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Kung Fu Feminism

Women in film are often portrayed as damsels in distress. Even in the films with strong badass women, oftentimes they end up being saved by their male counterparts or partners. Not so in many of the classic Shaw Brothers kung fu films. The legendary studios recognized that feminism = equality, and equality = badass lady warriors. Here are ten of our favorite feminist kung fu films.

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Come Drink With Me

Back off, boys.

Golden Swallow, the daughter of a General, is sent to rescue her brother who is being held hostage. then ends the movie leading a band of female warriors to defeat a horde of bandits. We'll just leave that there.

Watch the movie here:

Executioners From Shaolin

Sometimes, the bird outsmarts the cat.

Ying Chun is a master of the Crane Style, Hsi-Kuan is a master of the Tiger Style. She beats him in a public kung fu demonstration. They fall in love, have a baby, and their son becomes a master of both crane and tiger style. If that's not equality, I don't know what is.

Watch the film:

The One Armed Swordsman

Oh, you thought she used that sword in the kitchen?

Pai Er may not be a role model, but she can certainly hold her own. After her affections were spurned by Fang Kang, how does she respond? She cuts off his arm. It's not just the men that get to show of their skills with a sword.

Watch the film:

14 Amazons


A film about 14 widows who avenge the murders of their husbands. Swords, fists, leaps, and smarts ensure victory for the brave ladies of an ancient Chinese matriarchal clan.

Watch the whole film here:

Best, baddest, ladies of kung fu

What else do you want to add to the list?