Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lotus Blossom and Dragon Lady

      There are two different role of Asian American woman, "Lotus Blossom" and "Dragon Lady". Before this post, we have already talked about the definition of dragon lady and the example of the dragon lady from the previous posts. Lotus Blossom describes Asian American woman who is quiet, gentle, modest and obedient. The Lotus Blossom is exactly the opposite to the Dragon Lady. The Asian American women who are Lotus Blossom always seem like they are innocence and pitiful, a lot of men will be willing to help her or even take care of her. Lotus Blossom is every man's wonderful and aspirational woman. There is an example of the Lotus Blossom who is Lin Daiyu. Lin Daiyu is a character of classic Chinese novel which is Dream of the Red Chamber. She is portrayed as a beautiful, intelligent and sickly woman. She also lets a lot of men to be appealed by her because she is beautiful and sickly and everyone wants to take care of her. It is obvious that every men love to choose Lotus Blossom rather then Dragon Lady. Every man want to have a woman who is quiet, beautiful and modest, they do not want to have a woman who is always dominant, cunning and untrustworthy. Lotus 
Blossom is a compliment to the Asia American woman,
but Dragon Lady is an insulting word to the Asian American woman. When an Asian American woman becomes a dragon lady, she is hardly to get married. By contrast, when an Asian American woman becomes a Lotus Blossom, she is easier to get married. Above statements are just because woman's personality and appearance. Even though Lotus Blossom is a compliment to Asian American woman, it is still unfair to Asian American woman because the media or men label them.

Work Cited:
      "Stereotypes of Asian American Women | REPresentation." REPresentation. N.p.,
       n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

Anna May Wong: Original Dragon Lady

Chinese-American actress, Anna May Wong, is known for being the first Dragon Lady to be displayed in the Media in the 1900s. Wong made her first breakthrough in 1919, during the time Asians were considered outsiders even if they were born in America. In every film the Wong was in, she was either displayed as the stereotyped "Dragon Lady" or "Butterfly". Regardless of being an Asian foreigner or an American born Asian, people still to this day still stereotype Asian American women as being a "Dragon Lady" in the media. In Wong's case, for being the first ever Chinese-American to breakthrough into the media as being a Dragon Lady, in later films she was still displayed as the same role she broke through in. In my opinion, that has it's good and bad factors for it. It's good because it show cases Asian Americans as strong and sexy but it's also bad because it gives Asian Women the look of only being good to pleasure an individual and be conniving at the same time. Wong showed that many Asian Americans can earn leading roles in today's media. At age 56, Wong died while having a heart attack in her sleep. She was always be known and respected for being the first Asian American to become the original Dragon Lady and to be one of the first to have a breakthrough in the American media.
Work Cited:

Crowther, Linnea. Anna May Wong: Dragon Ladies and Butterflies. February 3, 2012

Rise of the Dragon Lady

        The first representation of the “Dragon Lady” did not come to be from night-to-day, it develop through series of events, the first being through cultivation. Americans were afraid that Asians were going to steal their farming business do to the fact that Asians were buying unwanted swamp land and making it prosper. An article by Hemant Shah, “Asian Culture” and Asian American Identities in the Television and Film Industries of the United States, states that, “White farmers were resentful because many Asians leased unwanted swamp land, made it arable, and competed successfully in the local produce markets.” Americans had to persuade others into believing Asians were a threat to the United States, so they used the media, which at the time only consisted of newspapers (1900-1930). The media had to show that Asians were a menace to the residents of the United States, so they wrote newspaper articles which stated, “We have four million of the degraded negroes (sic) in the South ... and if there were to be a flood tide of Chinese population–a population befouled with social vices, with no knowledge or appreciation of free institutions or constitutional liberty, heathenish souls and heathenish propensities, we should be prepared to bid farewell to republicanism” (Shah 3). Newspaper quotes like this made Americans think that Asians were a threat to the United States and therefore created the images that portrayed Asians as bad people.
        Asians in general were now represented poorly in the United States by the Newspapers, but it wasn’t until 1924, that Asian women were represented as the “Dragon Lady.” As the media looked more into Asian culture, they found that a particular Asian woman would do anything to dominate. Her name is Tsu-hsi, a Chinese Empress that believed in monarchy and stopped at nothing to be in control. A journalist stated that she was “a reptilian dragon lady who arranged the poisoning, strangling, beheading or forced suicide of anyone who challenged her rule” (Shah 3). That gave Americans the perception that there was more to be said about the “Dragon Lady,” therefore Hollywood brought the concept of the dragon lady when Raoul Walsh featured his film Thief of Baghdad in 1924. Shah, states “In Hollywood films, Asian women were depicted as diabolical, sneaky, and mean, but with the added characteristics of being sexually alluring and sophisticated and determined to seduce and corrupt white men. The prototype of this role was developed, albeit reluctantly, by Anna May Wong in serials and feature films such as the Thief of Baghdad” (Shah 3). The stereotype hasn't diminished and as more writers continue to misrepresent Asian women, it will continue to portray the angry, dominant Asian woman as the Dragon La. 

Work Cited

Shah, Hemant. “‘Asian Culture’ and Asian American Identities in the Television and Film Industries of       the United States”. Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education, Volume 3, Issue 3 (August 2003). 

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Dowager Empress Cixi

      The Dowager Empress Cixi is an example of dragon lady. Here is an short introduction of The Dowager Empress Cixi

The most famous dragon lady, however, is the Dowager Empress Cixi, an outsider who rose in the late 19th century through sexual exploits from an emperor's concubine to the one person running -- and, many would argue, ruining -- the Qing dynasty. Although there's no more actual evidence of Cixi's homicidal tendencies than there is of Gu's, that hasn't stopped historical soap operas on Chinese television from claiming that Cixi murdered the Guangxu Emperor to preserve her legacy after her death.

      The Dowager Empress Cixi is an perfect example of dragon lady. She was Tongzhi Emperor's mother. Because of Tongzhi was young to become emperor, he was largely overshadowed by the rule of his mother Empress Dowager Cixi. After Tongzhi was dead, she selected Guangxu who was Cixi's nephew to become emperor. When Guangxu became emperor, she also controlled all of the dynasty. She used extremely strict and gave a lot of pressure to manipulate and  control  to Tongzhi Emperor and Guangxu Emperor because she wanted to maintain her autocratic power. Even until she was dead, she also ordered someone used poison to let Guangxu Emperor died and ordered doctors to say that Guangxu Emperor was natural death. She had a lot of negative evaluations to her. For instance, She spent a lot of money rebuilding Yuanmingyuan and her living expenses, causing people and government did not have enough money to pay debt. Even though every ministers tried their best to stop her, it still did not work. Hence, causing the lately Ching dynasty was people living in destitution  running short of ways in dealing with the finance's problem, to  become worse. She was cruel and did not have any values about life. She could maintain her autocratic power to kill anyone who tried to stop her or did not listen to her, she even wanted to live perfectly and coveted her high position and great wealth to let all of Ching dynasty's people were hardly to live their life and also cause Ching dynasty to be destroyed. She was just like a disaster to Ching dynasty. Even though she also had some positive evaluations, the negative evaluations were more than positive evaluations. She was a dragon lady and no one would be doubt because her cruel actions and power.

Work cited:
      French, Paul. "Foreign Policy Magazine." Foreign Policy. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Asian American Women in Today's Media: Lotus Flower vs. Dragon Lady

Am i the only one that notices Asian Americans in today's media constantly plays the same role in each film? It's either they play the nice, beautiful, and weak character or the strong, sexy, and leading role character. In other words, they're either displayed as a Lotus Flower or a Dragon Lady. Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with Asian Americans being shown as either, what im asking is it really ok for Asian Americans women to be displayed as a Lotus Flower or Dragon Lady? Is it starting to get a little old? For example, movies like Memories of a Geisha, Rush Hour 2, Charlies Angels, etc, show the roles of Asian American women being either a Lotus Flower or a Dragon Lady. What's even more surprise is not only are women displayed in that way, but also Asian American Men are also getting more recognized in the media today.

In the video above, Slaying the Dragon: Reloaded, Directed by Elaine H. Kim, she shows how Asian Americans are shown in films today. Although a Lotus Flower and Dragon Lady are suppose to be different, they still have similarities. They both are used in sexual ways....the question is though, is it really okay to display asian Americans this way?

Nikita: Next Dragon Lady ?!

The American Television series "Nikita" played by Asian American, Maggie Q, displays a woman who escapes a secret government known as Division and tries to fight justice while the government is after her every move. Nikita displays what you would call a modern Dragon Lady. How, you say? Just like the definition of the dragon lady, Nikita uses her ability in a sexual and fighting way. This series not only gives American Asian woman a title of not only being sexy and kickass! but also displays how smart and straightforward they can be to get what they want. This ongoing serious has yet to disappoint the audience and is currently on their third season.

Preview of the series Nikita:

You tell me, does Nikita convey the image of the Dragon Lady or what? (;

Convergence from Lotus Blossom to Dragon Lady

        My definition of a "Dragon Lady" might be different from others, I define a dragon lady by her aggressiveness, leadership, and her confidence. A dragon lady can or cannot be seductive; she doesn't have to be sexually attractive, she just has to want to be dominant. Dragon ladies usually want to rule and they would do anything to get what they want, so they plan out devious plans in order to achieve their goal.
There are many stories in the media about how Asian women transition from being educated, sensitive and attractive girls, to cold hearted women. The most common story is the one of a young attractive women, being aroused by a handsome man who later becomes the husband that grows tired of her and treats her as if she was nothing else than a piece of trash, she later finds out that she has ruined her life and becomes bitter, aggressive and a controlling mother. The movie the Joy Luck Club, shows a great example of the transition when aunt Lindo, tells the story about how she lost her soul when she was betrayed by her husband. Lindo was a happy lady that became bitterer when her husband left her for another woman. Lindo now want’s everything to be done her way and she always gets what she wants or else she plans a way to make the person regret their decision.  
        There some women that fit the dragon lady stereotype and one of them happens to be the aunt of an anonymous blogger who we will call Steve. Steve doesn’t mention his aunt’s name so we will provide one for her, we will call her Lidia. Steve states in his blog, “My Favorite Chinese Stereotype:The Chinese Lotus Blossom VS. The Dragon Lady,” that his aunt is known for being difficult. He provides a great funny story:
 “A Dragon Lady is someone like my Great Aunt, with whom I once flew from Taipei to Vancouver. We were detained in Canada Customs for hours, as she had tried to bring into Canada an orchid plant and half a dozen Chinese meat buns. We (Canadian Customs officials and I) watched in horrified amusement as my Great Aunt stuffed her face with six Chinese meat buns, each the size of her palm (she’d rather eat them than let Customs confiscate) – all the while scolding Customs officials in her incomprehensible Chinglish and spitting out bits and pieces of the meat bun at them, as she talked and gestured wildly. Then, after ingesting all those buns, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, smugly patted her stomach, then gave an award-winning belch, which was the talk of Canada Customs for weeks, since Canadians are usually very quiet about their gas, as they are with most other things. My Great Aunt was known in our neighborhood for being difficult, especially after throwing a 2kg pack of frozen baby back ribs at the clerk in the Safeway, because the ribs weren’t on sale like they were the week before.”
He later warns the readers that in every ‘Lotus Blossom” lurks a “Dragon Lady.” He does not say how his aunt became a dragon lady or if she was born one, he just says that in every "lotus blossom lurks a dragon lady," which leaves the reader to assume that his aunt used to be a lotus blossom, but converted herself into a "Dragon Lady."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dragon Lady Incarcerated for Murder

        Gu Kailai, wife of a mortified Communist Party leader (BoXilai), appeared in a Chinese court where she was handed a suspended death sentence, for killing her British business associate Neil Heywood, for presumably plotting to harm her son after the two had an argument, where large sums of corrupt money was involved. Based on an article written by “The New York Times,” Chinadefers Death Penalty for Disgraced Official’s Wife, she is more likely to face life in prison, since those terms (suspended death sentence), usually refer to life imprisonment in China.
        According to “The New York Times,” Kailai, apparently bought an animal poison from a public market and then lead Mr. Heywood to an apartment where she plied him with tea and whiskey. “When he became drunk and began to vomit, Mr. Zhang, the family employee, helped him into bed, prosecutors said. Ms. Gu then took the deadly concoction that Mr. Zhang had been carrying and dripped it into Mr. Heywood’s mouth after he asked for water. She then scattered pills around the room to make it appear that Mr. Heywood had died of a drug overdose.” Two days later employees from the hotel discovered his dead body, police officials pronounced him dead and had his body cremated. In an article by the “Foreign Policy,” Tale of the Dragon Lady, it is said to believe that Bo Xialia had arranged for Heywood’s body to be cremated without an autopsy. Articles such as “Foreign Policy,” lead people to assume that Mr. Xialia lured Kailai into killing Mr. Heywood. If this were true, why would Ms. Kailai ruined her graceful life in order to cover up for her husband?
        Ms. Kailai, was a beautiful, hardworking and talented politician, she studied at the top University in her country, spoke fluent English, and became “a lawyer that took a leading role in the legal battle in the United States involving chines firms, CNN states.” She later became the author of a book called "Winning a Lawsuit in the United States," which talked about experiences she had trough her law career. It seemed like Ms. Kailai, had everything she desired, so what could had led her to commit such an atrocious incident? That question is still unanswered and perhaps it won’t be answered for many years to come, but one can only assume that she is paying for her wrong doings.      
         It seems that the Dragon Lady stereotype does not only target Asian women, it sometimes targets those who we would less expect the stereotype to target like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Mary Todd Lincoln and Marilyn Quayle. It's unusual that the media would portrait them as the dragon lady, mostly because they are white and they are wives of the president or vice president of the United States. The stereotype now-a-days starts to target women that are more dominant politically than their husbands, The New York Times states that, "there was often a sense that it was the wives who wore the pants, and sometimes called the shots. These women were seen as being steelier, and sometimes smarter, than their charming, boyish husbands. They were seen as scarier than their husbands." The media is not just misrepresenting Asian women as dragon ladies, it is also misrepresenting dominant political women, but the fact that that particular stereotype does not target all white dominant politicians in a regular basis, makes it seem as though it only targets Asian women. The stereotype does not offend the white women, because it is rare that they would be targeted with those stereotypical comments often, but in the other hand Asian women get offended, since the media constantly represents them as Dragon Ladies.  

Works Cited

French, Paul. “The Tale of the Dragon Lady”. Foreign Policy. June 26, 2012.

Jacobs, Andrew. “China Defers Death Penalty for Disgraced Official’s Wife”. The New York Times. August 20, 2012.     

Shadbolt, Peter. “Gu Kailai, China's 'Jackie Kennedy'”. CNN. August 19, 2012.