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Role Assignment And Gender: Resetting The Paradigms

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Chapter Summary

The assignment of roles can open up or close off all kinds of possibilities for challenging gender norms and stereotypes: a role as an army officer or party leader. Each role in turn carries with it a range of possibilities for other theatrical systems such as costume, movement, gesture, props, facial mime, and language that can either undermine or reinforce normative expectations of that role. A close analysis of semiotic systems, this chapter shows the expansion of female roles into the largely male preserve of civil and military leadership did result in a masculinisation of female characters, at the same time there is abundant evidence that gender difference was far from 'erased '. In locating evidence of the sexualisation of female images in the yangbanxi, this chapter also points to the need to reassess claims of the 'erasure of sexuality' in Cultural Revolution culture.

Keywords: Cultural Revolution culture; gender norms; military leadership; props; role assignment; sexuality; yangbanxi



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