Meghan Markle is back in her “Archetypes” hosting chair after the podcast went on hiatus following the death of Queen Elizabeth.
The new episode, which Spotify dropped on Tuesday, features actress, activist and comedian Margaret Cho and journalist Lisa Ling, who break down the archetype of the “Dragon Lady”, a prejudiced stigma many Asian women are forced to navigate — something that Markle admitted took her awhile to realize while growing up.
“Movies like ‘Austin Powers’ and ‘Kill Bill’ — they presented these caricatures of women of Asian descent as over-sexualized or aggressive,” Markle said, noting that both films are just two examples of “many” problematic portrayals.
“This toxic stereotyping of women of Asian descent… this doesn’t just end once the credits roll,” Markle added before welcoming Cho, who explained that the archetype stems from the “fantasy of Orientalism.”
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“It’s similar to the femme fatale… a woman who is beautiful and deadly. Because we can’t just be beautiful. We have to have, like it has to come at a cost and it’s kind of like, evil queen adjacent. But it’s also so pinned to this idea that Asianness is an inherent threat. That our foreignness is somehow ‘gonna getcha,’” she shared. “The mystery and the exoticism of it is part of it. And unfortunately, that trope has really stuck to film, but also to Asian-American women or Asian women.”
The “Fire Island” star, who was “raised” by TV and film, admitted she felt frustrated as a viewer because she “never saw Asian people in them.”
“I never felt visible. I never felt seen anywhere,” she added.
It wasn’t until Cho got involved in silent films that she began to realize, “‘Oh, this is actually like an archetype, this archetype of the Dragon Lady,’” she recalled thinking after seeing Anna May Wong onscreen.
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Ling also related to the lack of representation, which she said was a driving force for her journalism career.
“The reason why I pursued broadcast journalism was because growing up, it’s the only path that I thought was available to me. My parents were divorced when I was 7, and the television was always on in my home. It was like my favourite babysitter,” she explained. “I used to have these fantasies of being part of it somehow because I thought, if I can get on TV, maybe I will have a better life one day. But no one looked remotely like me on TV except for Connie Chung.”
Spotify releases new weekly episodes of Markle’s “Archetypes” podcast on Tuesdays.