By Wesley Wong
This is what will happen when Hello Kitty grows a mouth
This site was originally the senior colloquium project by a student
of UCLA's department of World Arts and Cultures. It is one of the
most hilarious sites I have seen in a while. It is a mock Asian mail-order
bride site, and is dedicated to attacking the stereotypes assigned
to Asian women and the Western men who pursue Asian women in search
of a "loyal, soft-spoken, dainty" wife. There is a list
of 'brides for sale', replete with photographs, aimed at contradicting
the "Lotus Blossom" image of Asian women through unflattering
images of Asian women seated on toilets, showing off unshaven legs,
and making funny faces. The humor on the site is sharp and unforgiving.
There are countless images of Asian women attacking white men, and
even a t-shirt for sale, depicting a western man handing two Asian
women flowers with the quote "I find you Oriental people so fascinating".
Finally, there is the language, which is harsh and full of expletives
- "You want exotic, erotic subservience go f*ck yourself with
an 'oriental' vase."
Although the author's message is a familiar one, the use of a parody
to convey it is highly original, and in my opinion very effective.
Race relations are typically addressed in more formal structures and
somber tones. Bigbadasianmama.com instead employs politically incorrect,
and at times offensive, humor to make its point. This is particularly
effective for our generation, which has already been bombarded with,
and as a result desensitized to, the standard politically correct
statements about race and stereotypes. Some visitors, however, seem
to take issue with the parody, claiming that the author is insensitive
to "the motives of either Western men or East Asian women who
use online dating services."
The issues dealt with in bigbadasianmama.com are very real. In particular,
as someone who is half-Chinese and grew up in Hong Kong, I too am
disturbed by the manner in which Asian culture has been "commodified".
Everywhere I go, I see people wearing caps or sporting tattoos featuring
Chinese characters they don't understand. Urban Outfitters sells Buddhist
bead bracelets for $7.99 to suburban teens who think they look "cool".
The primary focus of bigbadasianmama.com, however, is the stereotypes
facing Asian women propagated by mass media and novels such as "Memoirs
of a Geisha", and the difficulties Asian women experience as
a result of these stereotypes, particularly through the advances of
Western men in search of their own geisha. This is not an issue I
have thought about much, but bigbadasianmama.com has most definitely
raised my awareness of it. It is no wonder that this site has been
such a success. With over 130,000 hits in its first couple months
of existence, leading to the author being invited to speak at campuses
across California, bigbadasianmama.com is raising awareness of this