The Big Bad Wongsta

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writer, actor, educator, activist, and filmmaker living in
Los Angeles. She was an Artist in Residence at UIUC last
year. Her work has been described as feminist, activist,
hip-hop, and most often, hilarious. Her notoriety began
with her creation of <> in
2000, the self-proclaimed “#1 mock mail order
bride/Asian porn spoof site in the world!”
Wong created the Big Bad Chinese Mama website as a
senior project when an undergraduate student at UCLA.
She was motivated by the lack of safe spaces for Asian
women on the Internet, a desire to increase her computer
skills, and a thorough frustration with the inability of
her Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies courses
to enact the change they championed. While building
the site, she copied the metatags from porn sites so
searches for porn yielded Big Bad Chinese Mama. She
also programmed the site to respond to feminist and
Asian and Asian American activist searches. Hence, the
guestbook dealt with the lack that frustrated her most
about academia—putting the “oppressed” in conversation
with the “oppressor.”
Though the site is clearly informed by feminist ideas related
to disrupting the male gaze, Wong was hesitant to adopt
the label. To her, she was too much of a prankster to fulfill
the role of “feminist.” Wong wrote in Catching a Wave, “On
one occasion, a student put me on the spot and asked if I
thought of myself as a feminist. I explained, ‘I don’t consider
myself so much a feminist as I do an artist who believes that
there is political power in the personal voice.’
Wong has since reconciled with the term and her tensions
about the label. As she defines it in the same anthology,
“Third wave feminism is about embracing
individual experience and making personal
stories political. First and second wave feminisms
sought to empower women as a united
front. Although they offered a political voice
for women as a whole, they didn’t acknowledge
the varying agendas and experiences of
individual women. Third wave feminism is a
response by women of color and others who
felt homogenized by a movement defined by
the goals of middle-class, white women.”
Her projects include guerilla theatre characters
such as Fannie Wong, Miss Chinatown
Second Runner Up and the full-length piece
“Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Wong
crashes Miss Chinatown events dressed as
Fannie, complete with a cigar, a bottle of Jack
Daniel’s, an acne-covered face, and hornrimmed
glasses. She approaches individuals
there to meet Miss Chinatown and insists on
giving autographs and taking pictures with
these “fans” before security is called to remove
her from the premises. In “Wong Flew Over
the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Wong explores the alarmingly
high rates of depression, mental illness,
and suicide in Asian American women.
Wong’s very humorous and interventional
tactics challenge popular conceptions of feminism,
activism, and academia. In an interview
for Asia Pacific Arts: The Magazine, she stated,
“I look at what my work is doing to explore and question
words like ‘activist,’ ‘feminist,’ ‘Asian American.’ For
me, these are all words that I’m trying to stretch in definition
through my work.” Addressing the intersectionality of
identity and the specificity of experience are cornerstones
of the Third Wave, as is using these themes to critique
daily interactions and systems of power.
For more information about Kristina Wong and her
work, visit and/or request a copy
of Cassidy’s thesis, which will be deposited in May.

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