Tiger Mother Man Trap: Discuss

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Jan. 24 2011 10:56 AM

Tiger Mother Man Trap: Discuss

To Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy, Amy Chua's memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother , is "not a parenting guide." (We knew that, right?) It's a "cautionary tale about marriage. A wife is like a box of chocolates, fellows. Except that the chocolate bites you."

Milloy follows that rather trite reference by dragging out the classic stereotype of the Asian woman man-trap. In his fantasy about Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, Chua represents pretty much everything someone who gets his life philosophy from Forrest Gump could imagine about those Oriental feminine wiles: Once "what at first blush appeared to be a demure, socially awkward 20-something classmate ... got her tiger mom claws into Jed," all that changed. "Poor Jed. If a guy like him ends up married to a flesh eater, then nobody's safe." This is presumably meant as a joke and is really an incorrect reference to the title an older Lulu (Chua's youngest daughter) suggested for the book: The Perfect Child and the Flesh-Eating Devil , which she means as a complaint about the way her mother compares her to her "perfect" older sister in the book's pages.

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But why read the book, or admit you didn't, when others already have, and such a convenient target appears so easily in your crosshairs? "Chua must have used everything in her arsenal of feminine charms to blind Jed to the warning signs. The flick of a ponytail, perhaps, or a fluttered eyelash; a neckline revealed, a glimpse of leg, a shake of the hip?" It sounds like once Forrest Gump ended, Milloy's cable channel served up Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon . "Beware, young men," he concludes, "it's a jungle out there."

I understand that Milloy was attempting to offer a clever take on popular topic. But while lashing together a lot of tired old stereotypes about women, men, and marriage and floating them out on a bed of underlying racism may say a lot about the writer, it doesn't say much at all about the subject. And-perhaps the worst crime of all-it isn't funny.

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