The geisha are dynamic and autonomous women, dancers, musicians and sex workers - able to reflect their agency despite the ideals of the societies they were intrinsically related to. Geisha served as representations of Japanese culture and later, their iconography would become a recognizable symbol the world over. Men across a range of time periods and geographical locations sought to control these women through ideals which regulated them to subordinate positions within society. They evoked them in art and represented them through their lens. Through the use of prominent feminist and female historians, I reflect how the geisha were able to sustain themselves in realms of ambiguity, thriving within patriarchal cultures which continually tried to entrap them. Yet the geisha did not remain static, they transformed as a reaction to new male ideals of women, thus retaining their agency and holding on to their power.


Ng, W. S. Margaret




Asian History | History of Gender | Women's History


Geisha, Print, Feminism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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