Warrior Women

Gender, Race, and the Transnational Chinese Action Star

By Lisa Funnell

Subjects: Asian Studies, Women's Studies, Film Studies, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies
Paperback : 9781438452487, 294 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438452494, 294 pages, July 2014

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Table of contents

1. Hong Kong–Hollywood Connections
2. Transnational Chinese Mothers: The Heroic Identities of Michelle Yeoh and Pei Pei Cheng
3. Intermedial Stars: Hong Kong Warrior Women in Post-1997 Cinema
4. Chinese Women and the Tropes of Modern China: The Transnational Appeal of Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi
5. Pan-Pacific Connections: Chinese American Warrior Women in Post-1997 Hong Kong
6. Transnational Integration: Chinese Canadian Warrior Women in Post-1997 Hong Kong
7. The Influence of Hong Kong in Hollywood: The Asianization of American Warrior Women
Conclusion: Transnational Chinese Warrior Women
Works Cited

Considers the significance of female Chinese action stars in national and transnational contexts.


Finalist for the 2014 ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year Award in the Women's Studies Category
Bronze Medalist, 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Women Issues Category
Winnerof the 2015 Emily Toth Award presented by the Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association

Warrior Women considers the significance of Chinese female action stars in martial arts films produced across a range of national and transnational contexts. Lisa Funnell examines the impact of the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule on the representation of Chinese identities—Hong Kong Chinese, mainland Chinese, Chinese American, Chinese Canadian—in action films produced domestically in Hong Kong and, increasingly, in cooperation with mainland China and Hollywood. Hong Kong cinema has offered space for the development of transnational Chinese screen identities that challenge the racial stereotypes historically associated with the Asian female body in the West. The ethnic/national differentiation of transnational Chinese female stars—such as Pei Pei Cheng, Charlene Choi, Gong Li, Lucy Liu, Shu Qi, Michelle Yeoh, and Zhang Ziyi—is considered part of the ongoing negotiation of social, cultural, and geopolitical identities in the Chinese-speaking world.

Lisa Funnell is Assistant Professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma, where she is also an affiliated faculty member of the Film and Media Studies Program and the Center for Social Justice. She is the coeditor (with Philippa Gates) of Transnational Asian Identities in Pan-Pacific Cinemas: The Reel Asian Exchange.


"[Warrior Women] is full of interesting and important facts, figures, dates, events, agents, agencies and historical, cultural, and industry information. " — Journal of Chinese Overseas

"Funnell has compiled an impressive filmography in her astute analysis of Chinese warrior women, including many films that would otherwise not garner much critical attention. " — H-Net Reviews (H-Asia)