Why did traditional Chinese literati so often identify themselves with women in their writing? What can this tell us about how they viewed themselves as men and how they understood masculinity? How did their attitudes in turn shape the martial heroes and other masculine models they constructed? Martin Huang attempts to answer these questions in this valuable work on manhood in late imperial China. He focuses on the ambivalent and often paradoxical role played by women and the feminine in the intricate negotiating process of male gender identity in late imperial cultural discourses. On the one hand, women were shunned as a threat to manhood; on the other, they were celebrated as the natural exemplars of loyalty, an important Confucian virtue. Two common strategies for constructing and negotiating masculinity were adopted in many of the works examined here. The first constructs masculinity in close association with the feminine; the second defines it in sharp contrast to the feminine. In both cases women bear the burden as the defining "other". Huang also explores a group of traditional masculine models such as heroes and stalwarts, showing both the increasingly diverse images of masculinity available in late imperial China as well as the blurred boundaries of its increasingly unstable definition. With notes, glossary, bibliography and index.
Negotiating Masculinities in Late Imperial China
$113.33 Regular Price
AuthorsHuang, Martin W.
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press