Faces of the Gods
This chapter returns to the initial question: What is actually happening in the act of martial ritual performance? It concludes that wu masculinity can be explained as a mode of cultural production, premised on a conventional aesthetics, through which performers make visible and tangible otherwise diffuse collective moods and expectations. Through ritual and social performances, these men present, as qualities intrinsic to their own bodies and biographies, emotions and desires linked to the often vexed nature of being a man in Chinese society. This vehicle of public performance empowers men to be agents of self-production, creating themselves through an enactment of the heroic, tragic, hypersexual, capriciously infantile, or aggressively violent phases comprising the habitus of Chinese wu masculinity.
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