The Chinese pronoun for ‘wife’ (fūrén) translates as ‘husband’s person’.

Zhēn de? 

Chinese clinics still offer ‘electroshock’ gay conversion therapy. Many gay men and lesbian women commit to fake marriages to disguise their true sexuality.

Zhēn de? 

13 million abortions are performed every year in China. 60% of abortions are done for unmarried women under the age of 26.

Zhēn de? 

真的? Zhēn de? translates as “really?” When I found myself using the phrase “Zhēn de?” increasingly in relation to women’s rights, sexism and other gender-related issues in China, I decided I had to start writing about these problems with a specific focus on Asia.

真 Zhēn is Mandarin for ‘real’, ‘true’ or ‘genuine’

Zhēn de is pronounced jen-duh.* The Chinese phrase rhymes closely with the English word gender. Put the Chinese and English side by side, and you have “real gender”.

Zhēn de Gender aims to explore the multiple realities of culture, gender and sexuality in contemporary Asia.

I am a 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 several years; feminist issues take priority in my reading and research. I have lived in China and South Korea, and have travelled extensively in South East Asia.

Zhēn de Gender embraces the space-time compression offered by online spaced to communicate across multiple timezones and contribute to global discussion of culture and gender.

Zhēn de Gender started life as a lifestyle blog, written as I navigated post-university life. As I began to write for several different platforms, the breadth of content I posted increased. I then began writing from China, which helped me re-focus the site on the country and region that became my home. Since leaving the country, I have transformed my personal interest into academic study of China, by doing a master’s degree.

* Mandarin is a tonal language, so the pitch of the voice changes the meaning. The same single syllable can be at least five different words, depending on the tone. An accurate pronunciation can be rendered by saying jen in a high, unchanging tone, and the duh with no tone. To hear a correct pronunciation by a native speaker, please follow this link.

(Edited: 9/2/2020)

1 Comment

  1. So pleased you have decided to follow my blog! really chuffed!
    As to zhende/zhendema….I never say zhendema, nor do any Chinese I know, we all just say “zhende?!” in a tone of incredulity. It is such a useful phrase. You can easily fool other Westerners that you speak Chinese if you pretend to be on one end of a phone conversation that goes like this:

    Hao de, hao de,……dui, zhende!!! ..ah ah, dui, hao de….zhende? ah, ah, zai jian!”

    Fortunately I am now a little more fluent than that, but if you listen to people talking on their mobiles, you will be surprised how often that accurately reflects the conversation!
    Will be reading your blog regularly.. zai jian!! Herschelian

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