About lucyluqi

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My Mom is a Fob

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FOB (“fresh off the boat”) is used to describe foreigner Asians who have not quite assimilated to American culture. It is often used by non-Asians to describe Asians and also by Asians to describe other Asians. According to asian-central.coma fob characterizes the following:

  •  You were not born in America
  •  You know who Edison, Jay Chou, Ayu, or G.O.D. are. In fact, you have seen them at Atlantic City or Las Vegas recently
  • You speak your native language fluently and so do all your friends
  • You do not have any non-Asian friends
  • Your parents do not speak any English
  • When you speak English, you like to make everything plural
  • You get extremely good grades in school
  • You cannot dance
  • Your fashion sense comes from whatever country you’re from and you incorporate nothing from American fashion into your wardrobe

mymomisafob.com is an online blog and submission page about the funny things that fobby moms say or do. The website is a playful approach to the passive-aggressive, stubborn, “tiger mother” stereotype that Asian moms face (or embody). It is about the mothers who characterize Asian Central’s definition of a fob, use umbrellas and arm sleeves to block the sun, leave mispelt email messages to say hello among others. The website has become a place to find solace in the fact that there are nosy, loud, and endearingly fobby mothers in the world like our own. While scrolling through the site, one can find videos, pictures, voicemails, and screenshots of emails, texts, and dialogues that unintentionally give off a good laugh. Many of the submitters are second generation Asian Americans with foreign-born and raised immigrant parents. MMIAF was begun by 2 Asian American girls who wanted to start a blog documenting their mothers’ hilarity.

Although the word “fob” is sometimes used with a negative connotation, the blog does not intend to use it in a derogatory sense. This comes into conflict with Asian American’s ongoing problem of being stereotyped as the unassimilated foreigner in American media. By sharing their mothers’ foreign qualities to the web, aren’t the submitters contributing to their problem? I believe that the Asian American children who submit to the blog are unintentionally perpetuating their alien stereotype because each post confirms how Asians can be foreign, clueless, funny, etc. However, their intentions lie in sharing the unconditional misspelled love with the rest of the second generation Asian American community.

As Lisa Nakamura states, Asian Americans make up a large majority of the internet’s users. They are powerusers because they are acknowledged as an online force and because the web is an outlet for “resistant cultural practices that allow Asian Americans to both use and produce cyberspace” (263). The users of MMIAF are not necessarily creating a resistant culture against common stereotypes, but they do utilize the cyberspace to produce and share their own content. The lack of Asian American productions in mainstream media encourages them to find other channels of production and communication such as blogs and Youtube. MMIAF allows for interactivity, in which the submitters can question identity while building discursive community in ways that static media cannot (264). People on the blog can share their own stories or comment on others. The interactions on the site sometimes lead to deeper discussions and debates about racial identity and generational differences, though the blog is hearty for the most part.

Creative Piece: Asian Superheroes

ImageSample Abstract: Asian Superheroes (Creative Piece)

            Though there has been an increase in the number of Asian American actors in American entertainment, the industry’s subtle racism has been left unnoticed or ignored by its majoritarian audience. American viewers have become accustomed to seeing white dominant figures in mainstream culture, a normalcy with origins dating back to Western imperialism. Most, if not all, of the leading protagonist roles are casted to Caucasian males and Asian American actors remain in the shadows as the sidekick or villain. Where are the Asian Superheroes?

My final project will be a creative piece accompanied by a written analysis. First, I will be designing three posters with famous male superheroes as Asian characters. One poster will be designed to fit the stereotypical characteristics of Asians—slanted eyes, yellow, bucktoothed, and “kawaii”. The second will be drawn in a realistic style that is familiar to American-produced comics. Lastly, I will be recreating the Asian Superheroes as ghosts. The purpose of the three pieces is to visually comment on the stereotypes and invisibility that Asian American actors face in the American entertainment industry. The written supplement will aim to explain the posters and include an in-depth analysis on Asian American males as the counter-hegemonic forces of White masculinity. I will be using supplemental information from Edward Said, Mike Donaldson, and media commentary sites such as Racebending to analyze historical and social elements that have contributed to the marginalization. Overall, the audience’s reaction to the Asianized superheroes is expected to be surprised or unfamiliar to as it is still a deviant concept to the Caucasian majority.

Works Cited

Aoki, Guy, and Jeffrey Scott Mio. “Stereotypes and Media Images.” Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives. New York: Psychology, 2009. 421-39. Print.

Cheng, Cliff. “Marginalized Masculinities and Hegemonic Masculinity: An Introduction.” The Journal of Men’s Studies 7.3 (2008): 295-315. Print.

Donaldson, Mike. “What Is Hegemonic Masculinity?” Theory and Society, Special Issue:Masculinities (1993): 1-8. Print.

Asian Girls & Makeup

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I thought I’d share this video with everyone since we briefly talked about makeup application to look more Caucasian in class today. These girls use eyelid glue/tape, fake eyelashes, and circle contact lenses to make their eyes appear bigger. Take a careful look at their before-and-afters! This video gets me everytime.

#1: Hello

Greetings! My name is Lucy Qi and I am a 4th year double-majoring in Asian American Studies and Communication. I am proudly an American-Born-Chinese and am also the first person in my family to attend an American university. Aside from the typical girl-things like shopping and fashion, there’s nothing more that I enjoy than art (pencils, oils, watercolor, digital) and some good old MMORPGs. I can sit at a computer for hours.

My favorite example of Asian American popular culture is the growing group of talented performers on Youtube. WongFu Production movies make me tear up, David Choi has an amazing voice, and Kyle Hanagami makes me want to dance. There is a whole network on Youtube in which Asian Americans are able to perform and build a fan-base. Youtube gives Asian Americans an outlet for their creativity and expression in place of lack of Asian celebrities in America’s mainstream media. Although it will take some time for Asian Americans to commonly appear in the mainstream, I see Youtube as a way of diminishing the gap.    

I believe that popular culture is a group of ideas, trends, and way-of-living that is highly familiar and marketable to the general population. It is the “mainstream” that commonly appears in channels such as entertainment, fashion, sports, etc. Because Asian Americans are an ethnic minority in America, they develop their own popular culture with some aspects that identify with their cultural upbringing as an Asian American. They are a hybrid of Americanness and Asianness and have a pan-ethnic identity. Personally, I believe it is relevant and important to understand Asian American culture because other Asian Americans and I are constant producers and consumers of it. Understanding why ethnic groups have a particular culture will allow us to see how race-ethnicity makes up identify with a group of people or ideas. It is interesting to examen why some things are favorable or unfavorable.