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Meghan Markle discusses ‘toxic’ Asian stereotypes as podcast returns after Queen’s death

The fourth episode of Archetypes was released on Tuesday morning, where Markle explored the “Dragon Lady” stereotype of Asian women with journalist Lisa Ling and comedian Margaret Cho.

Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games 2022© Press Association Images

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Meghan Markle spoke about “toxic” Asian stereotypes as her podcast returned to Spotify following a four-week break due to the death of the Queen.

The Duchess of Sussex delayed any upcoming episodes of her Spotify podcast Archetypes during the official “mourning period”.

The fourth episode of Archetypes was released on Tuesday morning, where Markle explored the “Dragon Lady” stereotype of Asian women with journalist Lisa Ling and comedian Margaret Cho.

The term was coined in the 1930s and was used to describe a “powerful but prickly" East Asian woman.

Markle began by recounting her experience of growing up in Los Angeles, which was “full of culture that you could see, feel, hear and taste on a daily basis”.

She added that she had a “real love” of getting to know other cultures during her childhood in California.

“My weekends were spent in Little Tokyo or having ice teas, and Thai, Town are sitting with my friend, Kristina Wong, and her parents at a Chinese restaurant,” she recalled.

The Duchess of Sussex meeting members of the public at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. PA© PA

She spoke of going to a Korean spa with her mum Doria as a teenager, saying: “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 and waiting to get a body scrub on one of these tables that are all lined up in a row. All I wanted was a bathing suit.

“Once I was over that adolescent embarrassment, my mom and I, we would go upstairs we would sit in a room and we would have a steaming bowl of the most delicious noodles.”

The Duchess criticised films like Austin Powers and Kill Bill for how they represent Asian women onscreen, describing these “caricatures of women of Asian descent as often times over sexualised or aggressive”.

Markle said that she didn’t become aware of how harmful these stereotypes could be until many years later.

“The Dragon Lady, the East Asian temptress whose mysterious foreign allure is scripted as both tantalising and deadly,” she told Cho on the podcast.

“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.”

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