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Gendered Bodies In Contemporary Chinese Art

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Chapter Summary

In China gender boundaries are not based on oppositions: what it is to be a woman is not, for example, simply to lack the traits that make someone a man. Gender difference does not make so deep a cut in the conceptual schemes in Chinese thought as it does in those in the west. The female body is not identified or valued as an object of male desire but as the site and possibility of its flowering, while the male body is typically presented as marked in some unusual way or performing some unusual action. Neither is identified as an object worthy of respect or interest for its own sake. Nor does the idea of beauty take refuge elsewhere in Chinese art. This chapter discusses the mode of presence of male and female bodies in contemporary art. It also considers the absence of the nude in this art.

Keywords: China gender boundaries; Contemporary Chinese Art; female body; male body



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