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Revisiting Moment in Peking: Yin/Yang Principles and Gender Performativity

Volume 6, Issue 3, June 2022    |    PP. 139-157    |PDF (271 K)|    Pub. Date: May 3, 2022
DOI: 10.54647/sociology84794    9 Downloads     449 Views  

Wan Zhongshu, South China University of Technology, School of Foreign Languages, GuangZhou, China

The ambiguity of Lin Yutang’s approach to women has triggered varying interpretations. His novel Moment in Peking chronologically coincided with the rise of the women’s movement in China at the turn of the twentieth century when West and East cultures clashed in China. As the nationalistic program of modernization proceeded, the Western colonialist hierarchy and binary logic happened to be adopted and internalized by contemporaneous Chinese intellectuals. In its portraying a series of struggles encountered by the central female figure Yao Mulan, the novel delves deeply into the performative nature of gender as well as the Chinese traditional notion of yin and yang complementarity, flowing, and fusion. This article draws on Judith Butler’s account of gender performativity to illustrate how Mulan performatively subverts the hegemonic norms through alternating between her yin and yang, which contributes to the destabilization of the colonialist categories of gender binarism and an understanding of gender identity as instable, fluid, and performative. Besides, it highlights the importance to take the geographical, historical and cultural context into consideration when analyzing women’s experiences of gender.

decolonization; gender fluidity; Judith Butler; Moment in Peking; performativity; yang; yin

Cite this paper
Wan Zhongshu, Revisiting Moment in Peking: Yin/Yang Principles and Gender Performativity, SCIREA Journal of Sociology. Vol. 6 , No. 3 , 2022 , pp. 139 - 157 . https://doi.org/10.54647/sociology84794


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