1st Edition

Cross-Gender China Across Yin-Yang, Across Cultures, and Beyond Jingju

By Huai Bao Copyright 2018
    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Cross-Gender China, the outcome of more than twenty years of theatrical and sociological research, deconstructs the cultural implications of cross-gender performance in today's China.

    The recent revival in male-to-female cross-gender nandan performance in Chinese theatre raises a multitude of questions: it may suggest new gender dynamics, or new readings of old aesthetic traditions in new socio-cultural contexts. Interrogating the positions of the gender being performed and the gender doing the performing, this volume gives a broad cultural account of the contexts in which this unique performance style has found new life.




    Chapter 1. Introduction

    Chapter 2. Cultural Obsession

    The Making of China’s National Icon

    The Rise of an All-Female Utopia

    National Identity and the Formation of the Gender Aesthetics

    Chapter 3. Mao’s "Gender Trouble"

    The Downfall of the Cross-Gender Performance Tradition

    From Theatre to Reality: Normalization of Female Masculinity

    The Production of a Social Taboo

    Chapter 4. The Revival

    White Faced Gentleman: The Unofficial Return of Nandan

    "Natural Selection" in the Aesthetic Regime: The Return of Traditional Femininity

    The Mainstreaming of Drag in Popular Media

    Chapter 5. The New Generation

    "Two Spirited" M. Butterfly

    The Superwoman Within


    Occasional Cross-Gender


    "Double Standard"

    Employment Opportunities



    Chapter 6. Rebel or Follow

    When Theatre and Biology Intersect

    Interplay: Desires, Identities and Transgression

    Make Believe: Creating a Psychological Truth

    The Performed and the Innate

    The Drama of Reality

    Sexual Artifice in Gender Transgression

    Chapter 7. Conclusion


    Appendix A.

    Major interview questions

    Appendix B.

    List of Interviewees

    Appendix C.



    Huai Bao aka H.B. Dhawa is a post-doctoral fellow of the Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto.