Female Bodies in China: Literati Fantasies, Iron Girls and Olympics Hoopla

Kit Wah Eva Man

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on two overlapping issues while discussing the development of the feminine ideals in China. The first focus is on how this development can be understood within the particular historical and cultural contexts in China and how it is related to factors such as economic and political situations. The second focus is with man as the speaking subject in the Chinese patriarchal system, how male imaginations (especially those represented by the literati and later the party leaders) construct the feminine ideals as the projection of their wishes, regrets and the various forms of their fantasies. The discussion includes philosophical discourses of female beauty in the Chinese traditions, follow with the case of the courtesan culture in late Imperial China, in which the female beauty notion is redefined and represented by male literati under drastic political and economic changes. The chapter then reviews revolutionary revisions in the representation of female ideals under the Communist ruling, and concludes with the contemporary notion of female beauty in the new Socialist China, a notion that has departed from its national party discourses to follow the capitalist globalization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtistic Visions and the Promise of Beauty
Subtitle of host publicationCross-Cultural Perspectives
EditorsKathleen M. Higgins, Shakti Maira, Sonia Sikka
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319438931
ISBN (Print)9783319438917, 9783319829371
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameSophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures
ISSN (Print)2211-1107
ISSN (Electronic)2211-1115

User-Defined Keywords

  • Physical dispositions
  • Inner beauty
  • Foot binding
  • Courtesan culture
  • Meiren
  • Feminine space
  • Jianmei movement
  • Iron girls


Dive into the research topics of 'Female Bodies in China: Literati Fantasies, Iron Girls and Olympics Hoopla'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this