Political correctness is now more than ever before an understatement in contemporary popular culture. Equality is not only generally accepted but also generally expected.
I just saw Tomorrow Never Dies, the James Bond movie of 1997. It featured what was somewhat trendy back then - an asian sidekick knowledgable of martial arts. The character is called Wai Lin and is portrayed by** Michelle Yeoh**.
Wai Lin is assumably strong and independent. In the first half of the movie, she’s portrayed as a female counter-part to James Bond - they show up at the same places under the same circumstances and are both skilled in their professions. It’s obvious that the movie producers used Wai Lin’s character as a “sign of the times”-type of strong female that was getting more popular.
The more Wai Lin affiliates with james Bond, the more corrupted she gets. Her ideas and actions are simply not worth as much as his.
She first objects to being James Bond’s partner. Bond does not tolerate no for an answer and hunts her down to her domain where she is under attack. She handles all the bad guys except one, the one Bond hits from behind. Their partnership is now a fact, since James Bond, the alpha-male, says it’s so.
Wai Lin proceeds by uncovering massive desks and shelves of modern equipment, featuring hi-tech computers and weapons. James Bond tells her to step aside, even though she’s obviously perfectly aware of what she’s doing. When James Bond can’t go on, due to the computer keyboard being mandarin, he still insists on co-opping her.
Inside of the enemy’s stealth boat, where the final showdown takes place, James Bond gives a final knock to a bad guy that Wai Lin just gave a several beating, seemingly to make sure things are still in check.
These are of course only details in the bigger picture, but when you follow the interactions between Bond and Lin throughout the movie, one thing is perfectly clear: Wai Lin is intended to be strong and cool and modern, but God forbid she would be equal to Bond. And that is not only speaking of the concept of the Bond movie itself, since Bond has always been a lone wolf kind of character. But it’s obvious that there are a lot of unspoken gender structures that are seemingly forgiven just because the female lead, Wai Lin, can kick and bite.