Voices on the Side: Joyful Resistance

Chrissy King

I started the Voices on the Side podcast last spring. Truthfully, I resisted. How many millions of podcasts already exist? What did I think I had to contribute to such an overcrowded landscape? Who was I to think I could host a show? When working on designing the cover tile, I tried to make a case for not using my photo. Even on Instagram, the faces of my loved ones and heroes take up more grid space than pictures of myself.

I have been writing for a few years about motherhood, mental health, and being Asian in America so in a way, it’s been a natural progression to a conversational platform. I designated a lane that felt like it made sense: I would interview Asian women, primarily mothers, and we would talk about motherhood, mental health, and racism. 

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I saw the podcast as a way I could contribute to the Stop Asian Hate movement and elevate fellow “marginalized” voices. (In fact, I initially wanted to call the podcast Marginalized Voices, until a friend rightly said, “That sounds like a term paper!”) But Asian and AAPI felt too limiting, so I intentionally invited my sister in law who is British Pakistani and a dear friend who is Iranian (which is technically in West Asia). I was both trying to stay in my lane and timidly push against limitations. 

I didn’t feel I had the right to ask other BIPOC voices. The model minority myth has indoctrinated Asians in America with the idea that we are white adjacent and therefore “safer” but it has also made many of us wrongly think that the fight against systemic racism is not ours.

As many of us have been witnessing and educating ourselves on the multiple genocides currently happening to our brothers and sisters around the world, the meaning of the “global majority” finally hit me. We are only “minorities” when we stay tucked in our own lanes. Together, we are the MAJORITY. We are the people, the masses.

I reached out to Chrissy King, whose book — The Body Liberation Project — I absolutely adore, and who I’ve loved following on Instagram. I was beyond delighted when she replied, and it felt like confirmation from the cosmos that yes, the mission of the podcast was meant to expand. 

Specifically, I wanted to ask Chrissy about white feminism. I had seen her post about why the Barbie movie was ultimately upholding white supremacy. I felt such relief in reading Chrissy’s perspective because it was exactly how I was feeling. Yes, Issa Rae was Barbieland’s president and yes, America Ferrera was the main character in the “real world.” But did these casting choices represent a dismantling of white supremacy or, as @oohshesspeaking said, was it “the movie baby of DEI, white feminism, and Mattel.” She goes on to explain that “white feminism seeks equality with white men.” There is a complete absence of intersectionality. 

Over these last 118 days, I have struggled to know how to show up. Every time my heart swells with joy as I cuddled my children, it simultaneously tightens with grief thinking of what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank, Sudan, Congo, and too many other places. When asked “How are you?”, I find myself stumped at how to answer. How am I? Right here, right now? I’m clothed, housed, fed, overflowing with privilege at the expense of how many lives elsewhere in the world? So I guess I’m fine? 

And still, I keep hearing: Joy is our resistance. Rest is our resistance. We must endure. 

Maybe the cost of our privilege, a cost so small in comparison to those being actively killed, kidnapped, sacrificed — and for what? oil? metal? land, power, money over human lives! — is that we carry the weight of said privilege. We carry the guilt, the shame, the heaviness, and we let it propel us into action for others. 

So in these conversations, I am doing my best to hold space for the both/and, because I don’t think there is any other way. We must not ignore our own humanity so that we can continue to show up for others. 

As well, all systems of oppression are connected. I do not believe that it is flippant to take the Barbie movie as an opportunity to explore white feminism. Movies have power. They represent and can dictate the cultural pulse of the moment. 

Since recording this episode, it was revealed that Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie did not receive Oscar nominations and white feminists are really mad. Chrissy addresses this brilliantly and succinctly: “If people spent just half the energy they do being invested in white feminism towards actually dismantling white supremacy, we would be in a far different place collectively.” 

My conversation with Chrissy was so clarifying and informative. And I feel so honored to be able to offer this space for all voices of the global majority — we are without a doubt stronger together than apart. 

If you enjoyed this, I encourage you to listen to my conversation with Chrissy!

I am a mama, writer, yoga teacher, and mental health advocate.
More posts by Leah Kim.

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