Sexual ideology in China through movies

Ever since the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, there were drastic shifts in ideologies. While politics, the economy, and social ideologies are indisputable signs of transformation, the same cannot be said for sexual ideology. Sexual abuse and sexual repressions were generally swept under social ideologies and hardly spoken of. Films such as Blind Shaft, Wedding Banquet, Not Pan Jinlian, and Lost in Beijing can be used to discuss the signs of sexual ideology in China. Each of the films uses sexual abuse or sexual repression as a plot development towards their narrative to represent the cruel sexual ideology of China in that era.

Blind Shaft

Blind Shaft is story embodies two coal miners Song Jinming and Tang Zhao who are also professional con artist deceiving gullible young men who are looking for work to support their family. After a few days of working, they then murder the victim portraying an accident, and proceeds to uses the victim’s death as an extort to gain compensation money from the mines’ manager.

The films follow the pair as they repeat their scheme on the new victim, a sixteen-year-old Yuan Fengming. But over the course of the film, Tang began to feel apologetic for Yuan. As the story transitions as the two decided to bring Yuan into a brothel. The film’s portrayal of a brothel is a direct pull from China’s society. In the past or even present, brothels have been a lifestyle for many Chinese women. With or without consent many women in order to survive becomes a sex worker for these brothels.

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They were sexually abused by many men who were considered their customers. Representing that in China’s sexual ideology during the era was heavily clouded, gender equality was presumably an insignificant concept. Only if when or how the women have made enough money, they’re allowed to leave. Progressing with the film, Yuan refuses to follow through with the meaningless sex, surprising the two con artist.

The Wedding Banquet

The Wedding Banquet is a film about a homosexual Taiwanese immigrant man Wai-Tung Gao formulating a scheme to marry a Chinese woman named Wei-Wei in order to deceive his parents about his relationship with Simon a male. Wei-Wei agreed with the wedding because she’s in need of a green card. As the plan followed through a magnificent banquet was thrown for their wedding. After the banquet, several relatives arrived at the hotel for an after-party and they demanded the couple to get in bed naked before they leave. Leading to Wei-Wei a drunk heterosexual female raping Wai-Tung a drunk homosexual male. Throughout the story, Wai-Tung had to develop the plan, because he believed it would appease his traditional parent. Traditionally China had shamed homosexuality, believing it was a mental disability or poor parental teachings. This psychology had been pass from generations to generation believing it is genuinely correct. Although at the end of the film Wai-Tung’s parents cope with the idea of their son being homosexual, the same cannot be said for most families. Sexual repression had been the main concern for some individuals as the society had disgraced same-sex relationships and were humiliated if it were in their family.

Not Pan Jinlian

Not Pan Jinlian trails a woman named Li Xuelian as she chases the law in order to divorce her divorced husband. At the beginning of the film she was married to her husband, but the law stated that a married couple could only own one property. To purchase another property, Li and her husband decided to fake her divorce. Little did she know her husband deceived her and married another woman. Denying their plan of divorcing to try gaining another property. Li decided to report him to the law, but no one would listen to her. What heighten her misfortune is when her husband called her “Pan Jinlian.” In China “Pan Jinlian” is a label that is placed on women who sleeps with other men. When labeled Pan Jinlian, society views you as a loose woman. No other rational men would want to marry you, instead treat you as an escort. Li resentment sets her on a journey to the authorities in hope of nullifying her divorce, so she can properly divorce her husband. Li tried to find an individual who would kill her husband and certain authorities. Quickly leading her into a false intimate relationship with a man in an effort to get him to kill her husband. Li did not realize her journey has indeed turned her into Pan Jinlian. Now she’s bind to men she doesn’t love but is sexually abused whenever they wanted. Sexual repression is shown, a woman to have multiple sexual partners are shamed upon in China. It’s traditionally believed that women should save their virginity until marriage, for their husband to deflower them. Some women who had previously lost their virginity decides they would try to artificially put it back. For some husband, the absence of virginity would ultimately lead to a divorce.

 Lost in Beijing

The film Lost in Beijing is about a couple Liu Pingguo and An Kun. A young couple migrating to Beijing in hope of a better life. Liu Pingguo works at a Golden Massage parlor, and An Kun worked as a window washer. When Liu and her best friend went out to drink, she became carelessly drunk. Returning to work, she was wasted ultimately leads her to walk into an empty room. Her manager Lin Dong walked in seeing her completely wasted, helps her onto the nearby bed. Seeing as Liu is about to pass out, Lin molested her. An Kun happened to be washing the window of the same room, watched and banged on the window. Instead of going to the authorities An begins extorting Lin for money. Liu and An did not go to the authorities suggest that people with money could care less about the law than people who don’t have money. In China upperclassmen has a higher influence, leading to sexual abuses and injustices because they know they could get away with it. An Kun decided to go directly to Wang Mei, Lin’s wife. Instead of advocating for the couple, Wang Mei decided it was a better idea to sleep with her as a retribution. An Kun who was originally mad at his wife for being sexually abused is now cheating on her with someone else.

Time would only heal, true for some, not for others. As the new era arises, it has present many solutions to many problems, but some of these issues still remain dwelling because no ones want to recognize them. Ideology such as politics, the economy, and social has transitions for the betterment of society. But sexual ideology still remained masked to the public. Sexual abuses and sexual repression still often occurs not only in China but also around the world. But only in China that the victims are told to remain victims despite the ongoing evolution of China’s society. Films like Blind Shaft, Wedding Banquet, Not Pan Jinlian, and Lost in Beijing could present a visual representation of the dreadful sexual ideology of China but are unfortunately banned from ever showcasing.

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Sexual ideology in China through movies. (2022, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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