Meghan Markle lashes out at ‘toxic Asian stereotypes’ in movies

Meghan Markle takes aim at Austin Powers and Kill Bill for the way they 'stereotype' East Asian women.

Meghan Markle Archetypes

The Duchess of Sussex has aimed her podcast at films such as Austin Powers and Kill Bill for their “caricatures” of East Asian women. In the first episode of Archetypes released since the Queen’s death, Meghan Markle recollected her “adolescent embarrassment” at being nude at a Korean spa with her mother as a teenager. She likewise examined the “dragon lady” stereotype with Lisa Ling, a journalist, and the humorist Margaret Cho.

“Movies like Austin Powers and Kill Bill, they presented these caricatures of women of Asian descent as over-sexualised or aggressive,” Markle stated. “And it’s not just those two . . . there are so many more.” She then played a clip from Austin Powers in Goldmember, the third outing in the film comedy series, that stereotypes almost every character among the cast, most notably its main hero and villain. It also features characters Fook Mi and Fook Yu, who were Japanese twins.

mike myers austin powers

Mike Myers doing exaggerated antics in the middle of a busy street in a scene from the film ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’, 1999. (Photo by New Line Cinema/Getty Images)

In a clip taken from Kill Bill, a film about modern samurai who hack each other to death, the character O-Ren Ishii said: “The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is . . . I collect your f***ing head.”

“The ‘dragon lady,” said the Duchess, “…the east Asian temptress whose mysterious foreign allure is scripted as both tantalising and deadly — this has seeped into a lot of our entertainment. But this toxic stereotyping of women of Asian descent, it doesn’t just end once the credits roll.” She then related growing up in Los Angeles close to a culture “you could see, feel, hear and taste”.

Markle claims she went to a Korean spa with her mother when she was younger, a site where swimwear was prohibited. The Duchess said: “It’s a very humbling experience for a girl going through puberty because you enter a room with women from ages nine to maybe 90, all walking around naked . . . all I wanted was a bathing suit.

O-Ren Ishii Kill Bill Lucy Liu

O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill Vol. 2, played by Lucy Liu

“Once I was over that adolescent embarrassment, my mom and I, we would . . . have the most delicious noodles. And we’d look around at all of these other women, these beautiful Korean women who had embraced the generational tradition of the jjimjilbang [bathhouse].”

Meghan decided to postpone the release of the latest episode of her Spotify series until after the royal mourning period. She and the Duke of Sussex have also released a new portrait, taken at the One Young World Summit in Manchester days before the Queen’s death.

Leave a Reply

More like this