Chapter

Gender and Internal Orientalism in China

Louisa Schein

in Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780520211032
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935303 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520211032.003.0016
Gender and Internal Orientalism in China

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This chapter discusses gender and internal orientalism in China. It explores the ramifications of some uneven configurations in society as a means of gaining insight into China's post-Mao social order. In representations of 1980s China, minority women were fraught with contradictions. They were both othered and incorporated sources of contrast as well as identity. In popular consciousness they were objects of desire, but an ambivalent desire that was saturated with other meanings, particularly those concerning the tension between tradition and modernity. Minority men also regularly appeared in performances and images as objects of dominant consumption. However, minority women, as emblematic of the natural, the traditional, and the exotically titillating, were foregrounded in such representations, with men simply serving as a foil to highlight the women's distinctiveness and allure. It was within this complex and highly charged ideological context that minority women and men colluded in reproducing their difference.

Keywords: gender; internal orientalism; post-Mao social order; minority women; minority men

Chapter.  11998 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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