Dismantling Gendered Nationalism in Kee Thuan Chyeâ€™s <i>We Could **** You, Mr. Birch<i>
This article analyses the representation of gender in Kee Thuan Chyeâ€™s play We Could **** You, Mr. Birch (1994), examining how the characters are used to undermine patriarchal concepts of nation. Kee uses historical characters and events, situating them within a modern-day frame which takes a critical stance towards the common portrayal of both imperialism and nationalism as male-centred domains. The events of this play highlight the masculinising discourse of imperialism and, subsequently, nationalism; this discourse is then viewed through a modern lens which interrupts it through the presence of â€œunruly woman whose refusal to comply with gender expectations unsettles various power relations on which the stability of theâ€¦ society depends (Gilbert 153), as well as men who cannot live up to the expectations of the nationalist constructions of male power. He thus critiques the â€œmalenessâ€ of the nation while proffering alternative possibi lities for nation- construction through the recovery of (fictional) female histories.Â
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