Powerfully queered

representations of castrated male characters in Chinese martial arts films


  • Mie Hiramoto National University of Singapore




mediatisation, chinese martial arts films, eunuchs, castrated men, sexuality


This paper investigates representations of castrated male characters in Chinese martial arts films. In my data, without exception, the castrated kungfu practitioners are villainous, powerful and extremely tenacious. After careful examination of the characterisations of these sexually unorthodox male martial artist characters in mainstream films, I find a strikingly simplistic equation that links the castrated male characters and their visual and linguistic representations. While the castrated males are some of the most physically capable martial arts practitioners in this genre, they are stereotypically presented as lacking masculinity, and in turn both feminised and dehumanised. Through layers of mediatisation, the fictional castrated male characters are shown to be freaks and monsters by being linguistically and visually queered.

Author Biography

Mie Hiramoto, National University of Singapore

Department of English Language & Literature Assistant Professor


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How to Cite

Hiramoto, M. (2017). Powerfully queered: representations of castrated male characters in Chinese martial arts films. Gender and Language, 11(4), 529–551. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.31592