Born to Defy | Zappos x PUMA Women

Born to Defy with Zappos and Puma Women

Disclaimer: This blog post is being sponsored by Zappos, but all opinions are my own.

We grow up in a world where society creates this idea, a cookie-cutter mold of what we should be, and immediately we are defined by and against it. It’s unfair and it puts such a high amount of unnecessary stress on all of us – so much so that we sometimes forget that we’re all just human. Just like Zappos and Puma, I dare you to defy the standard. #DoYou

I’ve been labeled all different types of things.
I’ve been stereotyped into cookie-cutter ideas that society created.
I’ve been judged against them.
And I’ve been told that I am not enough.

#LayersOfJenn

I want to share a bit of my story with you all as I was growing up. I was adopted at birth by my Taiwanese mother and American, Caucasian father. When I was five years old, I visited my hometown in Taiwan. I spoke English, meanwhile my cousins all spoke Mandarin. I was blatantly ignored based on my inability to speak the language and they refused to play with me.

When I was six years old, I was told by a group of kids that my name was “Pork Fried Rice” based on my appearance alone. I was called this so many times, that I nearly believed that my name changed.

When I was eight years old, the kids at school would pull their eyes back to make them look squinty and they would say, “Ching, chong, ching, chong.” To fit in, I followed suit. They laughed, I laughed. The difference was I laughed to laugh with them, but they laughed to laugh at me.

Up until I was twelve years old, I hung out with American, Caucasian classmates. Once I got into Junior High School, I discovered a group of Asians whom I became close friends with. I was able to relate to them and admired their pride. I began watching Taiwanese dramas, attempted to learn Mandarin, and desired to be more in touch with my heritage. In response, I was told anonymously, “I liked you better when you were white.”

When I was sixteen years old, I was told by a family member, “You don’t ever deserve happiness.”

Other words that have been said to me:

  • “Why would I want to be with her? She’s ugly and disgusting.”
  • “You can’t do that because you’re a girl.”
  • “You call yourself Chinese? You’re a disgrace. Your parents should be ashamed.”
  • “I wouldn’t trust you with a license. Asian women can’t drive.”

Words hurt. And while labels and standards that we created shouldn’t define us, we let them get to us – under our skin and into our heads. I’ve been through so many rough patches, hit my lowest low, and got caught up in all the nonsense. But I got through it all and I’m stronger for it. Everyday, I move forward.

It may be a hard process, but I dare you to defy it all. Focus on you and your growth. Don’t give words the ability to phase you. And for all of those people who drag and put you down, cut them loose and prove them wrong. You are enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… even yourself.

Bold. Confident. Determined. Unapologetic.

That is what defines #PUMAWomen.

I am so proud to be a part of the #DareToDefy movement and I want to encourage all of you to join and embark on your own path to self-empowerment. Do things that make you happy and make you feel good. For the Asian community, Crazy Rich Asians has been a huge milestone that I’m so happy to bear witness to it and see it’s impact. For myself, I worked hard to get a black belt in Taekwondo, even though I was told I can’t. I pushed myself to chase dreams that I was told I’d never find recognition in. I fought thoughts and feelings for the longest time and finally stepped out of my own way enough to believe that I do deserve happiness. Now no one will ever take that away from me.

Please continue to push yourself to new limits, break boundaries and do you. Defy, defy, defy and never look back. A huge thing that has given me a new found confidence and strength is working out. I work out to feel strong and to push myself further than I thought I was capable. The muscle definition, energy, and burst of excitement that comes along with it is all just a bonus. The mind is a powerful thing and once you start looking at things differently, you can achieve so much more.

Currently wearing PUMA’s Logo Bra, Varsity Tights, and DEFY Mid Varsity Kicks. Shop all your PUMA Women gear at Zappos!

with love jenn hanft

Jubilant Dose
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20 comments

  1. It’s my first time here but what a post! Words do matter and just like those hateful words made you into who you are today, I hope the words in this article will remind others not to care and just, indeed, to do them. If you can be as fierce after hearing all this, so can we! Although I wish I looked as good as you while “doing me” in my workout gear. Ha!

    1. Aww thank you so much! I agree. Hateful words definitely stick with you but I’m glad I was able to use that to move forward and grow/strengthen myself! And girrrl I’m sure you will look great!

  2. Your story is so inspiring and I am sick that you’ve had to endure that most of your life. But look at you now girl! Love this movement.

  3. Oh love! I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through growing up. I totally agree with you that words hurt and are powerful. It is hard to be ourselves sometimes in a world where society is telling you to be everything you’re not. Thanks for this great reminder to explore new limits and break boundaries! I love this movement, and the entire PUMA outfit looks amazing on you! <3 xo, sharon

    1. Yeah, I completely agree! I’m glad I was able to grow from it and become a stronger version of myself. Hopefully my story resonates with others and they too can grow from it and defy standards. The movement is great and I’m glad to stand by a brand like PUMA who encourages it!

  4. I want to give you the biggest hug! I can totally relate with so many of these things, having grown up Asian American myself. I’ve also had “friends” who have said racist things and I would laugh along so I wouldn’t be labeled as “the girl who takes everything so seriously.” It sucks. You DESERVE happiness!

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