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Anna Wing Bo Tso

Abstract

Cross-dressing, as a cultural practice, suggests gender ambiguity and allows freedom of self expression. Yet, it may also serve to reaffirm ideological stereotypes and the binary distinctions between male and female, masculine and feminine, homosexual and heterosexual. To explore the nature and function of cross-dressing in Chinese and Western cultures, this paper analyzes the portrayals of cross-dressing heroines in two Chinese stories: The Ballad of Mulan (500-600 A.D.), and The Butterfly Lovers (850-880 A.D.). Distorted representations in the English translated texts are also explored..