TV Tropes Monday: Dragon Lady



Tweet of the Day: The Heart Bowl: or, What Happened to King Canute


Take every single misogynistic, sexist, and racist idea about the East, roll it into a petite woman wearing a red qiapo and you have this trope. It has all the prejudices of that the West has about the East including continent wide descriptions about people/culture simplified to absurdity by words like East/West as a violent, weak (ergo feminine), traitorous land.

How else can a backward violent weak people be successful in a world full of modern manly westerners?

Even the dragon in dragon lady is suppose to evoke the slimy serpent that crawls about and relies on poison to kill. While dragons in the west are associated with reptiles, in places like China and Japan, neither the snake nor the dragon have any associations to their Garden of Eden counterpart. Dragons, (in general) are seen as the embodiment of the forces of nature, strange, intelligent and keepers of their own counsel, not the forces of destruction portrayed on the other side of the Euroasian landmass.  And her sexuality is not

I’ve fallen into the trap of using this trope myself.

What I like to see is an actual Lady of Dragons. Still on the stereotypical side, but hey why not turn those cliches on their heads. Have a woman that commands the elemental power of the dragon and it is a force to be reckon with, on the battlefield or the conference table without alluding to the package of racist negativity mentioned above.


2 comments on “TV Tropes Monday: Dragon Lady

  1. That was an interesting post, and I think you’re right. I was digging through TV tropes for ideas (to use and to avoid) when I decided to have a female antagonist in my MS, and was surprised by what was and wasn’t there. There isn’t much unless it has a sexualized or race-tinged element to it.


    • Well the page is a collection of tropes, but hardly the creator of them. That only tells you how prevalent that line of thinking is throughout popular culture. Often tropes can teach us what to avoid as well as what to use.


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