Seems like everyone in the parenting community is talking about Amy Chua’s recent piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.” This article really made a lot of people mad. Steaming mad. In fact, I believe this article has received more comments than any other story ever posted on the Wall Street Journal website.
But wasn’t that the whole point? Amy Chua wrote this essay (which is really an excerpt from her new book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”) and the Wall Street Journal published it because they know that readers can’t resist the lure of salacious content like this. More readers means more money for the Wall Street Journal and more book sales for Chua.
This article isn’t really about Chinese vs. Western parenting styles. It is about making money — and we readers fall for it every time.
Remember Ayelet Waldman’s piece in the New York Times about how she loved her husband more than her chilldren? Same sort of (totally predictable) outrage.
There is even an entire section of the parenting website Babble devoted to these types of (shocking!) confessions — it’s called Bad Parent. There you can find all sorts of sensationalized parenting essays — like Why I Let My Kids Drink or this story about “breast” friends who nursed each others’ babies just for fun.
These types of stories are good for business. And we can’t seem to
resist them. For me, that’s the really interesting part of this story.
Why do we readers care so much? Why can’t we see through this obvious
revenue-generating hype? Why have so many people felt the need to leave a
comment and publicly express their outrage over Chua’s intentional
attempt to cause them to feel just that way?
Chua and the Wall Street Journal are just trying to make money using the tried-and-true method of publishing (shocking!) personal confessions that play on our own emotions.
Shame on us for making it so darn easy for them.