8 Lessons In Feminism I Learned From Malaysian Women

E’s piece got posted on thought catalog! Excited.

Thought Catalog

In 2014, I spent ten months teaching English to secondary school students in peninsular Malaysia. Since returning, I’ve received a number of questions on what it was like to exist as a woman in this culture, specifically in my small town of Pahang. While valid, such questions often feel (to me) undergirded by a certain bias–the suggestion that it might be difficult for me to survive as a western woman in said culture, which points, more alarmingly, towards the belief that the women in my community, the majority of whom were Muslim, perhaps require some sort of enlightenment or liberation from the culture in which they (happily) live.

In response, I’d like to call attention to this brilliant article, which rightly points out that such questions not only feed into the pernicious white savior complex, but ignore the lengthy and vibrant history of Muslim feminism, create a “straw muslimah”…

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Colin Nissan, you genius.

The author of McSweeneys’ much-loved paean to fall (It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers) has just written a genius piece for the New Yorker on the hell that can be playground life. 

My favorite excerpt:

ANNA: There’s also string cheese in my hair, not sure if you saw that.

SARA: Last night, I found a cheddar Goldfish in my vagina.

ANNA: Wow.

SARA: Yeah.

ANNA: In it?

SARA: Right in it.

Read the whole thing here, if you’d like. And if you’re into Colin’s wry take on suburban ennui, I’d highly recommend Tom Perrotta’s Little Children. It’s one of my absolute favorite books, and the one that hooked me on Perrotta as a writer. 

xox E

The Writing Process

Says William Faulkner:

At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that — the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance. That is, to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might love that page or that paragraph. The most important thing is insight, that is … curiosity to wonder, to mull, and to muse why it is that man does what he does. And if you have that, then I don’t think the talent makes much difference, whether you’ve got that or not.

I agree. To add some context, here’s a screenshot of my laptop from an hour ago:

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