Angry Little Asian Girl

since 1994 comic strips by Lela Lee

My mom's green muumuu

AANHPI, comicsLela Lee

My mom always wore a green muumuu. But when she was at work, she wore polyester pants and a pullover polyester blouse with padded slip on slippers that weren't quite slippers, more like a sturdy flip flop. I don't even know if they make that type of shoe anymore. But whenever she got home, she took off her work clothes and put on her green polka-dotted muumuu. It's this green muumuu that I remember my mom being the most herself. In her work clothes, she was in work-mode. Bossing her employees around and then smiling and being of service to her customers. She was running around, pressing, assembling, sorting and interfacing with her customers. But at home, in that muumuu, she was relaxed (more like grumpy) and truly herself. When readers of my comic see that the mother character is always in a green muumuu, they  ask if she really did wear that.  She did. I think that green muumuu was her go-to outfit for over 20 years, though I don't know where it is now, if I find it, I may have to start wearing it too. Here's to green muumuus and outfits that let you be you. Stay angry my friends.

I Hate People

AANHPI, comicsLela Lee

I drew this comic strip in 2002. My mom had called me to yell, nag or guilt trip me for something. I don't actually remember what she yelled at me for. But I do remember the feeling I got after I hung up the phone. I was exhausted and exasperated. And a simple thought came into my head, "I hate people." The phone was next to my desk and drawing table, which was crammed into a corner of the one-bedroom apartment I shared with my sister. So since I was already sitting at my desk and full of icky feelings, I did what I always did when I was full of angst. I drew. I drew what I felt and this comic strip was the result.

I didn't think it would strike such a nerve. But it did. My bag licensee put the image of Kim in the last panel onto bags and it was a runaway success. But I was still unsure of saying what I thought out loud. I remember carrying my "I hate people" bag and turning the art to face my body as I carried the tote. Once, I was at a deli on Abbott Kinney in Venice and I saw a random woman carrying the same bag. I was too shy to go up to her and say hi. But the cashier noticed her bag and laughed. They laughed and shared with each other stories of how they hated people too. I was kind of surprised how that little comic struck a chord with so many people. I re-released this image onto a t-shirt because some of my fans were asking for it. I hope it makes people laugh, and starts a conversation about the things we hate to see in humanity, like yelling, nagging and guilt tripping. Stay angry. (Oh and thanks Mom!)

Gender Judo

Lela Lee

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about navigating the work place as a woman. People think that because I'm the creator of "Angry Little Asian Girl" and "Angry Little Girls," that I'm some hard core feminist. And the word "feminist" has a harsh connotation. I'm a little of both. Harsh and feminist, but feminine and girlish. I'm also kooky and silly, but can become absolutely serious at the the turn of a dime. (Which may make me seem totally schizo, but hey I function on a lot of cylinders.) I heard about the book, "What Works for Women at Work." I read it and thought the 4 patterns of women at work; 1. Tightrope 2. The Tug of War. 3. Prove-It-Again 4. Maternal Wall, are all on point. I didn't realize they existed, but because these 2 authors took the time to point them out, now I can see it at play in a lot of women's working lives, even mine. I've experienced all of these. It's not east navigating the workplace as a woman. I hadn't really realized these games are being played, but since we are all "working" in one way or another, we should know they are at play, right? I hope you'll read the book or at least start a conversation about the topics. Stay Angry my friends.