When Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother came out, I had to reserve the book at my public library due to its immense popularity. When I finally read it, I considered burning the thing and paying the fine for it so that it didn’t poison another mind against Asian parenting. Little did I know she’d return to the spotlight years later to show just how much damage she can personally cause to young women besides her own daughters.
For those who had the fortune of NOT reading Battle Hymn, Amy Chua’s wildly popular parenting book was just sensational, Orientalist trash. It portrayed Asian parenting to be some exotic, sadistic tradition to be gawked at. Chua insisted that her book portrayed typical Confucianist child rearing techniques typical of Chinese immigrant families (Confucius spun in his grave).
More treacherously, Battle Hymn perversely perpetrated the model minority myth about our obsessive drive for excellence to the point of pathology.
Her subsequent book The Triple Package, widely panned for racist themes and half-boiled pseudo-academic ideas, revealed a more complete picture of her ideology: that some people are just born with the superior “character traits” of “superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control”, which leads to success.
I wonder if this was what she had in mind when she groomed her own female Yale Law students to exude a “model like femininity” when they interview to clerk for Brett Kavanaugh? Is this what she had in mind when she secured her own daughter’s clerkship with Brett Kavanaugh?
In an interview, Chua insisted that her own daughter would not put up with any inappropriate behavior from Kavanaugh, a man who allegedly prefers beautiful women to clerk for him. Essentially, it’s on Chua Jr. to make sure she doesn’t invite or put up with funny business from her boss, who has the power to shape the rest of her career in law. Right.
It honestly blows my mind to discover the monstrosity of Amy Chua’s ego. This woman has convinced herself that her beautiful daughter, groomed to follow Chua’s footsteps to reach the upper-echelon of society, can “take advantage” of a lecherous man’s proclivities to get ahead without being in any kind of danger.
Amy Chua champions an ideology that only the “strong” survive, and a powerful judge’s “particular taste” presents an advantage for genetically-advantaged women to advance their careers. In other words, the possibility of sexual abuse borne of this power dynamic is merely an occupational hazard that one may choose to be hung-up about, or not.
By this logic, women who fall prey to sexual abuse are simply not equipped with the superior character traits to persevere. When Amy Chua sent her pretty female students to Kavanaugh, perhaps she honestly thought she’s giving these women a shot at success, not ushering them into a viper’s pit.
This is what a gender traitor looks like, servant to the patriarchal order, content to glean power through compliance with predatory practices against her own sex.
Amy Chua is so convinced her proximity to power will protect her from the wrath of those she’s betrayed. Well, that day of reckoning has come.
Frankie Huang was born in Beijing and raised in New Jersey. Currently, she lives in Shanghai where she works as a strategist at an idea studio. Having lived all her life wedged between the proverbial East and West, she is interested in the ways globalization cross-pollinate cultures and lead to different new growths.