Underlying the desirability and fetishization of Asian women are the objectified representation of Asian femininity and colonial fantasies of power. Represented in polarizing archetypes—the subservient China doll, the ferocious dragon lady, the ingénue schoolgirl—Asian women are marked as either hypersexualized or devoid of sexuality, none of which takes account of the agency of Asian women. Born into a Hmong refugee family, Michele Lee is a Melbourne-based writer, playwright, and emerging theater artist. In her exploration of the Hmong identity, Lee juxtaposes her sexual adventures as a young and modern artist with her recognition of her ethnic and cultural background as a way of understanding her dual identities. Michele Lee’s Banana Girl provides a narrative that does not conform to the sexualized stereotypes or deploy white, mainstream feminist models. Instead, the author transgresses Western stereotypes attributed to Asian women and subverts hierarchical and racialized dichotomy, at the same time rebelling against patriarchal authority and Asian family values, breaking the taboo of writing about her own sexual adventures, questioning the blatant double standard regarding sexual morality, and creating her own narrative of a second-generation Asian Australian woman who seeks to find how interconnections of race, sexuality, and culture have contributed in the constructions of her identity.
Tian, Zhuoling and Ommundsen, Wenche
"Sexing the Banana: Michele Lee’s Banana Girl,"
Antipodes: Vol. 33:
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol33/iss2/9