Duchess Meghan’s ‘Archetypes’ podcast deals with the ‘Dragon Lady’ trope

The Duchess of Sussex’s new Archetypes podcast episode has dropped! It’s the fourth episode – “The Demystification of Dragon Lady.” Meghan talks about her childhood in LA, one of the most diverse cities in America and a city with a huge Asian-American population. Meghan talks about her exposure to all kinds of Asian culture throughout her childhood and adulthood. Big surprise, much of her exposure is through food! Here’s the pod:

The big interview is with Margaret Cho and she also speaks to Lisa Ling and sociologist Nancy Wang Yeun. Obviously, Meghan is analyzing the “Dragon Lady” stereotype in film, television and pop culture. While the Dragon Lady “archetype” is incredibly offensive, racist and damaging, there are other Asian stereotypes (and specifically Asian-woman stereotypes) which are also very damaging. I realize, one podcast topic at a time! But I would love if Meghan did expand on this, like the “demure Asian woman,” the geisha, the Asian nerd, etc.

I like that Cho talks about the lack of visibility of Asian women in American culture, because that has always been a real problem. How do you know your place in society if you can’t see anyone like you in the culture? For Cho specifically, she talks about now only being Korean-American, but being a gay Asian-American woman. Anyway, this is a great conversation – Meghan covers the attacks on Asian-Americans during the pandemic, the “masage parlor” shootings and the erasure of Asian-Americans throughout American history.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Spotify.

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58 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s ‘Archetypes’ podcast deals with the ‘Dragon Lady’ trope”

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  1. Nicole says:

    Ms. Markle has handled herself with the utmost grace. I am learning from her.

  2. Layla says:

    Loved this episode! Meghan is getting so good at hosting a podcast. She didn’t mention who would be in next week’s episode which was a little surprising but super excited regardless. Also, she spoke a title Korean as well! Sigh! The monarchy really don’t know what they’ve missed out on and they missed out BIG time. Oh well , sucks to be them cuz Madame Duchess is winning

    (Note: idk how accurate this is because I don’t really care to look but apparently Whiny Willileaks has an engagement today. You just know every Tuesday will bring a rare sighting of the copy-keens 😂

    • lanne says:

      If that’s what it takes to make them actually work, then the folks in the Uk should be pleased!

    • lani says:

      She said one word in Korean, and it was the wrong word (it’s the way you’d say hello but on the phone). It would be like having a Japanese woman on and saying “Moshi moshi” to them.

      • XOXO says:

        Are you okay? It’s not that serious, hun.

      • Carrot says:

        @lani, @XOXO, I caught it. Agree, it was only one word, and wrong. In context I give it a pass since Meghan was talking about the different languages she hears in LA.

        She needs better research assistants. No one should expect her to get everything right but it could’ve been avoided. Still, it’s not like the most heinous of heinous.

        In general, I could’ve listened for another hour. The jjimjilbang anecdote made me laugh because not only will those ladies be naked, they will wash you!

      • K says:

        @XOXO It matters. It’s this kind of carelessness towards other people’s language and culture that perpetuates disrespect.

  3. girl_ninja says:

    I’m listening right now and am already loving it. Luccia Catarina (I assume the spelling) 🤌🏾

    • L4Frimaire says:

      Some of the interesting stand out in the conversation was his Dragon Lady is Evil Queen adjacent, and that her beauty and sexuality comes at a cost. So many times , you hear that Meghan has out Harry under her spell, she has , he’s led astray etc. Very similar. Also how Margaret Cho mentioned how male beauty and looks are emphasized in Korea. Liked how she wrapped up that it’s good to be weird

  4. Noki says:

    She is Back! Havent had a chance to listen yet, but i am guessing nothing she mentioned was about salty island, i hope she blanks them completely moving forward.

  5. Maxine Branch says:

    I so enjoyed this Podcast. A much needed conversation re the many tropes women of all nationalities are subjected to. I so applaud Meghan for the inclusivity of the women chosen to speak on these tropes. An important conversation to have and one much needed from many voices.

    Meghan leadership qualities for her generation is second to none. She has the grace and ability to tackle issues with a well researched background while allowing the women to use their voice as she like her audience listens. Hope in the future we get to see and hear more from Meghan re women issues. Just as Michelle Obama is the voice for her generation, Meghan is also the voice for her’s. Meghan is the gift that keeps on giving and I am here for it.

  6. Snuffles says:

    Another great episode! I’ve always had an affinity for Asian culture because I grew up an Army brat and my family was stationed in Seoul, Korea for 2 years in the 80s. That experience had a HUGE impact on me.

    First of all, before that I knew nothing about Asians because where I grew up you were either black or white. The only thing I knew about Korea was the TV show M*A*S*H (which Margaret Cho referenced herself) and legit thought I would have to live in green tents, shower outside and dodge bullets and bombs. And when I told my classmates, they were even WORSE, and joked that I would live in the jungle and would have to swing on vines to get to my one room school house. Imagine my surprise when I got there to find out that not only was it nothing like that, it was pretty awesome.

    This is why REPRESENTATION MATTERS!! It’s not only about not being able to see yourself on screen and in books, it’s important for others to see you too and not as a stereotype/archetype.

    On a side note: I’m geeked out that Cho brought up BTS to Meghan because I NEED them to meet and work together on something!! They both are involved with the UN. Universe make it happen!!

    • Flowerlake says:

      It’s late here, so I was going to postpone to listening tomorrow, but she brought up BTS???

      I definitely have to listen now 😀

  7. ML says:

    I’m so glad she’s back and I’ll be listening to this later 🙂

  8. Amy Bee says:

    I’ll be listening to it later.

  9. Plums says:

    Her podcast doesn’t go as in depth on its topics as it could, imo, but as the weeks have gone on, it’s more apparent that she’s aiming more for an introductory, easy listening air on these various issues, and they’re very engaging and digestable for a probably wider swathe as they are. I need to get away from expecting it to be more like NPR’s Code Switch. If I wanted to listen to that, it already exists, lol.

    It was really interesting hearing Lisa Ling talk about wanting to become a broadcast journalist because Connie Chung was the only Asian American woman representation in media, and she was a broadcast journalist. That’s just wild when you really think about it, how much representation influences someone when it’s so vanishingly rare.

    • sunny says:

      That is such a good point. I definitely feel like the conversations are wonderful but very light and not meant to be challenging or even deeply interrogating the archetype. But it really makes sense in the context of this being a light, intro conversations. I also really love Code Switch but that show is hosted by journalists so of course a show like that is more challenging and rigorous. It is helpful to be reminded the shows are targeted at different audiences and meant to do different things.

      I do love that Meghan is doing this show though because she is going to attract a wide audience who might not spend a lot of time thinking about these issues in any way.

      • L4Frimaire says:

        I don’t think there are they many podcasts that necessarily cover these topics this way. Usually they delve in from either a historical POV or from politics, or headlines but not necessarily this way, with speaking to a celebrity and weaving in their experiences with current topics, pop culture etc. Agree Code Switch is good but not quite the same vein or maybe For Colored Nerds or history podcasts. I think these topics can definitely be re-explored from another perspective so maybe they’ll be revisited in future seasons.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Listening right now. I’m not a podcast person, but Archetypes is my very first lol. I’m even building out Twitter as a news feed. But if it’s forced on Elon?

    • Beverley says:

      Yaaas! Archetypes is my first podcast too. Love it!

      • CheChe says:

        I’m a podcast newbie and if there are more like Meghan’s easy and informative style then I’m all in. The today’s topic really mine a lot of memories because I grew up in military towns and many of the soldiers had Asian wives. The women I knew formed their own support groups and we’re very family oriented and gracious. Like Meghan implied exposure to diversity normalizes our differences .

  11. Jazz Hands says:

    You just know when Archie and Lili are a bit older, their friends are going to love talking to Meghan. She seems genuinely interested in people’s thoughts and experiences, regardless of age and background.

  12. Lissen says:

    I really enjoy listening, AND reading the transcripts, for the Archetypes podcast. Initially, I wasn’t going to listen because I’m hard-of-hearing but then Jazz Hands (? hope I’m recalling correctly, lol) helpfully posted a link to the Archetypes Podcast Transcripts! Yay!


    So, on podcast Tuesdays, I read the transcript, then head over here to listen and wonder of wonders, I can follow along and enjoy.

    I hope that Meghan compiles all these interviews into her next book. I mean, all the research’s been done, and there is just so much material. I totally want the rest of it.

    • TurquoiseGem says:

      Would definitely buy a book compiled of the Archetypes interviews. Love this idea..!

      I’m part way through a second listen of the latest episode – questioning, learning, empathising, appreciating…

      Will comment again once I’ve finished. It’s just so good.

  13. Flowerlake says:

    Didn’t know she had dropped it. Will listen this evening. Always supporting Meghan 🙂

    YES on the lack on visibility.

    Despite the enormous popularity of Kpop, radio stations in Western countries still seem to not want to play their music. This while especially BTS (but also more groups) do amazing numbers in streaming, buying, but especially concert tickets.

    BTS sell out several stadiums in the USA while a lot of Western artists can’t sell a quarter of that, but are played on radio lots.

    I thought radio was supposed to play what is popular, but instead they seem to want to decide what’s popular. And they don’t seem to like the idea of Asians being popular.

    • Flowerlake says:

      On the subject of women, I would like to really recommend Twice.

      They’re a group of talented women that, like BTS, defy the Kpop stereotype (or archetype :D) by often writing their own songs.
      No female Kpop groups sold more albums than them.

      They are very popular in Japan, but also did an American tour that was well received.

      Accessible songs too 🙂

      More Kpop groups are self producing and song writers by the way, especially lately.

      • TurquoiseGem says:

        @ FlowerLake, thanks to you I had my very first listen to Twice’s music today and enjoyed it!

  14. Kes says:

    My one issue is I wish they had named the series something else. “Stereotypes” or “Breaking the Image” etc. Archetype and its meaning doesn’t quite fit the message, to me. I get the Archewell connection, but in that case why give a word with a similar root a negative connotation which it hasn’t had?

    • Roan Inish says:

      Here’s the definitions of Archetype from the dictionary app:
      1. the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
      2. (in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.

    • Kati says:

      Absolutely, Kes! I also keep thinking about this issue with the name. The show is obviously about stereotypes (negative) (bc onedimensional, malinformed or insulting) and how to subvert them, whereas archetypes makes me think of a lot more positive or even helpful types/roles that we carry in us and lean into willingly. (for example, in „Goddesses in everywoman“, J. Shinoda Bolen, a Jung scholar uses the different greek goddesses and how „ordinary“ women might relate to them at different points in their lives- there would be an Artemis archetype (goddess of the hunt) that strongly goes after her goals and at this time, has no need for male company etc etc.)
      Really misnamed, imo. Love Meghans voice though, so warm and sophisticated.

      • Kingston says:

        See @Roan Inish (above your post.)

        Its so fascinating when folks who are not involved in the conceptualizing and planning of a project, try to second guess the EXPERTS and EXPERIENCED persons who are. Just fascinating!

      • Imara219 says:

        I mean Archetypes is a brilliant name. Archetypes are literarily deeper and more contextual than sterotypes. Also, Archtypes are both negative and positive and they fit very specific modes.

      • Eurydice says:

        @Kati – For me, Archetypes makes sense because “arche” is Greek for “origin” or “beginning,” which is part of what Meghan wants to explore – the beginning of these patterns into which women are forced – and I don’t have any emotions about the word being positive or negative. Stereotype (from the word “stereos” meaning “solid”) is what comes after archetype – it’s the duplicate from the original mold. Once the pattern is solidified, then the world accepts it as a general belief or stereotype.

    • bisynaptic says:

      Thinking the same thing.

  15. C-Shell says:

    Sad to admit that Archetypes is the one of the rare podcasts I sit still long enough to listen to from start to the last bars of Emmy Meli’s “I Am Woman.” This one was really fascinating for me. As always, I learned so much from Meghan and her guest(s), but I had completely forgotten about how the Korean store owners had to arms themselves to protect their businesses around the LA riots. The way Margaret Cho tied that to the timing of her sitcom, “All American Girl,” was eye opening. Context matters, and it forms a fabric that ripples over swathes of space and time, but so often we don’t see the bigger picture because our media is fed to us in bites, not as a meal. Meghan’s turning out to be an incredible host — she’s well prepared, she brings her own experiences into the conversation deftly, she sets the framework perfectly, and she asks really good leading questions. I’m so glad she brought it back so quickly after The Mourning Period.

  16. Over it says:

    Thanks again Kaiser as always for posting the episode. It was really good, I enjoyed it and I am beyond happy she is back to her podcast, they keep getting better and better.

  17. Petra (Brazen ARchetyped Phenomenal Woman) says:

    My cry for Archetyped is always I want more, more, more. This one feels too short.

    The terrorization of Lisa LIng at her job after getting major recognition from RollingStone magazine speaks volumes. I bet after that incident she was always watching her back and wondering what was coming next.

    Fire Island is a great movie. For more Korean BL, go and watch “To My Star” (1, 2, and a movie.) To My Star 2 is excellent and the acting is top-notch. To my Star 1&2 are free on Viki.

  18. Chelsea says:

    Another great episode. I’m glad they talked about the Atlanta shooting and that Margaret called out the way the cops said the shooter had a “bad day” and the horrific way the media fetishized those poor women who he murdered in the way that they covered the story.

    One that thing that really gave me pause was when Lisa Ling spoke on how we literally never learn anything in school about how Asian Americans have contributed to this country because tbh through to high school i don’t remember learning a thing about Asian Americans besides Japanese interment camps. In college I learned a bit about Asian Americans in California in the early 1900s but that was pretty much it. She’s very right that if we don’t learn about Asian American history it makes it easier for other Americans to disassociate Asian Americans from Americanness as we unfortunately saw in the large rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans post COVID. I’m so happy Meghan is platforming important conversations like this.

    • MrsCope says:

      Agreed. That was such a great point. I can’t recall learning about Asian Americans in school outside of the internment camps, either. Also, I audibly gasped at Lisa Ling’s story about the picture left in her mailbox at work! A very good episode.

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      I’m from Atlanta. Those first few hours after the murders was horrible. The stereotyping of the women to the ridiculous excuses being given for this young, white Christian male having a bad day. It was absolutely horrible. I had lunch with an Asian American friend that week and she was livid and hurt.

  19. DeluxeDuckling says:

    Love Cho!

  20. Becks1 says:

    It was a GREAT episode. I always think its gutsy when podcast hosts and the like bring on a seasoned reporter like Lisa Ling, and Meghan was great with her. Margaret Cho was also great, I loved her sitcom back in the day!

    I love the discussion about the archetypes, but I also love how the convos can veer into these side stories as well, that aren’t even really side stories. Like the discussions on representation in general, or about their childhoods, etc.

    • Eurydice says:

      Yes, I think the archetypes are the framework to hold the series together and the side discussions add dimension.

  21. aquarius64 says:

    No wonder the BRF ( namely KP) wanted Meghan to be 50% of herself. This podcast drives home the point Kate is an intellectual lightweight. Kate couldn’t handle subject matter like this.

    • Beverley says:

      ☝🏾☝🏾☝🏾This, all day.☝🏾☝🏾☝🏾

    • Linda says:

      Kate not being able to handle this topic is a big understatement. Lets face it. She didn’t grow up with a lot of diversity to be able to relate to other people.

  22. Eurydice says:

    Meghan just gets better and better. She doesn’t go in depth, but the important points are made and brought forward. Even little things, like that there were 20 years between All-American Girl and Fresh Off the Boat, tell you something about the larger story.

    The thing that has really struck me is how very American is this podcast. Successfully or not, Americans struggle for individuality, they want to be heard, they want to make their own path. And when I hear Meghan talking about these values, it’s so incredibly obvious that she wouldn’t and couldn’t be accepted by the RF, even if race weren’t a factor – it’s the exact opposite of what the RF represent.

    • Kingston says:

      I sooooo agree with you. Its why she said in The Cut that the mere fact of her and Harry’s EXISTENCE in the BRF, upset the dynamic of the hierarchy.

      Thats SUCH a loaded statement. It says sooooooo much about behind-the-scenes attempts to sabotage H&M’s efforts to be productive, so much that we will never hear about.

      And, of course, we cant ignore the implication of this very same fact now that they are OUTSIDE of the control of the monarchy. Because we all know the suits (who really puppeteer the royals) have no frame of reference for NOT being in control of any member of the BRF.

    • Debbie says:

      Although I don’t disagree with you about the American identity in general, and Meghan as an American exhibits some of these characteristics, but it seems to me that her “sense of identity” as an American wasn’t what ultimately led to their leaving England. To me, it wasn’t an inability to adjust by Meghan that resulted in what we know as Sussexit. After all, if the situation called for a curtsy, Meghan learned how to curtsy, sing English songs (even if she had to look up the words herself), stand behind W & K, whatever was necessary. She didn’t complain when her hours of work behind the scenes didn’t show up on the royal court circular, or any other things both large and small. So, I can never quite agree when some people think that the heart of the issue was Meghan’s “inability” to adjust. I do agree there were adjustments to be made but they were not insurmountable. Let’s face it, we may call it “Sussexit” for purposes of accuracy but it was the British media and some English people who were hounding her to “exit” their island, it wasn’t because she couldn’t handle the job, such as it was.

      (By the way, I’m not trying to put words in anyone’s mouth or trying to twist what was posted. This is more like expanding a point about American values and identity.)

      • TurquoiseGem says:

        @Debbie, you’ve hit on something that it’s taken me a while to accept. Meghan was not allowed to belong, to feel at home, to settle, to feel comfortable and at ease here in England.

        Her American identity was never an issue to me. It was made into an issue deliberately. So many of us Brits, myself included, have American family, friends and co-workers. It was ludicrous that Meghan was treated by some here like The Sister from Another Planet!

        Those that wanted her out of the country knew she could more than handle her role, adjust and adapt and make it all a roaring success. Clearly, they did not want that…..

  23. Beverley says:

    Meghan could teach a master class in class, professionalism, and grace under pressure. She is a gem and a national treasure.

  24. Laura D says:

    Slightly O/T as expected the Fail are desperately trying to put a negative spin on this podcast. The “bots” seem to be out in force with 10’s of 1000s of green ticks on negative comments! However, there are no ticks whatsoever on the article about William’s keynote speech for the United for Wildlife because the Fail hasn’t even covered it!

  25. Bean says:

    I LOVED this episode. My favorite so far – she just gets better and better.
    I love a podcast that opens my mind and makes be think and this one did.

  26. tamsin says:

    Agree that the podcasts get better and better. I thought this one was excellent and the discussion was quite complex but easily understood. I also like that Meghan sets discussion of events in her guest’s lives within the significant historical events in which they took place. Really look forward to the next one. Interesting that she doesn’t identify the topic of the next podcast. Perhaps we’re in for a change of pace or format and she recorded in sets of four. Anyway, I do expect an interesting podcast!

  27. L4Frimaire says:

    Listened to it twice. I really enjoyed listening to all the speakers. My favorite parts are the academics and the writers expounding on the history and analyzing some of the tropes but I love delving into that so wish that segment was longer. Also a nice recognition of Anna May Wong. The Lisa Ling segment where a coworker defaced her picture resonated with me because something similar happened to a coworker of mine.He was Latino and was featured in our companies ad campaign. Someone took the photo , wrote some ethnic slur on it and posted it in the break room. It was so malicious. I’m glad Cho spoke about the spa killings in Atlanta because it was just outrageous and so offensive how they were trying to excuse the killer and how dismissive the media were of the women murdered. I totally remember the 2 Live Crew song and never saw Full Metal Jacket, but we all know that phrase. Of course the naysayers are saying she’s attacking the films that have these Asian stereotypes when she’s not doing that at all. I just wish the podcast was longer and could dig deeper. Always want more but totally enjoying it. I’m also glad she posted links to the writers work for those who want to know more. What I like about the podcast is how Meghan lightly steers the conversation, maybe adds a few personal anecdotes, but let’s her guests talk. Looking forward to how she develops this.

  28. Jen says:

    I’ve been following Meghan’s podcast, though I haven’t listened to the latest episode yet. I’m a little apprehensive about Lisa Ling. Didn’t know her work prior to an online event I attended a few years ago hosted by an Asian organization. The event was for Asians to hear from Black families who had suffered police violence and she was brought in as one of the hosts or moderators. She was called out and asked to leave because of the way she was speaking to families like a grief tourist, and someone else had to take over her role as host(?)/moderator(?)