tough choice of whether or not to leave her Chinese family.
I’ve read portions of her memoir, and I can honestly say it’s a gripping story written from the heart. I loved Susan as a narrator because she shares so many of her vulnerabilities on the page. I liked the unusual, non-linear structure of her book as well, which really adds to the drama of her story and keeps you turning the pages.
I’m engaged and planning a wedding in the States w/ my Chinese-American fiancee. He suggested incorporating a qipao into the ceremony. But I already have wedding colors for my bridesmaids’ dresses (green) and don’t like wearing red. If I decide to wear a qipao, how should I incorporate it into my ceremony? Must I wear red? Also, I will be going to China later this year, should I consider buying one over there? Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: How to Wear A Qipao In Your Western Wedding Ceremony”
“I am wondering why you have kept your maiden name?” wrote a reader. “When I married my Chinese husband [many] years ago, I was terribly proud to take his name, and still am.”
So I wrote back to her with my primary reasons. One that as a feminist, I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea that a woman must take on her husband’s name in marriage. And two, that in China, women traditionally keep their last names even after marrying.
When but I thought about my choices later on, I had to laugh. After all, isn’t it ironic that my feminist side finds refuge in China’s tradition? A tradition that, I’m certain, wasn’t created to accommodate feminists like me. Let’s just say I pretty much never expect “tradition” to agree with my feminist perspective on anything…and yet this time, it did. Sometimes, tradition — especially those of my husband’s country — will surprise me in unexpected ways.
But the best part of it all? No one in China ever raises an eyebrow at my surname, and then asks, “Why didn’t you change your name?”
Instead, the Chinese have other ways to put me on the spot, like, “So, do you have children?” But that’s another question for another day. 😉
P.S.: If you’re actually debating whether or not to change your name in marriage, see my post on this.
“It’s hard to have a yangxifu [洋媳妇, the foreign wife of a Chinese man].” I know it seems strange, but every time my husband says this, we both bust up in laughter.
I don’t know when the phrase turned into our running joke, but I know why it makes us laugh. After all, I’ve never been the sort of woman who demanded a brand-spanking-new condo, car, and lots of cash; we’ve always rented, driven secondhand cars, and felt grateful just to pay our bills at the end of the month. I’ve never dragged John to the Apple store and begged him for an iPhone or any other status-gadget; instead I bought us dumb phones at the grocery store for a few bucks, and later lost mine somewhere in my car. And while I want a wedding ring someday from my husband, I’m content to wait for it until John graduates and lands his dream job. In short, if you looked up “demanding wife” or even “bridezilla” in the dictionary, you sure as hell wouldn’t find my photo there.
My fiancee is Chinese and we’ve been debating dresses in the process of planning our wedding. His family is bent on having me wear a red qipao, they say it is the tradition. I wouldn’t mind wearing a qipao, but then my family is Irish on my mother’s side and they told me that only sluts wear red on their wedding day. I am feeling so conflicted about this, and was wondering what you thought. Do you think I should wear a qipao?Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: Should I Wear a Qipao in My Chinese Wedding?”
I’m taking a break from posting from May 28 until June 8. But in the meantime, I’m sharing some of my classic content — which might either be new to you, or just a great read worth revisiting. Either way, hope you enjoy these, and I’ll see you June 11. 😉
As I said last week, it’s wedding season in the US. If you’re in the mood for weddings, enjoy these classic stories from the Double Happiness archives of love between Chinese men and Western women that ends with a wedding.
I’m taking a break from posting from May 28 until June 8. But in the meantime, I’m sharing some of my classic content — which might either be new to you, or just a great read worth another look. Either way, hope you enjoy these, and I’ll see you June 11. 😉
Here in the US, June means the beginning of the season of brides, bouquets and beautiful ceremonies — wedding time. If you have weddings on your mind, check out some of my past advice for Chinese weddings.
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