How is the character of Gallimard in M. Butterfly disrespectful and cruel towards women?

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lprono | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Gallimard has difficulties in developing a relationship with women on love and equal terms. He did not marry for love and cheats on his wife with the Chinese singer and actor Song Lilling, who is a man, but has led Gallimard to think he is a woman. He is not only disrespectful towards his wife, but also towards his lover, whom he treats applying all Western stereotypes about Oriental women. But, in thinking to be superior and more powerful than Song, Gallimard reveals all his powerlessness. Song understands what Gallimard wants: a submissive woman who is ready to worship him and accepts to be mistreated by him. Gallimard is turned on by Song's apparent passivity and submission. Yet, Song is playing a part not simply on the stage, but also in her relationship with Gallimard. Having understood what type of woman he wants, Song enters that part to extort diplomatic and military information from Gallimard. When Song reveals his true identity during the trial, he asserts his dominance over Gallimard humiliating him before all the international diplomatic community.


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