Like most other races, East Asians have suffered under a vibrant and ignoble history of racial stereotyping and imagery in the Western mind. For East Asian women, the primary two archetypes are the submissive, docile "China doll", and the hypersexual, deceitful "dragon lady." Asian men are similarly cast as either deceptive and untrustworthy, or personality-less "grinders".
Yet the public image of East Asians in America has been growing consistently more positive. Continued academic success, and a potential incorporation into Whiteness have both contributed to this dynamic. As White society has, uneasily, grown to grudgingly acknowledge East Asian "game", the old stereotypes no longer fit the new social understandings. And I think there has been an evolution in the stereotypes of East Asian women to match this (interestingly, I haven't observed a similar shift in stereotypes of East Asian men).
While I am by no means suggesting that the old stereotypes are gone, when I think of popular stereotypes of East Asian women today, two more spring immediately to mind. The first is the bookish, whip-smart student. The second is the martial arts expert who can kick the ass of everyone in the room. One can see the roots of the older forms in both of these -- the student-type tends to be quiet and deferential, like the China doll; the martial artist is powerful and sexual like the Dragon Lady. Nonetheless, I submit that both of the "new" stereotypes are socially coded as positive.* The student is the type of woman that you're supposed to marry one day. The martial artist is the hip, bad-ass action star.
Moreover, the stereotype-shift has seemingly tracked internal cleavages within the East Asian community. Though often cast as monolithic by the West, there is a huge difference -- culturally, socially, economically -- between, say, American Chinese communities versus American Hmong or Vietnamese communities. There is, to some degree, a hierarchy here, with the Japanese and Chinese occupying the elite niches, followed by Koreans, South East Asians, and finally residents of the island states. I was talking to a friend whose family hails from Vietnam, for example, and she told me that her parents would consider it beneath her to marry someone from the Philippines, and that she was sure a Chinese family would think the same about her. This hierarchy tracks American socio-economic status pretty closely. And when I see those pop-up ads advertising docile Asian brides, they tend not to say they'll be from China or Korea -- they're saying Thailand or the Philippines.
Again, I'm not saying that a Chinese-American woman doesn't have to deal with the "old" stereotypes anymore. But I do think we're observing a very interesting social shift that is deeply tied to a broader realignment in America's racial dynamics. The whole point behind White supremacy is that it is the supreme group. When White society "absorbs" another racial or ethnic grouping, it simultaneously recodes it from inferior and less-than, to admirable and superior. My (admittedly anecdotal) observation is that we are seeing very similar behavior here, which makes me wonder whether in 50 years we'll be seeing books titled "How the Asians became White."
* We can say even "beneficial" stereotyping never actually is, but I do think there is a qualitative difference between being part of a group stereotyped as cool, useful, or inspiring, versus feared, mocked, or loathed.