I emailed Professor Htun a series of questions and this was her response. The questions given to her were not easy to answer. I am extremely grateful to her for taking the time out of her already busy schedule to give each question the deep thought that it deserved. For doing so, the UPRIZINE Team extends our sincerest thank you. The perspectives that you shared with us come highly appreciated and valued.
Who was a woman in your life who inspired you to become who you are today?
Since I don’t have one particular female role model in my life, I can’t answer each question you asked.
I have many role models, majority of them are females but a few are males. I don’t remember who they are now. Who I am now is not just because of the role models but because of a combination of many things – experiences, circumstances in life (transitions and transformations), people around me (including role models and non-role models, most of the time is non-role models), and trying to live my life the way I want to live.
However, there is a group of girls I met in Burma who inspired me to teach the issues I focus in my classes. I met these girls when I was participating in a UNICEF project of “Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances” in Burma in 1998. Some of the girls were underage sex workers, some of them were street kids, some of them were HIV positive. These girls touched the deepest part of me and made me see the problems women and girls in my country were facing. They gave me a voice to speak for them. They made me understand that I could use my voice and education to represent them. These girls exist not only in Burma, but in every part of the world. I have learned many things from them. I am still learning about them.
Some of the girls I met in 1998 may not be in this world anymore but they live in me. They are present in my classes. I carry on their legacy through teaching gender studies classes.
Dr. Tin Tin Htun is from Burma/Myanmar. She has been teaching gender studies courses in TUJ for over 14 years. She is currently writing a paper on the practice of feminist pedagogy in gender studies classroom. Her publications include “Social Identities of Minority Others in Japan: Listening to the Narratives of Ainu, Buraku, and Zainichi Koreans in Japan (2012), a chapter in Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan (2014), entitles “Reproductive Rights in Japan: Where Do Women Stand?, and a chapter in Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties: Global Perspectives on Marriage, Crisis (2016), entitles "Mixed Marriage in Colonial Burma: National Identity and Nationhood at Risk".