East Coast ITASA Conference Recap

The title is sort of a bad one, because I didn’t make it to Atlanta in time to enjoy most of the conference (was busy kicking off the AAPI employee group at my work). Nevertheless, I arrived in Atlanta at 6 am on Saturday and had a great 48+ hours in HOTtlanta. Sorry Atlanta, I just had to.  

As the cofounder of Thick Dumpling Skin, I led a workshop on Asian American portrayals in mass media and the effects on body image. I talked a bit about my work at Hyphen magazine, and then dived into this messy topic. 

It’s impossible to talk about ourselves physically without acknowledging the intentional disregard for Asian American bodies in mass media. So I first showed a bunch of clips from the amazing Claire Light’s post on Hyphen magazine that talks about just that. Putting on your critical thinking cap, what does that tell you about ourselves?

I then showed clips from The School of Rock, M. Butterfly, and this banned image put out by Tiger Beer (rightfully so) that demonstrate how stereotypes can really foster certain expectations that we have for ourselves, physically. 

After the workshop, a few students and I chatted up about “Tiger Mom” and career choices. I also met the owners, Jospeh and Matthew Hsiao, behind two of the Flying Biscuit restaurants in Atlanta! 

The night ended with a spirited Chinese banquet style dinner. The food was amazing.

I really enjoyed my time in Atlanta. Much love to ITASA and all the organizers. I always feel so proud of the students that I meet who are out there hustling fellow students and setting an example for their peers. Now those are leaders in the making. Can’t wait to see what they will do in the future.

If there’s something that you’re interested in, get involved! Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn new things.

- Lisa

Lisa Leeitasa