Behind these criticisms of a female Watson, though, lie something deeper and very ugly. It’s not just about the fact that Watson is a woman. It’s also about the fact that Watson is an Asian woman, and people need to be confronting this and engaging it; especially when some of the same critics screaming about Watson are the ones who are also rightly complaining about limited representation for women of colour on television. Seeing a woman of colour occupy an iconic role formerly reserved for white men is an important moment in the history of pop culture.
Lucy Liu is paving the way to other important breakthroughs. Why can’t we have a Jane Bond? A female Doctor? And why can’t those women be women of colour? The list goes on, and Liu’s Watson is challenging the norm that characters who are traditionally white and male should stay white and male; just like women of colour in leadership roles in the real world are challenging the race and gender dynamics we live in. If we can all admit that having a Black President has not caused the United Stated to implode, that it is in fact possible for members of minority groups to campaign, we should be able to handle a woman playing Watson—and we should be able to handle women in a lot more unexpected places in larger culture, too.