Sunday, March 2, 2008

Confused: Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon

1) Yes, Bruce Lee did not have "implied sex" with a woman in Enter the Dragon, unlike Roper and Williams.

2) However, I believe we can make the argument that Lee was not, in fact, emasculated or de-sexualized. As Vijou points out, Enter the Dragon clearly objectifies Bruce Lee's body, showing off his physique time and time again during those famous and unnecessarily-shirtless fight scenes. His body is an object of desire for both men and women.

3a) In the famous final showdown with Han, Lee enters a room of mirrors. Although the effect is largely disorienting, the set also carries with it the same sexual implications that can be found in the Flower Drum Song musical number "I Enjoy Being a Girl." The viewer can see every angle of Lee in the mirrors, objectify him, and view him sexually.

3b) I just compared Bruce Lee to Nancy Kwan. Does this a) sexualize him, b) emasculate him, or c) both? Can you be both?

4a) Regarding all the shirtlessness, we could argue that the filmmakers were trying to portray Lee as a freak, a side-show. In which case, he wouldn't be so desirable sexually.

4b) Or would he? Serious question.

In the end, I'm confused. All I know is that I don't believe the film has a clearly defined perspective regarding the issue of Asian male masculinity/sexuality.

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