On Discovery detailed a forceful and brutal transformation from man to woman in an older Chinese style. In this piece, an over-confident male explorer discovers the Land of Women. He is captured by the women, imprisoned, and subjected to physical modifications to become a woman. Over time, he accepts this change and it becomes his gender identity. Through this short tale, author Maxine Hong Kingston is relating how gender is developed over time into one’s identity, and representing a way in which oppression has been used to maintain a gender power dynamic.
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I have long expounded the point that pride in something that is an accident of birth (nation, state, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, hair color, anatomical attributes, and so on) is ridiculous. I love that I am a straight white cis-male American from the northeast and I love my anatomy, my ethnic heritage, and myself, but I don’t take pride in any of those things. I take pride in my accomplishments, the struggles I’ve overcome, things I’ve created, skills I’ve developed, and knowledge I’ve acquired.
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