Feminism and female image in The Grandmaster The Grandmaster: An analysis of the characterization of Gong Er Abstract China has produced many classical movies, including a great percent of the movies in which the female is leading character. Through the colorful images, we may realize clearly how the Chinese feminine survival condition is, the words hegemony and the male-power- centre they encounters in the society, as well as the difficulties that they are seeking independent life for themselves, the survival and the development space.
This article select the classical feminine images in the Chinese film the Grand Master, according to he classification and in-depth analysis the female characters, we discovered the feminine images has experienced: the stereotype female image and new female image in new century. The feminine images evolution meant the Chinese movie value restructuring, refracts the development path of Chinese movie from a side.
Studies this kind of evolution, not only help us to grasp the esthetic appeal and the cultural connation from movie in different eras, but also it is more advantageous in the reality for female, to realize themselves well and find the value for their own. Introduction The feminism study in China has not yet spread until 1990s. It is well known that there exists no social movement, no concrete theory concerning feminism. Female’s study in China somehow can be regarded as female’s creation or female’s image. So the characteristic of the women’s study could be the symbol of certain romance, or it could be a Aoyd abstract sign.
Nevertheless, lack of feminism doesnt mean loss of female’s thought in China, for example, in female’s literature, female are paying attention to their status, equality and so on. Chinese female’s view is concealed in morality and revolution. The Grandmaster is a Chinese marital arts drama film in 2013. The director and writer is Wong Kar-Wai. It was released on January 2013 in China and opening film at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in 2013. The film was selected as the Hong Kong entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awa rds. but did not get the nomination.
The film based on the life story of the Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man from the 1930s in Foshan. Ip Man was birth in a rich and honor family; never worry about life before forty years old. In the timing Of choosing new grandmaster, he selected as new southern marital arts grandmaster and has a fight with Wudang Boxing martial arts grandmaster Gong Yutian from northern China, and eventually won. And then he has fallen love with Gong Er, who is Gong Yutian’s younger daughter. Ip Man lost his two daughters because of starvation during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938 and his wife Zhang Youngcheng.
Gong Er lost her father due to traitor Ma San. Ma San was killed by Gong Er after a ruthless fight. After the fight, Gong Er gave up to use Martial art. Ip Man went to Hong Kong and be a martial arts teacher as a new career. Ip Man made Wing Chun popular worldwide and his most famous student was Bruce Lee. The Grandmaster is a great martial arts movie. The story is easy to understand, but audiences still have many questions about movie. The movie showed too many culture issue, history issue about China and Japan and South and North issue in China, also about gender.
The movie is significant because the female character having more screen time than the main male character. The female character Gong Ers screen time may as same as the Ip man in the movie. The female is not the main character in the movie, but she can share half time of the movie. It is unusual happen in the Asian movie and even in the Halloween movie. Gong Er is a significant haracter because she played a female grandmaster in Min Guo era in 1930s. In 1 930s, people still keep conservative in China. Female cannot go to public place with male.
Female cannot do things which man can do. Ip Man’s wife Zhang Yongcheng role showed a traditional female in the movie. But Gong Er just broken every rules, she does not afraid of everything she never lose. In this film, aud ience still can see how people trade female in 1930s. There are fewer researches on the Asian film, especially on female in the Asian film. People couldnt understand about Asian movie because of cultural and language different. This is the reason for the lack of research. The Grandmaster becomes important because it shows audience Chinese culture identity.
Through analysis the female character in the movie, foreign audiences will understand how Chinese movie define Chinese female. Literature Review Gender, as a ubiquitous phenomenon in everyday life and the most fundamental ideology of the human thoughts, shapes the way people read, think, talk and live. It divides classes, allocates powers, embodies and reinforces cultures. Judith Butler (1993) said “Genders can be neither true nor false, neither real nor apparent, neither original nor derived. As credible bearers of those attributes, however, genders can also be rendered thoroughly and radically incredible”.
The woman’s film, against its male counterparts of the combat film, the western, the prison film, the criminal film and the pirate film, rises to an independent genre, which specifically belongs to the woman. (Leo, 1 999) To understand the woman’s film as a genre, Jeanine Basinger, (1993) suggested a useful working definition of the woman’s film: “A woman’s film is a movie that places at the center Of its universe a female who is trying to deal with the emotional, social, and psychological roblems that are specifically connected to the fact that she is a woman”.
Because the Depression and war years called for contributions from every citizen, Chinese produced countless films featuring strong women, which led to the Golden Years of the woman’s film in 1 9705. George Cukor, a male director most identified with his particular sympathy to strong women, directed a bunch of films in the late forties and early fifties featuring the delicate equilibrium between a man and a woman and between a woman’s need to distinguish herself and the social demands on her. John, 1972) While omen during the golden era might aspire to be soldiers, journalists, doctors, lawyers, and even pilots, they could not escape from the entanglement of a pre-written storyline. Sochen (2004) indicated that “In all of the cinematic treatments of independent women, romance always trumps career, and the domestic scene is women’s ultimate venue. The unspoken assumption-that marriage takes precedence over a woman’s profession-prevailed in ‘feminist’ films. ” The word “stereotyp‚’ originates from the technology of printing presses.
It refers to a metal plate cast from a matrix molded from a raised rinting surface, producing exact and identical copies. (Leone, R. , Peek, W. , & Bissell, K. L. (1989)) It is not difficult to present the meaning of stereotype under the cultural context through its correlation with the technological application. According to cultural theorist and sociologist Stuart Hall, (1997) stereotypes “are over-generalized, oversimplified, or exaggerated beliefs associated with a category or group of people”. Just as we learn stereotypes from our parents, relatives, friends and others with whom we interact frequently.
We learn stereotypes from the mass media: books, newspapers, agazines, motion pictures, radio, television and films. Perhaps the biggest catastrophe that results from stereotypes and sabotages our perception is, as quoted from Hall, (1997) the process of “selective perception”, and “once we have formed an impression about a group, we condition ourselves to look for these characteristics in future encounters with members of that group. Stereotypes structure our perception in such a way that we selectively perceive only those stimuli in a given situation that are consistent with our existing’.
Many feminist film critics have been arguing against the tereotypical representations of women in mainstream Chinese film. Hall said that contrary to the portrayal of male characters as being active, superior, self-assured, determined, heroic, audacious, dominant, outspoken, resourceful, rational and brotherly, women seem to be naturally connected with being passive, inferior, weak, docile, fragile, vulnerable, hesitant, subservient, acquiescent, emotional, vengeful, vicious, and competitive and changeable.
During the century-long Chinese film history, women rarely escape from falling into the predestined stereotypical roles, plots and endings that social conventions have set for her. McRobbie’s (2004) argued that stereotypes, embodying social conventions, ruthlessly classify women into the normal and the abnormal, the observer and the transgressor, and eventually the angel and the devil. The women who voluntarily claim their responsibilities of being a worthy wife or mother, and follow the path that stereotypes have paved for them though with occasional distraction.
Under the influence of the core concept of Confucianism, Lunli ethic principle has ruled over China for several thousands of years. Lun in Chinese means the hierarchical order while Li becomes an important principle in China. The Chinese social structure is basically hierarchical or vertical in nature and the principle of L unli help reinforce the asymmetrical or vertical relationship by advocating the maintenance of differences between the emperor and his subjects, father and his son, elder brother and younger brother, male and female. Authority is respected and listened to and power relationship, in socio-linguistic terms, is highly valued.
Power here is associated with age, education, social class, sex, social positions and ranks, and family relations. Confucius’ ideal society was everyone had a family. He sang high praise of family; therefore, women were deprived of their opportunity in society, but acted as wives and mothers in the family. In feudal society, women could have adapted to social and family canon only when they were shaped according to Confucianism and what male people expected them to be. Needless to say, women would not be in the center of culture during the feudal society because of heavy burdens of women.
Unlike the stereotypical women who abide by the social rules and are trapped in the predetermined destiny, the non-stereotypical women are those who defy conventions and hake the men’s world; those who pose questions towards ideology, “a representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence” (Althusser, 1971 They are independent, strong- willed, brave and intelligent. They think the unthinkable, reach the unreachable, speak the unspeakable, control the uncontrollable and console the inconsolable. They contradict with the passive, victimized and fetishized women images that prevail in films.
In such films, male heroism (Jeanine, 1993) is naturally amplified in parallel with the helplessness and vulnerability of the female characters. There are two ways for non-stereotypical women to transform from the heroine to the hero. First one, she abandons her passivity and claims her authority from male character. Second one, she takes the place of man’s leading role in male genres. Analysis of media In the movie, there have two main female characters, Ip Man’s wife, Zhang Youngcheng and Ip Man’s lover, Gong Er. These two characters reflect exactly two type of Chinese female, stereotype female and new female.
Zhang Youngcheng In the movie The Grandmaster, Zhang Yongchengs character shows main traditional Chinese stereotypes, including she played a typical sample, a lassical female pattern – mother and also wife who always stand behind and support her husband. She is the first female character showing in the movie. She is a quite woman. Every time when her husband went out, she will light a lamp and left it lit until he came home. After her husband came home, she will serve him. She has no words, but she showed a traditional Chinese female image. She is “good woman”. She followed every rules from Confucius, husband are the first important thing.
Even she found out her husband treat on her, she did not say any word, just stand behind her husband and atching quietly. She pretends there’s nothing happen, also prepare the winter coat for the family even they don’t need. Because she knew the girl that her husband love lives in the cold city. Zhang: Does it fit? Ip Man: Foshan’s never this cold. Zhang: Better to be ready. You will go sooner or later. She is afraid to lose her husband, and maybe she knows that one day her husband will leave her, so she asks to take family photo. When they take family photo, Ip Man put his hand on her back, she smile and cried.
She feel satisfied just with a softly touch. When the war start, she couldn’t do nything, and she scare, just stay at home take care of children. She lost her children, without cry she cannot do anything. Seeking to make a living to support his family back home, Ip Man moves to Hong Kong. She did not go with him. Because man can go out and work, she choose to stay at home keep waiting until she dead. Asian women are typically socialized to be “private, passive, caring, and family-oriented” (Park 437). In this sense, much of the Zhang Yongchengs representation on the series can be traced to the specific socialization patterns of Chinese.
Zhang Yongcheng appears to have any traditional virtues of Chinese woman; she is tender, patient, and industrious and so on. She is a mother and wife, no matter what trouble they are facing; she encourages and supports her husband, but never abandons him. In the old history of China, female just can play three roles, daughter, mother and wife. Female always lack of consciousness, the value of their existence is lower than men, and female believe that their self-sacrifice for male is worth it. Through their self-sacrificing that male will express more valuable.
They put male’s ideal on supremacy status, female willing stand ehind the men, because their desire is to help men to achieve their dreams. Gong Er , Her father took her to visit the fight between him and Ip Man. Gong father: since you were little, you’ve watched me fight. This is the last time. You already engage, in the world of martial arts, there’s no place for you. Become a good doctor. Live a peaceful life. This is my greatest wish. Her father lost the fight and leaves her for the rest of thing. Gong Er: the Gongs have never been defeated. To me, this contest isn’t over yet. have no chance to be as great as my father.