Analysis Of M. Butterfly By David Henry Hwang

Decent Essays

Introduction Gender has an odd way of creeping into every aspect of our lives. How ones sits, how one speaks, and what one wears are coded by gender to the point where many people attempt to determine and indeed expect how women and men will act before they do so. It would be no surprise then that when one talks about nation-states, we do the same. We collectively assign nation-states genders, mostly along Western and Eastern lines, and we expect the nation-states to act accordingly. David Henry Hwang, author of M. Butterfly, describes the scenario through one of his characters, Song Liling, as “The West thinks of itself as masculine – big guns, big industry, big money – so the East is feminine – weak, delicate, poor…but good at art, and full of inscrutable wisdom – the feminine mystique” (Hwang 1988). Hwang lays out this relationship between the East and West as a relationship between man and woman. He further states that “The West believes the East, deep down, wants to be dominated – because a woman can’t think for herself…You expect Oriental countries to submit to your guns, and you expect Oriental women to be submissive to your men” (Hwang 1988). This relationship would be abusive at best but the question arises, how can the West be masculine but be hailed as a bastion of gender equality at the same time? A good society would be one centered on equality and one aspect of that would be gender equality. Women comprise half of the world’s population – 3.5 billion people –

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