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The Yangbanxi And Gender Identities In Post-Maoist China

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Chapter Summary

From the point of view of the promotion of female equality, the masculinisation of revolutionary women had both positive and negative effects. The masculinisation of the yangbanxi heroines saw them acquire positive 'masculine' qualities and lose negative 'feminine' qualities without having to appear in male disguise as had their cultural forebears. The coding of good women as masculine, and evil as feminine also had significant implications for the process of women's development of a new female identity in the post-Mao years, and the implications are significantly different from those of the 'gender erasure' model that has dominated scholarly discussion since the early 1990s. The rapid development of commercialisation in China meant that the redefinition of being female and feminine was increasingly controlled not by women themselves but by men and the market who now had more power than ever before in socialist China to define those meanings on women's behalf.

Keywords: cultural forebears; feminine; gender erasure; Post-Maoist China; yangbanxi heroines



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