The past two centuries have witnessed tremendous upheavals in every aspect of Chinese culture and society. At the level of everyday life, some of the most remarkable transformations have occurred in the realm of gender. Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities is a mix of illuminating historical and ethnographic studies of gender from the 1700s to the present.
The essays in this highly creative collection are organized in pairs that alternate in focus between femininity and masculinity, between subjects traditionally associated with feminism (such as family life) and those rarely considered from a gendered point of view (like banditry). The chapters provide a wealth of interesting detail on such varied topics as court cases involving widows and homosexuals; ideal spouses of early-twentieth-century radicals; changing images of prostitutes; the masculinity of qigong masters; sexuality in the era of reform; and the eroticization of minorities. While most of the essays were specifically written for this volume, a few are reprinted as a testament to their enduring value.
Exploring the central role of gender as an organizing principle of Chinese social life, Chinese Femininities/ Chinese Masculinities is an innovative reader that will spark new debate in a wide range of disciplines.