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Nguyen's site has become a hub for Asian American feminists, but it has inevitably attracted its share of critics. Asian-porn fans who accidentally stumble onto her site have been vocally disappointedand worse. She's been accused of anti-male tendencies, told she's letting "foxy Asian babes go to waste," and threatened with physical and sexual violence. Mostly, she says, "I get messages about how I'm a congenital lesbian trying to start a cult."
Still, Nguyen has stuck with her project and expanded it at her current domain, WorseThanQueer.com, which has, in turn, spurred on other feminist Asian American webzines, like Big Bad Chinese Mama. This year-old Los Angeles-based site, by Kristina Sheryl Wong, satirizes mail-order-bride and Asian porn sites with pictures and biographies of Asian Americans like "Annie," a chain-smoking, pink-haired war refugee who "is very grateful to the soldiers who fed her Marlboros and Spam as a little girl."
Rather than wait for perverts to accidentally stumble onto her page, Wong decided to rope them in intentionally. She began by copying porn sites' Meta tagsthe invisible descriptions some search engines use to produce resultsand pasting them into her own site. "They were huge, and would be jammed full of search terms like 'blow job,' '69,' 'ass,' and 'dutch'I don't even know what 'dutch' is," she says. "Now I love to check my statistics and see what people typed in to find my site. One time, it was 'Eskimo-fucking Cambodian women.' "
Over the past year, Wong has promoted her site surreptitiously in chat rooms for white men looking for Asian women, in online porn-swapping clubs, and in the adult classified listings of New Times L.A. "My pitches would be just as bad as everyone else," she says, " 'Want hot Asian XXX girls? Click here.' "
Wong says her guest book is "clogged with angry perverts now" and she wouldn't have it any other way. "I used to edit it," she says, "but now I think it's important to stop insulating ourselves and see how stupid and ridiculous people really are." Recently, Wong received an e-mail that read, "I love jacking off to the pictures on Exoticize This and Big Bad Chinese Mama.' "
"It's just so pathetic," Nguyen sighs. "These messages are just about people trying to put us back in our place." Of course, that only feeds the fire. Prema Murthy's projects continue online, in galleries, and in museums; Greg Pak's films continue to attract new viewers; and Nguyen and Wong continue to expand their sites. "They write these messages to try to horrify us," Nguyen explains, "but they don't get it. If we were that easy to horrify, we wouldn't be doing this in the first place."