Fast fact - "Me so horny", "Me love you long time" and "Me sucky sucky" were coined in the critically-acclaimed film Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick, which was recently released on Netflix.
Since 1987, these phrases have caused countless amounts of grief and despair for Asian women around the world. It just struck me that this movie was a turning point in my life because of how my peers treated me after watching it... and how I began overcompensating for being different from them.
My husband was already watching it as I walked into the living room.
Jim: "Do you know what movie this is?"
Me: "Um, Full Metal Jacket."
Jim: "Wow, good job -- "
Me: "--No. I hate this movie. Thanks to this movie, all the boys threw money at me while going, 'Love you long time' ... you know, 'too beaucoup'??"
Jim knew exactly what I was talking about.
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READ: American man makes a living 'getting laid' by Asian women
You can watch it for yourself but there is a LANGUAGE WARNING.
Hey, I totally get that this movie was about the casualties of war. Just as it sucked to be a Vietnamese prostitute, it also sucked to be a white soldier getting beaten by his comrades with bars of soap or making the decision to mercy-kill a child sniper. I mean, all the story lines were heavy.
But for the 7th grade girl in me... it was pretty traumatic (It came out in 1987 but resurfaced on HBO in the mid 90s.)
I'm sure Travis, Nathan and B.J. are great men now (or in county jail) but when they were throwing money at me... and calling me "chink" and "gook" on a consistent basis, I wanted to stop breathing. When one of them threw pocket change at me while reciting "five dollars sucky sucky", I piped up and got sent to the principal's office. When Nathan threw a box of rice at me with a naked Asian girl taped on the front, it made me feel ashamed of my skin. It's not their fault they were dumb kids but it certainly wasn't my fault!
Moments in this movie have somehow become a lesson in pop culture. Thanks 2 Live Crew for "Me So Horny"...
It's hard to believe a few lines in a movie can make one so self-aware. However, for me, this was a cultural and gender turning point. Manga-loving, "yellow fever" men looking for submissive, exotic, loose Asian women are also still around.
Sometimes you'll catch me making Asian-ish jokes... like occasionally I'll bust out in Engrish (ie: my aunt praying for no traffic) but it's basically the way I overcompensate. Have you ever heard Kevin Hart talk about why he embraces jokes about his height? Or the late Chris Farley on his weight? "I think when fatty falls down, everyone goes home happy," Farley once said in an interview.
That is me... but without the fame, fortune or humor.
I think you start to overcompensate by making your vulnerabilities your strengths. I'm not special; everyone has them.
I don't think all Asian women hate this movie. I don't even think it's a bad movie. I just wanted to share because at some point, the idea of being exotic, sexual and submissive will be introduced to most Asian-American women, if not all. I mean, it's not scientific but it's pretty mainstream.
I attend culture camps and volunteer with adoptive families and this topic gets avoided because it's awkward. However, I do think it needs to be on parents' radars. I think parents tell themselves it won't happen to their child ("My kids go to Shorewood, and it's pretty diverse.") But I can tell you it's happened to me in rural Missouri and in the upper crust of social groups as an adult. It's not about where you send your kids to school.
It's not like I have nightmares about this movie. It's just that when I saw it on my Netflix roll, it made me stop and think-- Holy crap, that movie taught me more than I ever realized. Pop culture can and does make differences.