“Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” was an article that ran in the Wall Street Journal on January 8, 2011. The author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua describes her efforts to give her children what she describes as a traditional, strict “Chinese” upbringing. Chua later tried to pass it off as a self-deprecating memoir, but if you read it, it is anything but self-deprecating; its tone is even proud of her abusive tendencies.
At one point in the essay, Amy Chua says when her own dad called her “‘garbage”… “it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that.” Well good for you, Amy Chua. He just made you a shitty mother instead. Have fun raising kids that make above-average wages but never get promoted because they’re too deferential to authority to get out of middle management.
I know about Asian culture and how it permeates parenting styles all too well.
My dad is a largely stereotypical Chinese first-generation immigrant. He doesn’t think so because he can pronounce “r”s correctly, but he is very Chinese. He’s a mechanical engineer that studied hard and earned good enough grades to get a grant to study in the US. He has terrible eyesight, which I unfortunately inherited. He believes in Feng Shui and buys a lot of traditional herbal products. He eats mostly Chinese food. He believes in the value of hard work. He married a hick from Mississippi so he could get a green card. And he is also really really sexist.
I bumped the garage door with the sideview mirror? It’s because I’m a woman. I’m only in the 75th percentile for SAT math scores? It’s because I’m a woman. Why am I talking? I shouldn’t, because I’m a woman. Go study. His biggest disappointment was when I decided to go to a liberal arts school.
Wesley Yang summarizes it nicely in “Asian like Me”:
Let me summarize my feelings toward Asian values: Fuck filial piety. Fuck grade-grubbing. Fuck Ivy League mania. Fuck deference to authority. Fuck humility and hard work. Fuck harmonious relations. Fuck sacrificing for the future. Fuck earnest, striving middle-class servility.
“You’re getting fat.”
I thought my dad was just an asshole until I went to Taiwan and all my female relatives made similar comments. I was 16.
I was the same size then that I am now. I’m 5’3” and 110 pounds, which makes my BMI 19.5. For reference, normal BMI goes up to 24.5 and underweight BMI is considered 18.5. The relatives also made fun of my skin tone, which is a light tan that American girls would get cancer for. (Culture over there says tanned skin means you’re a laborer.)
It’s not just my family or Chinese families. A survey of Japanese schoolgirls found that “85% who were a normal weight wanted to be thinner and 45% who were 10–20% underweight wanted to be thinner.”
You know what’s an environmental risk factor identified by psychologists for anorexia nervosa? Controlling parents.
Sorry, Asian people. I’m sorry I’m too tan and fat for your standards. I guess I’ll limit my calorie intake to white rice while I stay inside and study all day. Then maybe one day my cup-size will be an A rather than a C.