“Can’t you see I want you to care about yourself as you care about me?”

General & I is a female fantasy–that we (women) will be respected in a male-dominated profession; that we will be loved for our successes rather than shamed; that we can have our own hierarchical relationships that may even conflict with a man–and that’s ok. 

That’s the fantasy. 

The passion of romantic love may give General & I it’s narrative drive, but it’s beating heart is in female friendships. 

This line came from the best defined of those friendships, between Bai Ting Ting and Yang Feng, who are besties. 

Bai Ping Ting and Yang Feng are allowed to rank their friendship high enough that it can conflict in their romantic relationships–when their husbands go to war against each other, Yang Feng tries to keep Bai Ping Ting from choosing sides for example. 

And the women who don’t have friends–Zheng Guifei and Yao Tien–are the women who End Badly.