March 5 – Women’s History Month Profile: Anna May Wong

To start off the first week of Women’s History Month profiles, Anna May Wong rose to international stardom as the first Asian American actress and earned recognition as a cinema star. She embodied one of the most outstanding Asian American women of her time, a third-generation Chinese American born as a laundryman’s daughter in a Chinatown of Los Angeles that aspired to be an actress. Despite overt racial discrimination and racism, especially in cinema that commonly dehumanized and depicted Asians as evil and treacherous, she represented a beautiful and talented icon. While Hollywood did portray Wong with the “Dragon Lady” stereotype and Orientalist stereotypes, she preserved and pursed roles both in the United States and Europe. Her most notable films include The Toll of the SeaThe Thief of BagdadPiccadilly, and Shanghai Express.