Femininity, Homoeroticism and Heterosexuality in Yin Jianling's Female Coming-of-Age Narratives.

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  • Author(s): Shen, Lisa Chu
  • Source:
    Children's Literature in Education. Sep2021, Vol. 52 Issue 3, p378-395. 18p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      This article reads contemporary Chinese children's author Yin Jianling's novels The Paper Puppy (Zhiren) and Orange Fish (Juzi Yu) alongside her letter collection Fifteen Letters to Girls (Zhi Weilai de Ni) to explore the overarching themes of femininity, difference and female sexualities. The Paper Puppy weaves homoeroticism, heterosexuality, pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy into one single novel. Homoeroticism, linked with the curiosity for the changing adolescent female body, marks the end of sexual innocence and the beginning of sexual awakening for protagonist Su, which is entwined intricately with the adolescent girl's physical, emotional and psychological maturation. In contrast, heterosexuality is portrayed in both novels as a deviant and potentially perilous site for adolescent girls. Fraught with the attendant risks of pregnancy, abortion and even suicide, adolescent heterosexual relationships are to be cautioned against. The analysis suggests that despite her self-proclaimed re-traditionalisation and anti-feminist stance in the letters, the sexual discourses in Yin's novels are much more subtle and complex, saturated with feminist and queer overtones. Significantly, in the development of adolescent female sexualities, whether homoerotic or heterosexual, the role of motherhood and adult mentorship is highlighted. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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