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Tiger Mom is an Advice Dog-style image macro series featuring a standoffish looking Asian woman and various captions poking fun at the popular stereotype of Asian American mothers as uber-strict and overzealous parents. In similar vein to High Expectations Asian Father, the joke usually takes on the first-person perspective of an elite-minded Asian mom, such as nagging her children to excel in school.
While the identity of woman depicted in the stock photo remains unknown, the “tiger mom” persona has been linked with Amy Chua, a Yale Law School professor who wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” in promoting her recently published Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, an autobiographical essay about grade-conscious Asian moms who pressure their children to excel in academics, even at the expense of their natural interests.
Single topic Tumblr “Tiger Mom Says” was launched on January 15th, 2011. As of January 21st, 2011, Memegenerator entry for “Tiger Mom” series has accumulated over 200 instances in the gallery. Though unrelated to the coinage of “Tiger Mom,” a group blog titled Crazy Asian Moms was established in October 2006.
Such spartan persona of stereotypical Asian mothers has been previously introduced by Asian American writers like Amy Tan in her 1989 bestseller The Joy Luck Club and many more comedians, most notably Margaret Cho who frequently performs bits involving impersonation of her mother’s heavy accent and traditional style of Korean parenting.
Both the macro series and Amy Chua’s provocative essay have been receiving extensive media coverage, including Time Magazine on January 19th as well as Neatorama, Washington Post Blog, The Atlantic and MSNBC on January 20th, 2011.
Just as quickly as the news about Tiger Mother spread, so did a spark of outrage within parts of the Asian community. On January 22, 2011, The Angry Asian Man posted two tweets, one showing his personal viewpoint on the matter and the other linking to a blog post attacking Amy Chua and Tiger Mom. In it, May-lee Chai claims that the meme along with Chua’s new book masks class privilege in favor of social and racial stereotypes. Several other blogs and articles shared the outrage.
“Tiger Mom” the Movie?
Due to the controversy behind Amy Chau’s book, the producers of “The Joy Luck Club” are considering making a movie based on it, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.