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Home > DIVA Magazine > December 15 > Bound Feet Blues A Life in Shoes

Bound Feet Blues A Life in Shoes

ALENA DIERICKX SPEAKS TO AUTHOR/PERFORMER YANG-MAY OOI ABOUT IDENTITY, FAMILY, LOVE AND SACRIFICE
Family ties: Yang-May Ooi and her great-grandmother Ah Mooi with bound feet (inset)

Bound Feet Blues, Yang-May Ooi’s memoir and one-woman show, is a wonderful curation of a family’s oral history, an unbroken genealogy of ancestral love and sacrifice through time, from China to Malaysia and England.

The lesbian writer/performer uses the metaphor of foot binding to unravel her own constrained personal journey in which she tries to fulfil the expectations of her many female ancestors and also develop an independent identity of her own. Her coming out is a slow unfurling movement away from repeated attempts to play the uber-seductive female. High heels and perfectly-tailored cheongsams are more modern kinds of boundedness within the history of the limits of what constitutes femininity. It is a life told in shoes and the more Yang-May discovers her true self, the bigger her shoes get.

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About DIVA Magazine

Kristen Stewart tells DIVA what has been going on for her since Twilight, why she's avoiding blockbusters and what life is like for her in the tabloid spotlight. Christmas has come around quickly! Some of us love it, some not so much, so with that in mind for our gift guide, we’ve scoured the land for queer businesses, artists and crafters so you can buy your loved ones gifts and support community businesses while you shop. Because some of us like our Christmas a little different – with the honourable exception of Susan Calman – we asked counsellor Alena Dierickx to help us with a few suggestions on how to take a more innovative approach to the festivities. We’ve a bumper crop of arts-related features this month. From queer Muslim artist Raisa Kabir’s exploration of what it feels like to be both included and excluded by your own communities to author Andrea Stuart’s beautiful and thoughtful coming out story (in extract) . Author/performer Yang-May Ooi reflects on what it means to be a lesbian Asian woman living in the West. Many of us know what it’s like to be affected by homophobic abuse and Louise Carolin’s powerful feature on this issue reflects how, despite significant legal changes, hate incidents persist. Perhaps our experiences of feeling cast out explains why LGBT people are heading to Lesvos to help refugees fleeing persecution, as Mel Steel discovers. Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.
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