Funny Art Piece of The Day: Awkward Kisses With Strangers

For his series “Return to Sender”, photographer Tommy Kha has put together photos where he kisses strangers, lovers and friends. The best part? He looks awkwardly stoic in every picture.

Unknown No. 4 Memphis, Tenn. 2010

It’s easy to react to this photo series with laughter. This is clearly just a ploy to practice his kissing skills, right? As it turns out, there’s a much deeper meaning behind these pictures. Although he admits that humor plays a large part in these photos, he also informs us that these photos are a commentary on the perception of Asians in the media.

Rather than playing the supporting role often given to Asian characters, Kha has decided to take the steering wheel and be his own protagonist. And his bored expression? Not only does he put a humorous and unique twist to the photos, he is also able to very clearly show his dissatisfaction with the representation of Asians in the media.

Throughout the series, Kha takes on the roles of actor and director. As the character, Kha is playing off the stereotype of Asians seen in mainstream media, though it isn’t the defining idea behind the series.

 

“My work has to do with our roles that, in varied ways, are defined by cultural indifference along with the experience of being ‘othered’,” he wrote via email. “Much of these notions are informed by the little representation I see in the media, and part of these notions exist stereotypically. Almost always, Asians are regulated to a supporting role, shown incapable or not on the same playing field as the protagonist.”

 

Kha said is he playing up that stereotype by appearing almost disinterested in the kiss, but his motivation for the work is really more about his own views of intimacy. “I think [the motivation] was wanting to belong, of wanting ‘to be seen,’ to be an object of desire (as the receiver of the kiss) but at the same time, to appear reserved and contradictory by denying the kiss.”

 

A main influence for “Return to Sender” is Lilly McElroy’s “I Throw Myself at Men,” which Kha said made him rethink the idea of self-portraiture. “To do self-portraitures, the artist is automatically the protagonist. I don’t find myself completely interesting, but things like family, race, sexuality, societal ideals, etc., are part of forming one’s identity, which changes over time and [is] not bound to formulaic boundaries. Much of what I like to explore is questioning my role as the protagonist, usually through being a supporting character, in the background, or behind the camera,” Kha said.

 

Scroll down for more seriously awkward photos, and read the full story here.

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Move Over, Barbie: Lego Debuts Its First Female Scientist

We can all let out a collective cheer for one of the newest additions to the Lego family. Professor C. Bodin, according to her name tag, is Lego’s first female scientist. The best part? The model is simply labeled “Scientist” as opposed to “Female Scientist” or “Girl Scientist,” and does not pander to gender stereotypes by, say, making her pink.

This is certainly a step forward for Lego, which has been criticized for focusing too much on their male customers. The sex-ratio for the minifigure models is 4:1 in favor of males, and female minifigures tend to cater to gender stereotypes. (Their “Friends” minifigures are more shapely and have stereotypical “feminine colors and storylines.”)

Though Professor C. Bodin may be the first female scientist in the Lego universe, according to Scientific American, she is not the first female minifigure with a career in science, technology, engineering or math. Lego released a doctor (complete with pigtails) in the 1970s, as well as a female astronaut in the 1990s as a part of its Ice Planet 2002 series.

With Professor C. Bodin, Lego seems to be taking a small step in the right direction. In the meantime, we can look to others who are fighting to ensure equality in children’s toys.

(source)

 

 

Adult Film Actress Says Porn is Less Taboo in Japan

HuffPost Live recently hosted a roundtable discussion on whether a woman’s relationship with her parents can be a driving factor in her decision to work in the adult film industry.

During this discussion, plus-sized adult film actress Kelly Shibari agreed that her relationship with her mother played a role in her decision, but disagreed with the idea that this relationship made her turn to pornography.

Shibari explained that sex is much less taboo in Japan and, according to Shibari, people pick up strange fetishes simply because they’ve run out of things to do. At the same time, people are encouraged to embrace adulthood and make decisions for themselves. In this way, Shibari argued that her decision to become a porn star was not similar to the others in the discussion who turned to pornography out of rebellion or to prove a point to their parents. To her mother (whom Shibari asked permission before entering the porn industry), Shibari was simply taking control of her life as an adult, not because of some emotional or psychological void:

I was raised to behave like an adult, so even my current tenure in porn is full of me still making decisions. I don’t do every scene that is asked of me. I don’t do every sex act that’s asked of me. In my case, because I do a lot of plus-size porn, I don’t do things that perpetuate a negative stereotype with large women. I’ve turned down scenes where I’ve been asked to eat while having sex.”

 

And these strange fetishes Shibari’s talking about? We’re not completely sure what she’s referring to, but given the recent outbreak of eyeball licking amongst Japanese youth, we’re not sure we want to know.

To watch the entire HuffPost Live discussion, click here.

Asians in Fashion | Jeon Ji Hyun for Vogue Korea, September 2013

South Korean actress, Jeon Ji Hyun, is best known for her role as “The Girl” in My Sassy Girl. Since the release of the romantic comedy in 2001, My Sassy Girl has maintained its rank as one of the highest grossing Korean comedies of all time.

While Jeon Ji Hyun is definitely worthy of her popularity as “The Girl”, she should clearly be known for her fashion sense as well. Posing for Vogue Korea,  Jeon Ji Hyun is captivating with her classy looks and just the right pop of color.

Check out more of her looks below:

 

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Asian American Woman Critically Injured After Falling Out Of Moving Cop Car

Kim Nguyen, a 28-year-old accounting and marketing graduate student at Loyola Marymount University, is suing LAPD after falling out of a moving cop car and sustaining critical injuries from the event.

On March 17th, Nguyen was out with friends in Koreatown. While waiting with two others on a sidewalk for their designated driver, Nguyen was detained by LAPD officers David Shin and Jin Oh for suspicion of public intoxication.

Nguyen was handcuffed and placed in the backseat of the cop car. At one point, Nguyen was ejected from the moving vehicle and sustained serious injuries including a broken jaw and brain injuries. Nguyen had to be put in a medically induced coma to heal and may still need to have brain surgery.

Her lawsuit argues, “officers failed to secure her with a seatbelt or lock her door properly, which led to her being ejected from the car.”

Surveillance footage captures some of the incident. The officers had stated that they were accelerating from a stop, however, the footage shows the car driving through a green light just moments before the incident.

“The video shows that the statement that the police officers gave the paramedics is an unabashed, unequivocal lie,” said Casillas during the press conference. The graphic footage shows Nguyen, still in handcuffs, laying on the street with her clothing bunched around her waist. Officers stand over her as her legs move back and forth on the ground.

 

The surveillance video can be viewed below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrzE6Et-5lc#t=108

(source)

The Baby Box: Hope for Abandoned Babies of South Korea

Things on the internet go viral for a reason.

Videos of puppies and babies go viral because the cuteness appeases us. Controversial news goes viral because, as much as we hate to admit it, we’re pulled in by the drama.  Ridiculous music videos go viral because we all like a good laugh once in a while.

But every now and then, amidst my corgi-filled newsfeed, I come across something amazing. Because sometimes things don’t go viral simply because its cute or dramatic or funny. Sometimes, things go viral because we understand that people should know about it.

This is one of them.

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South Korean pastor, Lee Jong-rak, decided that he would create a solution for the hundreds of babies—many with mental and physical disabilities—who are abandoned in the streets of South Korea.  The pastor created a “Baby Box” where mothers can leave their unwanted children. Pastor Jong-rak  points out that mothers who have no where to turn sometimes end up with the idea to poison their baby rather than have their child endure a life of struggle. The “Baby Box”, he argues, would be a much better alternative for desperate mothers.

The inside of the box contains a thick towel covering the bottom, and lights and heating to keep the baby comfortable.  A bell rings when someone puts a baby in the box, alerting Jong-rak, his wife, or staff associates to come immediately and move the baby inside.  Although the paster originally believed many mothers would not turn to the “Baby Box”, he was mistaken. His house now doubles as an orphanage.

Often times, the pastor doesn’t even get a glimpse of the mothers who leave their babies in the box. Other times, the mother gives him a tearful apology. One single mother left this note with her baby. The english translation follows.

“My baby! Mom is so sorry.
I am so sorry to make this decision. 
My son! I hope you to meet great parents, and I am very, very sorry . 
I don’t deserve to say a word. 
Sorry, sorry, and I love you my son. 
Mom loves you more than anything else. 
I leave you here because I don’t know who your father is. 
I used to think about something bad, but I guess this box is safer for you. 
That’s why I decided to leave you here. My son, Please forgive me.”

Filmmaker Brian Ivie heard the inspirational story and travelled over to South Korea to make his documentary Drop Box. During an award acceptance speech for the documentary, Ivie explains that seeing the babies dropped off changed his life.

Although it has already been a few years since pastor Lee Jong-rak began the “Baby Box”, this story is now finally receiving the recognition it deserves.

Things on the internet go viral for a reason. Every now and then, I’m thankful for this.

 

This Will Shock You: Salary Difference Between Male and Female Doctors

As women, we’d like to think we can bridge every gender gap there is. There have been more women striving for executive positions and more women in careers which were, back in the day, deemed too physically rigorous for the female body.  More and more, women are demanding leading positions to prove that we are just as capable as anyone else.

Which is why its alarming to discover that on average, female doctors make about $50,000 less than male doctors. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association show that instead of moving forward, the gender pay gap in health-care fields have grown within the past decade.

The Washington Post notes, “In the late 1980s, male physicians earned $33,840, or 20 percent, more in annual salary than their female counterparts. By the late 2000s, that grew to a 25.3 percent gap, a difference of $56,019 per year. The same trends showed up among dentists and physician assistants, but not pharmacists or health insurance executives.”

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Although nearly 50% of US medical students are female, the difference in salary is far from equal. The study noted that one of the larger factors of salary was dependent on what type of doctor one became. For instance, specialists, such as surgeons, typically earn significantly more than primary care providers. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, more than half of the country’s pediatricians are women, but fewer than 10%of orthopedic surgeons are women. And even without taking specialities into account, women still earn significantly less than their male peers.

So what is it? Do women unknowingly choose lower-paying specialties? Are women groomed into choosing particular careers over others? (Similar to the lack of women engineers due to the fact that we never grew up with engineering as a career option.) Women certainly work just as hard as men and are just as deserving.

Tell us what you think below.

 

Solve Your Love, Trust and Relationship Issues with … a Spray Bottle?

Love complications, sticky situations, and trust issues. Yes, here at Audrey, we’ve come across a fair share of these unfortunate relationship stories from both personal experience and everyday chit-chat with others.

So we started thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of magical solution to it all? If there were a product we could purchase and no longer fear our trust issue’s worst nightmare? Wouldn’t it be great to just be able to have some sort of control over love and trust?

Then we found exactly what we imagined. No, not magic. Apparently, the product we’ve been looking for is available thanks to science.

Vero Labs brings us Liquid Trust.  The website claims,

“Liquid Trust Enhanced has been specially designed to give a boost to the dating and relationship area of your life. This upgraded formula still contains the same great Oxytocin formula, but now includes the powerful pheromones Androstenone and Androsterone.

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Apparently the formula is laced with oxytocin- a hormone our body naturally creates. The idea is that the hormone promotes social interaction. Oxytocin is produced in the brain’s hypothalamus, which regulates emotion and is believed to be key in pair-bonding.

The website claims “Without realizing why, the people around you have a strong feeling of trust. They can’t explain it, but you know that Liquid Trust is doing its magic!”

Skeptical? Suspicious? We certainly are. But like us, Thought Catalog‘s Mélanie Berliet was filled with curiosity. After ordering a bottle herself, her results were what we expected: inconclusive.

Did Liquid Trust really help her get a deal on new shoes and have a great night in with her boyfriend? Or was the spray simply implementing a placebo effect and giving her the confidence to do these things? We may never know- the bottle ended up in the trash after all.

A product like this can create a whole world of progress. Berliet points out that it can “help those afflicted with social phobias, autism or Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that leads children to approach strangers indiscriminately.” But on the other hand, it has commercial exploitation written all over it.

With the experiment behind her and the bottle in the trash, Berliet realized that even if the spray did work, do we really want to alter someones internal chemistry and redirect their emotions so inorganically?

We’re gonna go ahead and stick to the old-fashioned way.

 

Illustrator Kazu Kibuishi Creates New HARRY POTTER Covers

One of the biggest fears that Harry Potter fans face is the end of the fandom. With the final book and the final movie behind us, what more is there to look forward to?

Yes, we will no longer have to worry about finding our way to Orlando since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, also known as the “Harry Potter theme park”, is being built in Universal Studios in Hollywood. And yes, there are now stores dedicated to the fandom sprouting up everywhere such as Whimsic Alley. And yes, sites such as Pottermore continue to give us new information provided from J.K. Rowling herself.

But is it enough to keep our Potter-fan hearts satisfied? Apparently not.

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Thankfully, creators seem to be well aware of our yearning and continue to appease us. For instance, in honor of the 15th anniversary of J.K. Rowling’s series release in the U.S., Scholastic released newly-designed paperbacks available individually and in a box set.

Eisner Award-nominated comic book artist and author Kazu Kibuishi designed the new covers. Kibuishi spoke with Bookish to discuss the pressure and honor of being chosen to do such a task:

Bookish: What are you most excited about regarding the Harry Potter covers?

Kazu Kibuishi: That I’m done? [Laughs.] I’m excited to go back to work on my own book, but at the same time, as far as the reveals go, I’m of course excited to see how people react. I’m actually most excited to see what people think of the entire set, because that’s really how I was looking at the whole thing. I’m really excited to see what people think of the back covers because that’s something I think that’s going to be unexpected. That was a last-minute thing I threw in there. I wasn’t sure if Arthur [Levine, vice president and editorial director of Arthur A. Levine Books] was going to go for it, but I said, “This is the way to go!” There’s a surprise.

A lot of people have asked me to talk about Mary Grand Pré’s work, and I keep telling them, “Look, we wouldn’t know Harry Potter without the scenes she envisioned.” She had the most difficult task of defining the look of Harry Potter. She has a tremendous amount of influence over what I do and what everyone else does [with the series] from here on out. I tell everyone, my job is easy compared to what she had to do. My job is to be a historian and take a look at how we perceive Harry Potter–how Mary actually designed it, and also to find some way to re-introduce it to the readers that I already have on my books. How would my readers want to move into reading this kind of fiction? I would take something from Harry Potter that I think my kids would want to see.

 

Bookish: Describe the moment when you first knew that this would be your next project.

 

Kibuishi: [Graphix editorial director] David [Saylor] came to me and asked me. I was kind of surprised, like anyone else would’ve been–“I’m the cartoon guy. Why would you want me to do it?” He had a poster of one of my “Flight” covers on the wall, and he said that when he looked up at that, he thought, “That’s what we should do.” It was actually really good to know that, because the Chamber of Secrets cover was actually influenced quite a bit by the Flight Volume 3 cover on his wall.

 

I’m also a writer. I actually have people do this kind of [illustration] work for my books. [Laughs.] I tell them, “Can you make those backgrounds look better?” I’m the guy who draws less and less on my own books.

 

Bookish: Which project are you returning to now that these covers are finished?

Kibuishi: “Amulet”–that’s my full-time job. I believe a lot in focusing on just a few things. When David came to me to do [Harry Potter], I initially thought, “I don’t know about that.” For one, that’s a lot of responsibility, and I have my own series to focus on. It took a while for me to realize it would make sense for me to try it. Once I decided that, I gave it my all while bidding for it. I showed them my sample images and said, “I’m going to take a very different approach because I’m an author, and I think I can empathize with J.K. Rowling a little more than the designers can. I know what she deals with when she’s sitting in her room, and I know what she deals with when she goes to the schools–I do all those same things.” I’m in a unique position to be able to empathize with how I want to see my series reinterpreted.

Bookish: What are you most excited about while working on the new “Amulet” volume?

Kibuishi: One of the things I’ve done is set up a mythology that allows me to be very flexible. Every time I do a book, I feel like I’m on a new adventure. I kind of like not knowing some things. I trust my process enough that I just fall into the story. I let the characters take me somewhere.

Bookish: Do you outline?

Kibuishi: I do outline, but I only use those as signposts that tell me, “You have to go in that direction, you have to be done here,” and then I let the characters do the rest of the work. I’m excited to see what the characters do, because I’m putting them in a really crazy situation.

Bookish: Over the course of your life, what’s the book you’ve most often recommended to people, and why?

Kibuishi: I have recommended Harry Potter a lot. People will ask what my favorite books are; my quick answer is that three books are my favorite: Cannery RowThe Old Man and the Sea and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. That’s my triumvirate; every time I make a book, I’m chasing those three books. I’m trying to replicate the feeling I get from those three books and combine it with all the fun, cartoony stuff.

Bookish: Is there something about those three novels that complement one another?

Kibuishi: They’re very much like graphic novels because of the length; they’re very short. I like writers who write for the memory of the reading experience and not so much for the time that it takes to read it. I think the best writers can create a memory that stays with you for a long time. It doesn’t matter if it’s only one page long or 500 pages long. As long as that memory can hold, you’ve created literature in somebody’s mind.

 

When I draw my books and I know I only have 200 pages to work with and it’s going to be a very short time–I have only a half hour to an hour and a half with somebody–then it has to be about the memory that I create and not the story that I’m writing. The story’s only a tool to create the memory.

 

Bookish: Would you say that with graphic novels, it’s specific pages or images that stick in a reader’s mind?

 

Kibuishi: I encapsulate a moment. I look at the moment and say, “I want you to remember that moment really, really well,” so I will write to make that happen. I think that’s why [kids] like the “Amulet” books, because it holds. For me, as a young reader, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy reading when I started; it was that I didn’t understand a lot of it, so it didn’t hold. Then, when I read books that were clear enough for me–they didn’t necessarily have to be short, just clear enough–the memory held.

 

The Phantom Tollbooth is a fantastic example: The combination of Jules Feiffer’s images and Norton Juster’s writing created really clear images in my brain about the space, and I wanted to revisit it. Chris van Allsburg’s drawings create memories that don’t leave your head. Harry Potter has that, as well: You remember the moments and the spaces and the places.

 

Bookish: When you recommend Harry Potter often, is it in response to a specific request from people, or is it just your go-to?

 

Kibuishi: When I recommend Harry Potter, often it’s to somebody who doesn’t always read. It’s something that will introduce them to a great story. They’re going to read it and say, “Hey, I really enjoy reading!”

There’s more difficult fiction that I would recommend to some [more experienced] readers who want that special book. My wife is like that; she loves Philip Pullman [and "His Dark Materials"]. It’s like Harry Potter, but there’s a different flavor. For some of my friends, Ursula K. Le Guin is the way to go. I try to find the book that would mean so much to that person if they’re that kind of reader. But… I think books like Harry Potter and “Amulet” were made for the kids who didn’t find an interest in [reading]. They will move on to all sorts of wonderful things that we can point them to.

 

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This article originally appeared on Bookish.com

 

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THIS IS TOO CUTE: Top Ten Asian Babies With Puppies

There are a few things in life that can lift up my spirits no matter how bad my day may be. On this list, easily, are puppies and Adorable Asian Babies. A quick scroll through any of my social media sites and I guarantee you that I will come across both of a these a number of times within a single day.

As it turns out, you all like cute things just as much as I do. So if you’re having a bad day, we have just the thing for you.

What could possibly be better than puppies or cute babies? How about puppies AND adorable Asian babies. (Yes, we’re being cheesy and we took it there, but lets be honest- you’re gonna look through these pictures anyway.)

Here are some of our favorite puppy/Asian Baby combos!

1) The Cuteness Competition
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2) The Moment When Puppies Save a Baby From Falling
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3) OmNomNom Baby
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4) Man’s, I Mean Baby’s Best Friend
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5) So Cute We’ll Make An Exception About The Puppy
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6) Proud Royal Steed
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7) The Wrinkly and The Not-so-wrinkly
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8) The Pillow Pet
puppy 8

9)We Would Be Excited Over Panda-Puppy Too
puppy 9

10) The Fuzzy-Wuzzy Dog
puppy 10
(Photo Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)