Meghan Markle Calls Out ‘Austin Powers,’ ‘Kill Bill,’ ‘Full Metal Jacket’ For “Toxic Stereotyping” Of Asian Women
In her return to her Spotify podcast, Archetypes, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle takes on one of the most prominent stereotypes of Asian women on screen: The Dragon Lady.
“Movies like Austin Powers and Kill Bill — they presented these caricatures of women of Asian descent as oversexualized or aggressive,” Markle said, referencing the hyper-sexualized characters Fook Yu and Fook Mi in Austin Powers in Goldmember and Lucy Liu’s hyper-violent O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill. She noted that such characterizations go at least as far back as 1924, when Anna May Wong played a scheming Mongol slave opposite Douglas Fairbanks in The Thief of Bagdad.
Markle maintainted that, “This toxic stereotyping of women of Asian descent…this doesn’t just end once the credits roll.”
As a case in point, she introduces sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen who wrote about the Dragon Lady stereotype in her book Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism. Yuen told the story of being catcalled by a man using a line out of Full Metal Jacket while she was traveling to an academic conference.
“I myself have been propositioned in an airport in Atlanta of all places by a stranger who said, ‘Me so horny,’ just yelled it out to me.”
Yuen explained, “I knew why because I looked around and I thought and I saw that I was the only Asian woman in that area. I knew he was talking to me, even though I don’t even know if he’d [ever] seen Full Metal Jacket.”
She goes on to detail the line’s enduring popularity, being referenced in a hit song by 2 Live Crew as well as in “shows like South Park and films like The 40 Year Old Virgin.”