Monday, October 17, 2011

Wuxia Superheroines

I thought it would be interesting since we are starting to analyze depictions of super heroines in films and dramas to introduce a new type of super heroine that exists - a wuxia super heroine. Wuxia refers to a broad genre of Chinese fiction that deals with the world of martial arts. It is probably most properly known to the American audience through the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The world of wuxia takes place in the olden times, so the clothing that these women wear are very traditional and conservative. Furthermore, women in these wuxia films wield weapons and show amazing fighting skills. It is definitely refreshing to see how powerful these wuxia super heroines are, in completely non-sexy attire. Here is a clip from the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" showing two super heroines dueling it out:

Despite how badass and invincible these super heroines are in the wuxia genre, men do ultimately rank above them, and are often shown to easily defeat these women. In a follow-up to the scene above, the super heroine Jen duels another martial arts master, this time a man, who easily outmaneuvers her:

Hence, even in these wuxia films where the super heroines are portrayed as strong, skillful masters of martial arts, there are still men who overpower them very easily. Hence, this goes to show that even different cultures and genres tend to portray super heroines as "weaker" than male super heroes. Be it the French film Nikita, American comic books or even the Chinese wuxia genre, super heroines are often still portrayed as weaker than men.


  1. In this instance, I think culture must be considered. In Chinese culture (all aspects, not just superheroes), men do take precedence. Even when it comes to children, men take precedence. Despite all that, however, it is unfair that men get more credit for something that a woman is equally good at, if not more.

  2. I think it is interesting to look back on this post after having watched Buffy. Buffy (a petite young woman) fights off large vampires on a regular basis and wins most of the time. In the Buffy series, it doesn't matter that Buffy is a woman fighting a man--gender is irrelevant and power is the only thing that matters.


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