lisa lee and lynn chen launch thick dumpling skin

It's my pleasure to help spread the word about Thick Dumpling Skin. Launched by two good friends to this blog, Hyphen publisher Lisa Lee and actress Lynn Chen, it's a new community-focused website on Asian Americans, eating disorders, and body image.

By curating stories from guest contributors within the Asian American community and encouraging readers to share their own, they're hoping to put a cultural perspective -- and give an important voice -- to this too-often silent issue.

The project was born out of their personal struggles in this area. Last year, Lynn started a food blog, The Actor's Diet, after years of battling eating disorders. It's been a way for Lynn to channel her obsession with food in a healthy manner, and she credits the blog for helping her recover and establish a new relationship with eating. (It's also a great resource for tasty tips on L.A. eats.)

Just a few weeks ago, she stumbled upon Lisa's interview on NPR, discussing how being Chinese American specifically played into her unhealthy quest for the perfect body (Lisa also wrote an amazing article for Hyphen on this topic). After listening to and reading Lisa's story, Lynn immediately knew they had to connect. Lynn explains:
I didn't even know what I wanted from Lisa, but I felt compelled to start SOMETHING. I've been looking for something concrete re: Asians and body image for years. When I first began my therapy in my 20's, I had contacted the National Eating Disorders Association to see if there were any support groups for Asians. I was left at a dead end, and the messages I got over the next decade were that Eating Disorders and Body Image were not problems that affected people in my community.

Through my blog, I have discovered this is not true. I have received numerous emails from both men and women all over the world, who admit their past and current struggles with food, and feel the pressure to look thin. Like Lisa, I knew that our problems weren't just about will power - they're social, cultural, and familial.
Lynn and Lisa connected over their experiences and out of passion to spotlight this specific issue. And so, they created Thick Dumpling Skin to provide a resource, a community, and a place for healing for Asians and Asian Americans who think they're alone in their struggles with food and unhealthy body image. Most importantly, they're hoping people can find support for something that's only been acknowledged on the surface, yet largely ignored in our community.

And what's with the name? Lisa says, "We want anyone who has felt cornered in their struggle with weight to grow some thicker skins and learn to love them as well." A lot of it's still coming together, but you can check out the new website and take part in the discussion here.

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