I was reading a book review recently and realized there have been a lot of books published recently with the word “tiger” in the title. I’m not the only one who has taken notice: NPR’s Monkey See blog has a post titled “Know Your ‘Tiger’ Books: A Primer With Stripes On”. Some of the books mentioned are older. A few of the plots are about tigers. But the two recent books on my mind are titled “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” and “A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family” and are both written by Asian authors.
I have not read either book and have only read reviews about each book. In “A Tiger in the Kitchen,” the author was born in the year of the tiger. The tiger is used to symbolize the author since it is believed that one’s zodiac reflects one’s personality. In “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” the tiger is a reflection of war. The tiger has a defensive nature, stalking its prey and then pounce at the right time to attack. I guess parenting can be like a tiger: there is a fine balance between being invisible and being overbearing.
My reaction to the “tiger” titles was that hopefully it would not lead to another stereotype. The term “dragon lady” is one stereotype of Asian women. Now, the terms “tiger mom,” “tiger dad,” and “tiger parents” have been thrown around. It is rather disheartening to have cultural icons turn into cultural stereotypes.