In Radicals on the Road, by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, she illuminates the patriarchal issues women in the South East Asian community face. However, Wu doesn’t just focus on the victimization of these women. She describes how these Vietnamese women uses their stories to empower Western women to take political and social action. These Vietnamese women go beyond just telling their story. They use their story to inspire and mentor Western women to change and transform their unjust world. They act as role models for those colored minorities who don’t want to hear the words of a white women. With the collaboration of these groups, these group of women were able to transcend racial and ethnic boundaries in order to create an international effort to stop the war, and while doing, creating last bonds between one another.
For the Vietnamese women, a tactic that they used in order to personalize and humanize women in both North and South Vietnam was telling their personal narratives either by mouth or through a book. By doing so, these Vietnamese women were able to reach out to the hearts of many Western women. An example of one such personal narrative is Din Thi Huong’s story of her being a political prisoner. In her narrative, she tells us the atrocious and inhumane conditions she was put through as a prisoner. She tells us about their torture methods and the sexualized nature of it. Huong does tells her story not to evoke pity, but to evoke change. She doesn’t just stop at telling her story, Huong goes and does something about it.
In our society today, there are many people who tell their narratives and their stories. But that’s usually all they do, talk. They don’t inspire change, they don’t go out and do something about the situation they’re in, and all they do is go around crying and telling their same story over and over again. Unlike these Vietnamese women who go out and inspire change, use their story to empower others, and take action to change the social institutions and roles that binds them, most people just talk. Most people in our contemporary society sees something on their newsfeed that angers them, shares the post, writes a comment, and then “believes” they’ve done something to alleviate the situation. How can one inspire change through a comment? How can one, challenge social institutions and norms through a post? How can we, start a movement through social media? That, is a question for us to answer.
Flowers, M. (2014, January 6th). Social Movement Images, [Photograph] http://www.occupy.com/sites/default/files/medialibrary/occupy-movement-demonstrator-oakland.jpg