As an interesting yet highly stereotypical Chinese character which entered the Western culture, the concept of a sensual, beautiful, dangerous and lethal Chinese woman has been depicted in comics, novels, computer games and of course action movies, performed by famous actresses of Asian decents.
The story of the “Dragon Lady” character derives from past times of extreme discrimination and racism towards Chinese people, which affected both Europe and America from late 19th century onwards. Next to admitting the biases of Chinese community representation in our pop culture, it is also worth to notice that strong and powerful Chinese women actually existed and had a prominent role in recent history, but not reflecting at all the sensual and threatening femme fatale character that still today animates fictional spy-stories.
Read the full blog about the Dragon Lady between history and fiction, authored by Sofie Taes and developed in collaboration with Europeana XX Century of Change project on Europeana website >>
image: Anna May Wong on a poster promoting the movie Świat nocy (‘Piccadilly’), c. 1929, from: Mazowiecka Biblioteka Cyfrowa, Public Domain via Europeana.
PAGODE – Europeana China is co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility Programme of the European Union, under GA n. INEA/CEF/ICT/A2019/1931839