Revolution Postponed: Women in Contemporary China by Margery Wolf

By Margery Wolf

The Communist revolution promised chinese language girls an finish to millions of years of subjugation, an equality with males in all concerns criminal, political, social, and financial. This e-book examines the level to which this promise has been saved. in keeping with approximately a yr of box examine and interviews with over three hundred ladies in six broadly separated rural and concrete parts, it provides us a shiny photograph of chinese language ladies at the present time - their day by day lives, their perspectives of the current, and their hopes for the long run. to this point not anything approximating equality has been accomplished: in operating stipulations, in pay, in academic chance. within the towns, and to a lesser volume within the nation-state, ladies are than in pre-revolutionary China. yet nowhere other than within the rhetoric of the regime are they equivalent to males. Nor does the speedy destiny glance a lot brighter, given the continued social constraints, the government's arguable kinfolk hindrance application, and the character of the hot monetary guidelines brought in 1980. as far as attainable, the ladies interviewed are allowed to talk for themselves. a few take shelter at the back of govt slogans, a few are shy or cautious, yet a shocking quantity are fast to provide their very own reviews regardless of an ever-present govt cadre. those evaluations, mixed with the author's astute observations on their neighborhood and nationwide context, upload as much as a totally new viewpoint on an all too commonplace challenge.

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By 1953 reports of the failures in the implementation of the Marriage Law were made public, both as a nudge to factions within the government who preferred not to move at all on family reform issues and as the start of a campaign to spread knowledge Page 20 about the law's intent. Statistics were published describing the tens of thousands of murders and suicides that had resulted from the lack of support for women who wished to annul betrothals or free themselves from unhappy marriages. The figures tell us little since we have no population baseline from which to judge them, but the fact that they were being collected and publicized indicates the determination of at least some section in the government to confront the issue.

Once she had established her uterine family, a woman was well on her way to subverting the men's family. In future discussions of family strategy, she might speak up for the interests of her sons if her husband would not speak for her, and as soon as her sons were able, she could speak through them. If she did her job well, by the time she was a grandmother the men's familythat bastion of male power in rural Chinamight in fact be dominated by her wishes, though expressed by her adult sons. As Martin Yang described the situation, perhaps a bit romanticized, in Shandong: Middle-aged sons have almost invariably developed strong attachment to their mother but not to their father.

If he attempts to disrupt the free atmosphere, he will be chased out by his old wife. 7 Because proper behavior in China demanded that men maintain a dignified reserve with their children, women had little competition for the affection of their sons. Society dictated that sons be loyal to their fathers and their father's relatives, but emotionally they belonged to their mothers. When boys came into conflict with their father and his family, the mother was careful to hear out the boys' side of the story, to support their interests in family disputes.

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