After watching Slaying the Dragon in class last week, we learned the different ways Asian American women were portrayed in media. They were either presented as the fierce Dragon Lady or the Lotus Blossom – in general, the stereotypes that Asian American women were really exotic and mystical. I’m glad we got the chance to watch Slaying the Dragon Reloaded this week. The film compares the past to recent times, drawing our attention to the improvements and things that remain unchanged even to this day.
The updated film begins by pointing out how Asian American women are still represented as submissive, unidentifiable, and over sexualized. However, one thing that’s definitely happening is the browning of those women – Asian American women on screen are acting like they don’t have an Asian background. Not only are there scenes where Asian American women immersed themselves among a group of white women, but some are also shown with white parents. This way of presenting Asian American women makes it seem like the directors are simply substituting Asian characters into supposedly white roles. This can’t be the only way to fight the stereotypes in media.
A similar point that really stands out to me is how the same people seem to be used in Disney films, too. When you look closely at the characters, you’d realize that they, indeed, look very similar other than the distinct/stereotypical differences the producers intent to illustrate (for example, slanted eyes in Asians) and the characters’ skin color. Moreover, it doesn’t matter who they are and what their stories are, the female princess characters are always in need of male princes to save them from obstacles because the princesses can’t protect/fight for themselves. Even though these storylines are what I grew up with, now that I look into them, they can mislead the audience into thinking women aren’t capable of accomplishing things by themselves, thus men have to show up to rescue women. Isn’t this another example of silencing women’s agency?