By Jessica N. Bowles-Martinez
"Big Bad Chinese Mama" is set up to specifically mock the
Asian mail-order bride sites and catalogs which play up stereotypes
associated with Asian women. Using this premise the site is a forum
for the site creator to dispute the stereotypes and attack the men
who have "Asian fetishes" which are based on the belief
that such stereotypes are true.
The main page has badly photo-shopped pictures of an Asian woman
in a kimono smiling demurely. In the pictures she has her head removed,
multiple eyes, or a frown painted on her face. The text promises that
the site contains "demure lotus blossoms," "geishas,"
and "oriental sluts." This is the angle many Asian porn
sites and mail-order bride sites take when talking about their Asian
women. These sites commodify the culture by showing Asian women "traditional"
outfits and listing cultural traits that all Asian women supposedly
are born with.
A couple months ago I saw a documentary on a man who ran an "Asian
bride" company. He constantly argued that Asian women were preferable
because they are coy, willing to do whatever they are asked, and will
be grateful to be with a western man. The people making this site
are very aware of these and other stereotypes and seem very pissed
off and bitter about it.
The site doesn't throw out abstract intellectual essays claiming
to "get to the essence" or "truth" of what an
Asian woman is really like. Rather, the personality of the people
who created the site comes through in the photos and rants. There
are pictures of Asian girls beating up and attacking men while making
faces at the camera. There isn't stylized martial arts or traditional
costumes, its just some "ass kicking."
In making its point the site is more effective than any laid out
argument or essay because it shows first hand multiple contradictions
to the stereotypes it's trying to shatter. The girl who made the site
shows in her writing that she is not about to stand by and be used
or stereotyped. She swears, she makes faces; she embraces things that
are offensive and silly.
There are great parts of the site that just cracked me up. There
was the area where the mail-order brides send in photos of themselves.
The photos are of Asian women making faces, urinating, or attacking
other people. The area where you "order" the brides has
shirts for sale that have clueless looking white males saying things
like "I am fascinated by you oriental people" and other
ignorant sounding comments.
The part were I felt that the jokes fell short were the prank calls
that were made to various agencies which were in the business of exploiting
women. Most of the calls were not all that funny, nor did they seem
very relevant to the content on the rest of the page. Some of the
calls were loosely related to the page. One call was to a mail order
bride company but the caller mostly asked about whether the women
knew anything about cars. Another call was to a place looking for
Asian female hostesses, but the conversation strayed towards lame
"bathroom humor" type jokes rather than getting to any real
point. It was frustrating to listen to, because this was an opportunity
to point out contradictions or attack the people in a humorous way
about the stereotypes they were perpetuating. Instead, the chance
was lost for a cheap joke that was not very funny.
Overall the page was really amusing. I showed it to a few female
Asian friends and they seemed to really connect with what the people
on the site were complaining about. I also found it really amusing
and recognized some of the situations and the way the stereotypes
manifest themselves at MIT. I don't hear very many people address
these stereotypes so I had not really thought about or questioned
many of them. Now, I think I'll be more sensitive when someone stereotypes
an Asian woman as a demure, exotic, "lotus" who wears a
kimono and cooks rice all day.