positions 13:2 Fall 2005 spectacular: they run up walls, glide across water, and ï¬y over rooftops; they jump, kick, and punchâviewers get an eyeful. Audiences familiar with the martial arts genre readily recognize these women as mirror images of the ï¬ghting females in the Hong Kong martial arts movies exported in large quantities to Southeast Asia and widely available through the video market in the West. However, despite the kung fu craze of the 1970s, in the United States the inï¬uence of Hong Kong martial arts cinema was limited mainly to marginalized audiences in inner-city theaters, such as blacks, Chinese-speaking viewers in Chinatowns, and restless adolescents. Wellknown directors and actors from Hong Kong developed cult followings both at home and abroad,2 but it was not until the late 1980s that the genre gained the interest and respect of the mainstream and Hollywood began appropriating Hong Kong talent and action in its productions.3 The success of the Disney animated feature Mulan (1998) further popularized the image of the Chinese woman warrior, turning it into a proï¬table commodity.4 Precisely because the ï¬ghting woman and the martial arts genre that sets her off from traditional femininity have become broadly consumed signs
positions asia critique – Duke University Press
Published: Sep 1, 2005
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