Gender politics in the figuration of woman warriors in Chinese opera : Mulan and Bright Pearl

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


The woman warrior is one of the most threatening unconventional female figures to the global patriarchal imagination. Woman warriors, as historically different and culturally specific as they are, share one common behavior; they act in defiance of their assigned gender roles. Many of them transgress the dress code and disguise themselves as men; many are put to death in the end. Through an analysis of the traditional and today's revived and revised representations of woman warriors in Chinese opera, this paper investigates how the body of the woman warrior embodies tension points where a complex negotiation between the empowered and empowering woman and an oppressive but posed-and-masked-as-natural male narrative is subtly played out.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125 - 173
Number of pages49
Journal東華漢學 = Dong Hwa Journal of Chinese Studies
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003



  • containment
  • female body
  • femininity
  • Kunju opera
  • masculinity
  • patriarchy
  • representation
  • transgression
  • subversion

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