The practice of male dan could be dated back to as early as Han dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 219) in which a source cites female impersonators’ performance. (Tian 79) During Tang dynasty (618-906), the Empress banned females from theatrical performances. Her order resulted in separation of “male players and female singers and dancers employed at the court.” As Tia...
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...nese Opera is a highly symbolic theater style that the mastery in posture, singing, movement coupled with costume could easily disguise an actor's identity in real life. Therefore, it is a real artistic form of drama where the skills of the actors are valued over everything. Mei Langfan, whose personal life was most written about as a Chinese opera female impersonator, had a normal family life with his wife and children and even affairs with other actresses were commonly rumored. Although other female impersonators’ personal identity had not yet been widely discussed and researched on, I believe they still possessed their own will in gender identity just like Mei whether homosexual or heterosexual despite the common association with prostitution due to the economical reasons and the femininity they present on stage might let people relate them to females more often.
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