I’ve vowed to myself that my body is my public, political sphere as well as my private, personal sphere. It’s my mannequin on which to display my beliefs, my vehicle in the fight for gender rights, my pathway to strength and to weakness. I’m not afraid to bare the truth to the world. What doesn’t help is feeling that the system is pitted against me because I speak a different language, because I am a foreigner, and because I am a woman.
At a time when feminism is growing in China and yet the movement remains largely underground, the need for women’s empowerment is routinely ignored in China. As stated by one of these women: ‘not getting married is like the biggest sign of disrespect’ to her parents, and society as a whole. The film taps into that need directly.
Just because they don’t get to vote for their government, or don’t have the economic stability you do, or don’t have access to the resources you take for granted, doesn’t mean those women don’t fight for their rights just like you. In fact, you might be surprised at how far they have gone to get rights women around the world deserve.
Date says more attractive with clothes on. Does an open relationship translate to open dates? Getting an I.O.U. for accepting a drink. Women tell true stories of their dating experiences in China.
Part five in a five part series of interviews. All stories shared by the women who experienced them in their own words.
Contrary to (mainly western) feminist paradigms, for Chinese women the advent of birth control is not automatically synonymous with “freedom”. Within the collective cultural memory, family planning holds the cultural weight of painful state control, as legislation to reduce family sizes in the early Maoist period was enforced through forceful means.
A woman’s perceived value is tied up in her fertility and her physical appearance. The biological clock has supposedly ruled women’s lives for generations. In many industries, a woman’s sex appeal can equate to her recognition and success. So how does the notion of a “sell-by date” affect real women’s lives? For generations, the average woman has lived her entire life with the overpowering idea that one day, her eggs will suddenly run out and she’ll be immediately infertile. Thankfully, the biological clock is a myth.
The 1995 incident was echoed this year: While many women were being distracted with a shower of sexism and unnecessary gifts, Chinese feminist activists were arrested and held over International Women’s Day without cause. Ten women were detained on Friday and Saturday, and five were still being held in custody on Monday.
Sexuality, Contraception and Challenging the Patriarchy: Lijia Zhang on her debut novel Lotus (Interview: part 2)
Inspired by her grandmother’s deathbed confession of being sold to a brothel, Lijia Zhang injects her cutting social criticism into her first novel, Lotus. The book delves deep into the sex industry in contemporary Shenzhen, following a young migrant woman, Lotus, who is eager to escape her life as a prostitute.
- How to check your privilege: some thoughts on allyship, intersectionality and privilege June 18, 2020
- Sex Education: Self-education February 9, 2020
- Uncovering history: women founders of the United Nations November 3, 2018
I am a queer feminist anthropologist passionate about challenging binary gender norms, combatting sexism and fighting for equal rights for women around the world. I have been writing about gender and sexuality for seven years. Feminist issues take priority in my reading and research. I have lived in mainland China and South Korea, and have travelled extensively in South East Asia, including a series of research trips to Burma (Myanmar).
Thank you for joining me on this journey. If you enjoy my work, please consider becoming a patron of Zhende Gender by making regular or one-off contributions.