Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Film Studies

Reader 1

James Morrison

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Rights Information

© 2017 Tong Lin


100 years ago, there was a group of women called Zishunu who stood up against the whole society and swore off marriage for life. Zishu offered an escape for many women in the Pearl River Delta area. As forerunners in female independence and liberation, Zishunu never had the chance to be the spokesman of themselves or the recognition they deserved. Ji Sor (1997), a groundbreaking work in lesbian-themed movies, beautifully depicts this special and unparalleled historical phenomenon in detail. Released a few months after the Handover of Hong Kong in 1997, this critically acclaimed movie by Hong Kong New Wave filmmaker Jacob Cheung embodies the three biggest fears of an extremely conservative society: absence of marriage, challenges to male hegemony, and homosexuality. Although seen as representatives of strong and independent women, Zishunu had to make a lot of compromises to the patriarchal culture to be allowed not to marry. The emancipation of Zishunu, although as a huge advancement in the feminism in China, is not a complete liberation. Women emancipation cannot be achieved by women celibacy. A hundred years later, we are still asking what gender equality really means, what is women’s power, what is independence, what is feminism? Through the analyses of Zishu and Ji Sor both individually and together, this thesis explores the meanings of gender equalities and sexual identities mean in the cinematic world and in the real world. There shouldn’t be a set of standards of how women should act. The right that a woman should have, just like a real women’s movie, is the autonomy to make her own decisions.