What Kind of Ladies Do You Want to Be?

April 7, 2017
By Ma Yan, Huang Guixia, Ma DonglingEditor: Yang Yang

The remarks of Chinese well-known actress and filmmaker Xu Jinglei and post-1985 writer Jiang Fangzhou at a talk show have captured the attention of the Chinese public.

In the program, Xu said, "I don't care what men think of me, I just want to be myself", sparking debate among Chinese netizens.

Some people believed that Xu set an example for women pursuing freedom and independence; while others criticized her as a selfish and unrealistic woman as she does not care about her partner's viewpoints and feelings. 

Another guest Jiang Fangzhou, who also serves as deputy chief editor of New Weekly, shared her failed romantic experiences at the talk show and conceptualized herself as an inferior group in the standards of spouse selection. 

Some netizens commented that Jiang should remove the influence of patriarchal ideology in the views of marriage and love; while others said she is an honest woman, speaking out about the practical dilemmas that many women encounter in reality. 

In fact, whether it is Xu Jinglei or Jiang Fangzhou, their growth and romantic experiences are quite different from ordinary women, but the discussion is still of great importance. 

Their remarks not only show the improvement of social civilization, allowing people to express their different views freely, but also reflect people's attention to the pursuit of women's self values. 

In addition, a series of questions, which are worth further discussing, were also put forward at the program, including: What characteristics should women be equipped with for the new era? How do we get a clear understanding of women's independence in the new era? How women should position their roles in gender relations?

Independence: An Important Characteristic for Women in the New Era

An important characteristic of women in the new era is their ability to maintain their independent personality, value and dignity. A woman, as an independent social individual, is capable of loving herself and others only through independence. 

Economic Independence: Premise and Basis

Economic independence is the prerequisite for women to be themselves, however psychological independence is also quite important. The majority of women have attained economic independence at present, but some of them still cannot get rid of their spiritual dependence, believing men are superior to women. 

Spiritual Independence: Goal and Pursuit 

"To be oneself", as a manifestation of spiritual independence, is regarded as women's awakening and self-recognition of their values. Women can achieve economic and spiritual independence through their own efforts and wisdom, embracing a bright future.

Independence Does Not Mean Loneliness

Independence does not mean disregarding the feelings of others. Women in the new era welcome friendly cooperation and close relations. Men can be partners for women whether in the workplace or at home. 

Women in the New Era Should Be Respected and Treated Equally

Women in the new era place more emphasis on being respected and treated equally in a relationship, as they have realized that the most reliable thing for women is to win a wonderful life by virtue of their own intelligence and efforts.

Only through independence can a woman fully be herself with confidence. She can either choose to be single or get married, no matter how old is she. 

The authors are researcher Ma Yan, research assistant Huang Guixia and Ma Dongling from Women's Studies Institute of China. 

(Source: Women's Studies Institute of China / Translated and edited by Gender Study Network)

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