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Manifesto


Resistance as Living: Giving Revolution a Sense of Humor

- OR -

Why I Tricked Thousands of Nasty Porn Seeking Guys to Come to my Fake Mail Order Bride Site, Only to Get a Fist in Their Face.

by the big bad chinese mama

Question: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: That's not funny.



Glimpses from my freshman youth as a rebellious blonde, mad at everything and anything.
My first year as a UCLA undergraduate, you could find me in the front row of my Women's Studies lecture with a sweaty hand gripping my pen as I jotted frantic notes into my notebook. My "Rethinking Women" reader (meticulously underlined and highlighted with pensive notes spread amply in the margins) poised studiously in the other hand. If you were in my classes then, you'd remember me as that Chinese-American girl with the spikey bleached blonde hair, who always volunteered condemning remark after remark on the state of gender and race relations in the media, America, workplace, etc. Even if it wasn't ethnic or gender studies, I'd be in my Astronomy class, mentally dissecting the race politics behind how constellations were named after Greek gods. You name it, I could condemn it.

By my last year of college, I had bought maybe half of my required textbooks, dragged myself into most of my classes late (that is, if I even bothered to wake up), and kept myself awake in the back of the classroom by scribbling poems about dumb crushes. My passionate classmates squealed words like "oppression," "stereotype," and "sexism" that became wind-like murmurs floating past my sleepy ears. My eyes rolled to the back of my head each time one of the feisty students in my class whined in class discussions about how "Amy Tan is sexist against Asian men," or "Margaret Cho is so whitewashed," or " Ling on Ally MacBeal is still nothing but a dragon lady." As the class would meditate in consternation about the confines of their identity due to "the Man", I daydreamed about actually having some of "the Man's kind" enrolled in the class who could listen and share in this discussion.

(Bored to fucking tears with class.)

Basically, I got bored and was becoming numb to the issues. In that last year of college, I accessed my learnings: I realized that it is a lot easier to discuss oppression with the oppressed rather than the oppressor. I learned how to write thesis papers in one night that would only be read by myself and the teaching assistant. I realized that taking an "activist's" stance in many of my classes was hypocritical, as I was too much of a prankster to be the poster girl for human rights and dignity (not that I didn't care). I also realized that I had no clue how to use a computer. I was going to graduate with a ton of knowledge under my belt, but had shared none of it outside of the classroom. With an upcoming proposal for my senior project due, I refused to write another half-assed paper that would be read by only two eyes and tossed afterwards. I wanted to utilize an accessible medium for audiences inside and out of the Asian American community. And most of all I wanted to have some fun! With this in mind, I drew up the plans for www.bigbadchinesemama.com.

The idea behind my site is to catch the oppressor in the act of oppression and use my personal sense of humor as a political force. I wanted to subvert the expectations of a nasty guy in search of petite naked Asian bodies by showing him the full ugliness of "Sweet Asian girls." The perfect format for intercepting these visitors was to market my site as Asian porn. The format of the site follows that of a mail order bride site complete with a "harem" of not-so-exotic Asian women (pictures submissions I have received from different women of Asian ancestry throughout the world). My brides offer biographies that are much more humanized (and threatening!) than the brides in an actual mail order bride site. I also have prank calls to sex and pornography franchises posted. There are also images of Asian women physically assaulting Caucasian men intended to spoof and blow up the "bring down the white man" thing. The site was intended shock and provoke the boundaries of being "politically correct" and force people to respond the way pie charts, statistics and graphs wouldn't. I purposely link my sites to nasty clubs and chatrooms to draw this traffic. I also link my site to Asian American activist sites. I even had a couple of ads running in the back of the New Times LA (where the masseuse ads are!) advertising the site as a porn site!



WEDGIE! Stick it to the man!
And the site has created a stir. With over 130,000 hits in a matter of months, merchandise sales that have me on bi-weekly visits to the post office, invites for speaking engagements and guest lecture presentations in University classes throughout California, feature articles on major sites and publications, and thousands of letters and messages from fans and enemies each month‹my little junky website has a lot of people talking! I leave many of the hate messages open to the public in my unedited guestbook. By keeping these comments visible, I hope to remind my Asian American/ Feminist critics who want to critique my unorthodox tactics of the real issues that I am addressing. For me, this project is successful because I am bringing a voice that is uniquely mine to so many people. The web allows me to be flexible with my additions and edits. It's good to know that the humor and presentation is effective in creating a buzz. I also receive many emails from women who are inspired by my work and ask to help me with mine or how to create their own sites.

I had become so humorless after that angry first year of college and thankfully eased off for the sake of my sanity. I accepted pretty quickly that being the "ideal identity" of an Asian American woman was impossible. Sometimes we need to accept that nobody can represent a community as diverse and confusing as ours accurately and fairly‹especially in artistic mediums. Attacking the people within our community is worse than ignoring the issues that affect us altogether. As Asian Americans building a stronger presence in the country, we should not be so nihilistic and critical of the few people who dare to speak out. Attacking people for not being "perfect" representatives for our community is worse than ignoring the issues that affect us altogether‹especially if you are not contributing work to the community yourself. Academic theory and critique is one thing, but adding your contribution to the thin spectrum of voices that exists is what we really need if we want to educate and change the opinions of others.

BigBadChineseMama.com relaunched in association with Asian Loop. Copyright 2008