MILF Alert: Angry, Overachieving Chinese Mother, Amy Chua

Amy Chua (center) and her overachieving daughters

Amy Chua, a Yale law professor and graduate of Harvard, wrote a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal with the heading, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. The thesis for her very bullish essay is that the Chinese (or Asian) immigrant  dictatorial, parental method of raising kids to ensure academic and musical prodigies is the only way to go. It’s in her life blood and that’s how she raises her half Jewish/Chinese daughters, to sometimes the protest of her husband, Jed. Here is a list of bullet points that are definite “no-nos” when it comes to Sophia and Louisa, her daughters:

• attend a sleepover

• have a playdate

• be in a school play

• complain about not being in a school play

• watch TV or play computer games

• choose their own extracurricular activities

• get any grade less than an A

• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama

• play any instrument other than the piano or violin

• not play the piano or violin

From Ms. Chua's album: 'Mean me with Lulu in hotel room... with score taped to TV!'

The rest of the essay is a doozy, especially an incident that she lovingly reminisces about the time she refused to feed her daughter and threaten to donate her toys to Salvation Army if she didn’t master a complicated piano piece. Her daughter was 9 years old at the time.  Or there’s the other time when, at a dinner party, she relayed a precious story where she called her daughter “garbage”, just like her own father called her in years past for not working harder. The result was a dinner party guest breaking out in tears and leaving early and the host trying to rehabilitate Chua with the rest of the party.

Chua is an academic overachiever, and a lawyer by training. They’re inbred to be competing all the time, in any aspect of life. And that’s fine. As for her kids? It’s not for me to say if they’ll turn out all screwed up like other overachieving Asian friends I know. But, the difference here is that even though Chua’s brand of tough love is reminiscent even of my own upbringing, there isn’t a “distance” between her and her kids. She monitors their every move, but according to the article, they seem very close. There is no indication that Chua actually hits her kids either. When you have a daughter performing a recital in Carnegie Hall, then at least on paper, she’s doing something right.

Which in the end, makes her a MILF in my book. Why? It’s plain and simple: Chua practices dominatrix parenting. If applied in other situations, like say, a dominatrix, Chua has all the qualities of being an excellent one. Also, I’ve always been attracted to “mean” girls, growing up. I don’t know why. They’re usually smarter than me, academically and common-sense wise, and never, ever put out. Was it the challenge? Or my mild fetish for girls that wear glasses?

Amy Chua is indeed a superstar: attractive, super-intelligent, a law professor, Ivy League stock. She’s the whole package. Unfortunately, in her eyes, I would be considered steerage since I went to a state school, watched insane amounts of TV and movies, and have no musical bone in my body. Oh wait, does karaoke count?

I’m sure there will be a lot of backlash from this article, especially from Asian-Americans who may be overachieving themselves and suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome. So, is Chua a tyrant? Yes. Is she raising her kids wrong? Not necessarily. In a PC world where American society all kids are winners and competition is not encouraged, no wonder we’re failing in the global ranks of academic achievement. In a way, maybe Chua has a point here. But, since I’m not of her ilk, I’ll just relegate to my Caveman status and admire her for all her MILFy meanness.

42 thoughts on “MILF Alert: Angry, Overachieving Chinese Mother, Amy Chua

  1. Regrettably, Ms. Chua’s exaggerated remarks are an embarrassment to her wonderful family (nice photos), Chinese culture, the Wall Street Journal, my alma mater (Yale) as well as to her. It is as if she was never served a slice of Americana despite her success here in America. Is the Wall Street Journal a proponent of material success at any cost? Perhaps the idea that there can be no real commitment without choice should be rewritten – there can be no real commitment without coercion. I will not be reading any of Ms. Chua’s books anytime soon.

  2. for all her waxing poetic about chinkology (like Amy Tan and Maxine Kinston-Hong), I have to ask how long have she ever spent time in China and whether she even speaks Chinese?

    like chop-suey, the sellouts capitalize on white people ignorance to pander

  3. Forget Amy Chua: good god, her daughters must be so wound up, they’re bound to become the craziest party girls on Girls Gone Wild- Ivy League Edition!

  4. Why did the Wall Street JournAal allow this to be published in it’s pages this women shud be charged with abuse becuase that basically what it is.

  5. I think that, for the most part, the article is pretty accurate in detailing most Asians’ parenting methods. I’ll leave it at that. But I’m sure the author doesn’t have the same feelings toward Asian fathers since she pretty much neglected to give them credit. Makes perfect sense though since homegirl married a white guy which is usually an indication that her own daddy was too mean and strict. Yes, it’s a psychology thing. And unfortunately, it’s an Asian thing.

  6. @George – if you ever lived on the eastern sea board, hen you know it’s a East-Coast thing.

    and I find it ‘interesting’ you automatically zoomed in on the father rather than Chua’s own internalized racism as the cause of her major mental malfunction.

  7. @Cathy – obviously it’s a PR move to sell the trash of a book that will come out on Tuesday. WSJ is undoubtedly one of the subsidiaries of whatever publishing house is printing that potboiler

  8. MILF = yes
    DUMBASS = yes
    SELL-OUT/TRAITOR = yes
    HIGH-MAINTENANCE = probably
    REPRESENTATIVE of ALL Asian/Chinese mothers/parents = NO.

    Note to my daughter for when she goes to Yale or some other Ivy League school (MUST!!): You are FORBIDDEN from taking any classes by Prof. Chua.

    LOL.

  9. @chunk$, to be fair, internalized racism can stem from loathing of one’s family as well. Yea, her kids are gonna be screwballs when they get older (most likely).

  10. She is a whitewashed Asian.

    How can you believe “Chinese Parenting advice” from someone who married a white guy?

  11. @Rockmanj – since we compare everything to white people by default: the only things I’ve heard about white girls reacting to overbearing parents is by becoming strippers or the San Fernando film industry.

    since when has Asian girls rebelled like that because of daddy issues? but it’s more because of the media they give the BS excuse of “escaping the sexist AM patriarchy that binds AF feet”

  12. I’m shoked. I’ve just read the whole article. She thinks she makes her kids happy? Later she will choose their professions, their husbands, won’t she?
    It looks like children abuse, not physical, but mental. Will her children love her when they grow up? Will they be thankful? I don’t think so.
    And how does she treat her husband? I don’t think such strickt person can be kind and soft to anybody.
    Well, parents must be strickt, but not like that. I think there must be something between being soft and strickt.

  13. She’s from the Philippines, and the SF Gate story is really more balanced.

    “This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs,” the book’s cover declares. “This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/08/RVAE1H3BSG.DTL#ixzz1AflJ5ut9

  14. @Belinda, I bet her mom didn’t let her eat dinner for five days after that debacle … all she could do was sit in the corner and work on her calculus while the rest of their family quietly enjoyed their Chinese food from P.F. Chang.

    And according to Randall Park, the P.F. stands for Pretty Fuckin’ Ruthless … if there was an “R” after the “P” and the “F.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJchJpg0ynI

  15. She’s a caricature of a certain type of Chinese mother. I will not say “Asian” as she does not represent any other Asian mothers that I know of. Her article is just a rationalization of her parenting style, but deep down, I’m sure there is a very insecure girl who is unhappy with how she was raised. It’s all to make herself feel good about her own childhood.

  16. If you like bitchy, demanding women, I’m sure you will find her attractive.

  17. add MATERIALISTIC to the equation and you have either Korean or Shanghai women. ;)

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  20. “add MATERIALISTIC to the equation and you have either Korean or Shanghai women.”

    You don’t know anything about Korean women.

  21. yeah, i don’t watch any k-drama soaps and don’t think either Korean gender are that romantic

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  23. Wow, it makes sense. Look how whipped her husband is in the WSJ article. It’s a book about Mothers. Where’s the dad? Clearly under her control! He likes being her bitch!

    Too bad his kids get abused in the process :-/

  24. Dude, she is one hard mofo mama!! Are you kidding about her not allowing her children to play any other instrument besides the piano and violin? I guess I’m asking that b/c (although it was for a year, I did love it) I played the tenor sax, but wow…

    About the school plays…maybe they’re similar to High School Musical (if I had a kid I would bar her/him from auditioning)

  25. “yeah, i don’t watch any k-drama soaps and don’t think either Korean gender are that ”

    You don’t know anything about Koreans, period.

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  27. Do the kids speak Hebrew and Chinese? That is something we are striving for in our household.

  28. Okay, she is a little tightly wound, but based on some of the responses with grammar and spelling errors, it looks like some of you didn’t pay attention in grade school let alone college.

    In a related note, we continue to be one of the dumbest countries in world education and then the states cut spending in education so we can get dummer (deliberate misspelling).

  29. Personally, I would far rather raise a happy, well adjusted bank teller than the crazy ass corporate robots these kids are likely to grow up to be.

    Let’s see how they do in working environments with few social skills because they were never allowed to play or have friends.Let’s see what they think of “Mommy Dearest” when they are 30.

    This chick is more than “tightly wound” – she is an abusive nut job who is primarily concerned with her children as a reflection of herself. It is all egomania, it is never about the kids with this type of parent.

    “Chinese” mother? This is a Chinese-American woman married to an American Jewish guy who needs to grow some and call this beotch off of his kids.

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  31. I grew up with some kids that were raised this way. They had no ‘real’ friends as they weren’t allowed to do anything not approved by their parents. You could see they were constantly stressed at school, always trying to be better than everyone else. Poor kids.

    I also remember the day I came to school and found out one of the kids had killed himself over the weekend. His parents left him alone after ‘discussing’ his recent school grades. I can only hope that his parents have some regret to the role they played in his suicide.

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  34. As an Asian American who grew up with one of these abusive mothers I say that Amy Chua should go to hell. I too, was forced to play piano and banned from school plays. When I got parts in plays I would event thousands of lies to attend rehearsals. Instead of going to drama school like I had hoped I was pushed to get a degree at UC Berkeley. I developed severe depression and my mother called me a liar while I worked to pay off my hospital bills. In my third year when I informed her I was going to be an actress my mother screamed at me and disowned me. Yeah, real nice parenting. Chua’s method might work for robots but not for kids who want to become something other than doctors, lawyers, and engineers.

  35. In a later interview with one of Chua’s daughters, it’s more or less stated that the book was supposed to be partly satirical – which doesn’t really register when pretty much everyone has known someone who was parented this way.

    What baffles me is that no one seems to realize there’s a happy medium, and that it’s possible to achieve. Sure, it seems that Chua’s daughters have thrived under her care – but that same pressure can turn another kid into a basketcase instead of a diamond. Praising your kid to high heaven won’t do him any favors, and calling him garbage won’t, either. Hell, I would’ve cried at that dinner party too. What a shitty thing for a kid to hear. But giving your kid a challenge while acknowledging that he’s achieved something he should be proud of? I think yes.

    It also pains me that playing music is so often used as a disciplinary tool. Yes, I know discipline is good, but being forced to practice a hobby you don’t enjoy is a recipe for disaster. If the kid wants to practice drawing instead, let them draw! They’ll learn persistence and discipline all the same.

    So many parents are confounded by how little their kids want to practice their instruments, but fail to realize that good musicians need a modicum of passion – the passion for not getting your ass beat doesn’t count – and interest in what they’re doing. It’s much easier to build a skill when it’s something you love. If they hate it, they’ll drop it, sooner or later. All that time and money wasted.

  36. You’re defending this piece of garbage? Can you say child abuse? Or don’t you care?

    Well as long as she’s good-looking. Which might explain why her pathetic husband allowed his daughters to be treated like robots.

    Her holier-than-thou butt should be in jail, not making millions from her pathetic book. And don’t lecture me on how “successful” her daughters will turn out.

    Daughters of abusive parents typically wind up married to abusive husbands. Great job Amy Chua. Now please get your skinny I-am-superior butt back to China. Stop screwing up American children!

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