Essay: Interrelations Between Race Gender Class and Sexual Identities

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Asia Fem

Views of Feminism in Asian-Identified Women

The issue of feminism is often seen in a Western, or perhaps more appropriately a Euro-American-centric, context, with the simple consideration of women in a patriarchal society standing as an independent issue. Though this narrow view has long been questioned and subverted through research and commentary, certain views on the subject have only come to light in the past few decades. The implications of postcolonial society on feminism, and vice-versa, have become a subject of increasing scrutiny and expression, and different constructs of sexuality, identity, and gender can be clearly observed in texts produced from this perspective. Two such texts are Hiromi Goto's novel Chorus of Mushrooms and Deepa Metha's film Fire, both of which deal with sexuality, aging, and the nature of femininity and feminism from a unique Asian-European/American (or Canadian) context.

Chorus of Mushrooms begins with a clear and immediately recognizable depiction of aging, even though it is actually a wind being described rather than a person (3). In this way, Goto manages at once to convey an immediate and strong sense of cultural attitudes towards the aged that are held by a Euro-American society while at the same time setting up a clear conflict with this view in the temerity of the narrator's voice and choice of comparison. Sexuality and the concepts of femininity and feminism are dealt with similarly in the novel, with the diction an symbolic choice obviously mimicking (or drawing on) Asian styles of storytelling and emotive expression, while at the same time evoking both modern feminist strains and cultural symbols of the West. Identity is formed -- or fails to form -- based on juxtapositions… [END OF PREVIEW]

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