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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Leow, Rachel 2012. Age as a Category of Gender Analysis: Servant Girls, Modern Girls, and Gender in Southeast Asia. The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 71, Issue. 04, p. 975.

    Nijhawan, Shobna 2012. At the Margins of Empire: Feminist-Nationalist Configurations of Burmese Society in the Hindi Public (1917–1920). The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 71, Issue. 04, p. 1013.

    Nordholt, Henk Schulte 2011. Modernity and cultural citizenship in the Netherlands Indies: An illustrated hypothesis. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 42, Issue. 03, p. 435.


The Modern Burmese Woman and the Politics of Fashion in Colonial Burma


In the mid-1930s, criticisms of modern women's habits, clothing, and hairstyles exploded in the Burmese popular press, showing that “modern fashion” made a man no less virtuous and patriotic but rendered a woman immoral and unpatriotic. This article examines the nature of these criticisms and their motivations, and reveals that the controversy over the dress and comportment of modern women was a complex and multifaceted phenomenon sustained by irreducibly plural interests. It argues that neither the appeal for traditionalism and national sufficiency in the face of multiple modern and colonial temptations, nor the changing tides of Burmese nationalist movements sufficiently explain the preoccupation with modern women's fashion, and suggests that the discourse on modern women needs to be analyzed as stemming from a profound unsettling of existing notions of masculinity and femininity, and its effect on relations between the sexes.

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Barbara Andaya . 2002. “Localising the Universal: Women, Motherhood and the Appeal of Early Theravada Buddhism.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 33 (1): 130.

Maitrii Aung-Thwin . 2003. “Genealogy of a Rebellion Narrative: Law, Ethnology and Culture in Colonial Burma.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 34 (3): 393419.

Ian Brown . 2005. A Colonial Economy in Crisis: Burma's Rice Cultivators and the World Depression of the 1930s. London: Routledge Curzon.

Louise Edwards . 2000. “Policing the Modern Woman in Republican China.” Modern China 26 (2): 115–47.

Charles F Keyes . 1984. “Mother or Mistress but Never a Monk: Buddhist Notions of Female Gender in Rural Thailand.” American Ethnologist 11 (2): 223–41.

Thomas A Kirsch . 1985. “Text and Context: Buddhist Sex Roles/Culture of Gender Revisited.” American Ethnologist 12 (2): 302–20.

Kei Nemoto . 2000. “The Concepts of Dobama (‘Our Burma’) and Thudo-Bama (‘Their Burma’) in Burmese Nationalism, 1930–1948.” Journal of Burma Studies 5:116.

Mina Roces . 2005. “Gender, Nation and the Politics of Dress in Twentieth-Century Philippines. Gender and History 17 (2): 354–77.

Barbara Hamill Sato . 2003. The New Japanese Woman: Modernity, Media, and Women in Interwar Japan, Asia-Pacific. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Sarah E Stevens . 2003. “Figuring Modernity: The New Woman and the Modern Girl in Republican China.” NWSA Journal 15 (3): 82103.

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The Journal of Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-9118
  • EISSN: 1752-0401
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies
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