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Chinese gender and society STUDY GUIDE

by: Syed Haque

Chinese gender and society STUDY GUIDE SOC255

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Syed Haque
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Summary of the required readings to help guide you and prepare you for the midterm
Gender & Chinese Society
Ana M. Candela
Study Guide
Studyguide, Chinese gender and Society, binghamton, sociology
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This 16 page Study Guide was uploaded by Syed Haque on Friday March 4, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to SOC255 at Binghamton University taught by Ana M. Candela in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 96 views. For similar materials see Gender & Chinese Society in General Science at Binghamton University.


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Date Created: 03/04/16
March -1 Communist rev Rural women within and beyond the communist movement  Smedley, Portraits of Chinese Women in Rev : Women agricultural workers- Agricultural women workers had unbound feet, and they stepped forward to take part in the Red Guard of Ningkang saying “ Our feet are big, they have never been bound! We can walk and work like men! We are strong as the men! Give us guns!” Theme : Women wanted to take an active role in the communist movement. Why? Possibly because they appreciated the communist since the GMD were constantly failing to bring about peace. Other workers also demanded the right to form an union and took their first step in changing the conditions of women workers and in emancipating themselves from old customs and traditions. Theme: In general other women workers banded together and took this opportunity to better their condition. The rich peasants found a way around the call for equal division of land, since each member of the family was entitled to the same amount of land and since rich peasants had more family members since they sons did not wander off for work or daughters weren’t sold off and there was less death they ended up with more lands. The Women Take A Hand- Women’s National Salvation Association, Mother Tsai walked from village to village urging women to join literacy classes, and attend discussion groups to learn what the war was about and how they could help. Women could make shoes for the army on their free time. Women were working more and more on the field, the young men joined the army and the old and the boys carried supplies to the battle field and brought back the wounded. On festival days members of the women’ association would go to hospitals to comfort the wounded. Women in the army would hold classes to boost the women’s confidence. One such class covered Japanese espionage and sabotage methods in the war zone. It urged women to become “eyes and ears of the Army.” “Guarding the rear of the Army.” After all this, women never just sat and listened to menfolk dispense wisdom, they took part in conversations, conducted propaganda, went to mass meetings and questioned every stranger that passed through the valley. Theme women became very active, as they felt empowered by the army. They were no longer being oppressed since the army was actively encouraging them to do more and become active and they did exactly that.  Chen, Daughter of Good Fortune Even during 1931 the old traditions still prevailed in poor villages. The mother worked throughout to supplement the income. At fields and as a day laborer She worked in a factory in 1946, women even from remote villages were recruited to work for factories. Women worked to help the national economy keep on going during the war. During the invasion, her mother would take her and go to refugee camps and wait out the war. When they lived under Japanese control, she would have to pretend to be ugly and old cuz the Japanese were always looking for flower girls. Even in 1940, girls from her village didn’t go to school, they were expected to learn the traditional ways The different expectations of girls and boys were based on the conventional belief that only male children were legitimate heirs in a family. If a son was smart, then, with education, he could bring fame and fortune to the family. On the other hand, a girl was to be married out, so investing limited family resources in her was just a waste from her parents’ POV. Also, if the parents wanted their daughter to be happy and successful, they would prepared her with womanly skills so that a good and well to do family would choose her as a daughter in law. This goes to show that even nearly after a half a century since the struggle to gain women’s independence began there were still hot spots were society encouraged the old ways and even progressive liberal minded parents would have to teach their kids the old way and bring them up the old ways so they would be happy in the society they live in and not get ostracized. The communist brought big changes with them, a new political structure was set up in her area. CCP formed the peasant association, they basically redistributed the power and empowered people. She volunteered to stand guard with the militia. THEME : Young women getting involved in active revolution activities despite however small . After liberation women went to night schools hosted by the factories they worked in. The new marriage law : Arranged marriages are illegal, and marriages should be based off free love. This law allowed couples to get divorced based off their clams of loveless arranged marriages. The land reform act is what made the communist party so successful, despite facing opposition, the peasants outnumbered rich folk in any given region.  King, Unbound: Women leaders in the army took control over recruiting, getting food and funds. They also established unions for workers of different fields. These unions were set up to that they could still hold the system set in place by the army after they moved on. They arranged mass demonstration to engage the people. (Propaganda) Women who were oppressed and needed a way out jumped out to help the Red army, as mentioned above, because they provided an outlet, they were the very existence of the idea of being liberated and independent. The red army opened with celebrations before setting up shop to recruit and such. The women performed skits to dispense Red Army news. Li lead a confiscation team Peasant women were impressed by the red women having jobs and dressing like men, some saw this as empowering women and encouraged their daughters to join such as Ma’s mom. Despite the talk of equality some gender roles remained traditional. Like, King Ironfeet many of the red army soldiers were fueled by mall gestures of gratitude that they received for helping in liberation.  No one is home, Hershatter: “Speaking bitterness” was most often organized by cadres, poor peasants and women in public forum designed to break the power of local elites and to build support for the new state. It was intended to mobilize the listeners, altering their sense of what was permissible and possible. At these sessions, women often used the words pitiful and feudal. Characterized their childhood as pitiful. And feudal to describe the situations of girls and women. They call feudal the norms decreeing that a woman should have her feet bound, marry when and whom her parents chose serve her husband and in laws obediently, exert no control over household finances, and, above all, remain confined to the household. It assigned responsibility for traumas to the distorted political and social relationships of the prerevolutionary decades. It encouraged women to see the present as shaped by their own actions under the guidance, protection, and encouragement of a benevolent party state. Feudal remnants. Pitiful is the problem, feudalism is the source and liberation is the solution. The revolution granted them particular form of personhood: the ability to move safely in nondomestic space, to become economic contributors and political actors. Going out to meetings and classes, working in the fields, having a say In choosing one’s own marriage partner, becoming women’s cadre or a labor model, all depended on the ability to move through and somethings beyond, village space. Bringing in a child to raise as a future bride was less expensive than paying the bride price for a fully grown young woman. Many women were left to fend for themselves when the war began, this caused them to work as mentioned in the other stories. Seclusion was a sign of privilege, one that poor women could not attain. Continuing theme for the poor not being able to enjoy the freedom and equality. Shan Xiuzhen became a farmer as soon as she stopped being a famine refugee. Young girls were given quotas by their mothers, they had to meet those quotas before they could go out and play. When disaster struck a region, it was often the women in the community, who had married in from elsewhere and therefore had kin in other places, who provided life saving connections. New futures Chen Duxie; A modern nation depends on individuals being independent, in the Confucian family there is no personal independence. Without independence how will they form their own ideas Relating to class and reading : Qin went out on her own, becoming independent and ultimately stood up for her own idea, what she thought china should look like Under the Confucian fam, “to be a woman means to submit…the wife’s words should not travel beyond her own apartment…a woman does not discuss affairs outside the home” so why wouldn’t it unusual for women to participate in politics The Confucian way of life wasted many promising young women bc of the way their lives were set up girls were never prompted to do anything but obey . Confucius lived in a feudal age and promoted ethics of the feudal age Lu Xan questions in what was do unchaste women injure the country ? he says the turmoil the country is in is due to the men in power not the unchaste women in power cuz there aren’t any. Is Chasity a virtue ? virtues should be universal and then only is it worth having , men don’t have to worry abt chastity . have polygamous men the right to praise chastity in women ? the old moralists would say yes bc simply they are men. Men cannot make rules they themselves cant keep. Men take a woman’s chasity but only the woman is blamed. There was little talk about progressive but never voiced loudly because men feared being ostracized by their peers. He suggests we should do away with stupidity and tyranny in the world which injure others as well as our selves. What happens when nora leaves : Nora one day realizes she and her children are puppets to her hubby, so she leaves home. What happens when she leaves ? we don’t know, another English writer wrote about a woman leaving and bc no doors were open to her she ended up in a brothel. Raises the qs about what opportunities are there for women to succeed if they choose to leave and become independent? Urges ppl to right for equal rights but not how to get it done. Points out the issue not a soln. He points out that one nora would draw sympathy but a 100 thousand noras would draw disgust, so having economic power in yout own hands is for more reliable. Is there also a human being ? : Ye Shengtao To escape from domestic abuse she runs away but ppl on the boat who don’t know her criticize her and make it out to be her fault, she had the courage to turn a deaf ear but I wonder if women like her got off the boat by being pressured into their old lives by ppl like the ones on the boat. She went on and found work as a maid from a domestic service agency but the family found her and ultimately got her back when she came to mourn her dead husband and then the inlaws sold her off like cattle to cover funeral expenses. The master wanted her to get a divorce but the mistress said that what will she do when she doesn’t work for them anymore where will she go and therefore asked him not to intervene, she could have been a better person and maybe thought oh she can work else were to like tao tao. Views on divorce, Yang Zhihua : Love may eventually turn problemetic and eventually lead to a divorce therefore divorces are necessary and good for people in the long run. To force two ppl to stay together cause immoral and unnatural behavior, how love begins and ends is beyond our control and comprehension. They need a helping hand from society Concerning the incident of miss zhao’s suicide, Mao Zedong : she killed her self cuz of all her suffering and the writer asks us to find a way to correct this rather than show pity. The writer argues that economic factors caused the treatment of women to become the way it did. Increased population caused food supplies to go down and competition for survival made it necessary to emphasize work and with this arrived the terrible age in which women became subjugated to men. Women are not inherently inferior to men, but because women cannot work during the period of child bearing men took advantage of this and made “submission” the condition of exchange and used “food” to shut them up. Suggests 3 requirements women should meet before marriage and brings up public child support so couples can bring back love at the core of their relationship rather than economics. Emancipating women by reorganizing the fam, Zhang Weici : Most ppl see the emancipation of women as the means to resolve the woman question. If they are emancipated without anyone to show them the ropes then women are basically being setup to fail. The transition period called “the Big Gap.” Suggests early education for women and dividing up labor at the house. Suggests crushing individualism and use division of labor to apportion household chores one by one and let each chore be the special responsibility of one family then most women will be able to work at jobs. If work were divided with different ppl doing different work then everyone would have to pay monetary compensation and this would be to everyone’s advantage. Small children are constantly surrounded by models of solitary family right when they are most impressionable. As time passes they began to think that the most important duty in life is to the family, not to the outside world. This is why a democratic system is so hard to establish. Therefore the way to emancipate women is necessarily to make the family part of society. To have careers, women must first have some sort of specialized skills. Once a woman have specialized skills, they must make a joint effort to work together. On Freeing slave girls, Patricia Ebrey: Bc the way slaves are treated they are wasteful in their tasks and the masters end up losing out this is one reason slavery should be abolished. Says after freeing slave girls the fam should take them in as their daughters, send them so school and after school hrs they should be taught work around the house. Second way is to send them back to their original fam but to make sure they arent sold again. She also caution against if only one person does it the majority will consider it strange and opposition to it is enormous. If its done by many ppl opposition will be slight and she suggests it would be best done by an organized society. She says those who deny they should be nagged and if they still don’t and the ppl around them do then they will soon lose the respect of their peers. Feb 18 reading Organizing and mass society: Labor, education and rev Honig, “Contract Labor” : Labor bosses would travel to villages and purchase teenage girls from their parents and were contracted to work for a fixed no. of years. Xia Yan went under cover. They were not allowed in the living quarters of the contract workers nor would they tell him anything about their recruitment process or treatment. The camps were protected by people who profited from it and guarded by police and thugs alike. The squalid existence of the contract laborer was often described as typical of the experience of Shanghai’s pre-liberation women cotton mill workers and cited as an illustration of the brutal conditions resulting from foreign domination of the cotton industry and of capitalists’ inhuman exploitation of the workers. However, this article will show that the contract labor system was instead a product of the power of the Green Gang in Shanghai. Buying and selling of young girls – “Plucking Mulberry Leaves” The contractors were known as the Green Gang, they controlled most of the social, economics and legal institutions of Shanghai. Their origins are somewhat unknown, one hypothesis is that they were peasant workers who found buying and selling young girls was more profitable than working as a coolie in Shanghai. Contractors were wealthy and their dressing and living style reflected that. They recruited through social connections rather than economics considerations alone bc not all of the labors were from the poorest regions but poor regions, If it were solely based on economic consideration the majority would have been from the poorest regions. In some cases daughter in laws would be sold by their parents in law, they would recruit by posting announcements and then going door to door after they spoke with neighbors and friends regarding who was in dire need to financial relief. Selling young women to contractors was not a completely new phenomenon, nor was it simply a result of industrialization. Instead it was an extension of the tradition of selling and indenturing women as future daughter in law, brides, or servants. The contractors would hire the girls from their families and then put them to work and collect their wages for a set amount of time. Peasant operas became a thing. Intricate network of brothel bosses, the tea house owners and the labor contractors were all connected thru their membership in the Green Gang. They were fed very little and meat and fish only on holiday unlike promised where they said they would feed them every day, they would rape the girls sometimes. After the end of their contract some would stay as dai fan, he only difference being is that they get to keep some of their wages and pay house and board. If they chose to leave they lost favor with the boss and would lose their job Mill owners and contractors would get into arguments over the workers health. “ The contract system was not good, producing apathetic, lethargic workers.” The system came to be, foreign mill owners unfamiliar with Chinese language and customs, had no choice but to depend on local hoodlums to recruit their labor, and so long as production continued they did not care how the workers were treated. Conditions became so bad that by 1920s legislation was enacted to control the abuses. Underlying theme, women were still being subjugated and in 1924 the legislation only protected their chastity nothing more. But wasn’t prevalent enough or not unusual enough to deserve special attention, wassn’t new worthy until 1930s when hen Hansheng and his researchers began to investigate. Women’s groups proposed identifying the labor, and moving them to refugee houses and educating them. As long as the gang wielded power, the system could not be destroyed. It never surfaced cuz the green gang had infiltrated top levels that control such systems. The condition of female education in Jinan, Deng Enmin : Points out flaws in the education system for girls in Jinan. The girls that graduate have a tough time finding a job bs of bad grades, the low quality of their work, and restrictions placed on them by their families. Yet these problems must also be attributed to the teachers in charge. Thea teachers don’t care or simply don’t agree with educating women. The author attributed the majority of this problem to the curriculum which are inturn under the teachers. Author outlines what he thinks it ought to be Faulty: The school should be like a big family, faculty should be like family, live in harmony and support each other. What’s wrong with the current system, faculty and students don’t care abt each other, this is exacerbated by gender segregation rules and teachers are there for the salary. Curriculum: Students graduate without knowing arithmetic, algebra,geometry, trig,etc. Teachers shuld start teaching or stop waiting time and money Administration: A female student’s freedom is completely under her school’s control. Girls get their mails checked, very unfair and the author urges the teachers to ask their own conscience about how unequal and unfree this is. “Give me liberty or death.” Students: Most don’t know why they are getting an education or what it is. Bc of this and their oppressive environment and restrictions placed on them by their families, none of them contribute anything to society even after they graduate. Female students and social movements : have not united with males to engage in movements for any issue. Shows their inability to help each other. Female students and the new tide of thought: New thoughts are not encouraged or introduced rather arouse the indignant condemnation of teachers and administrators A woman Soldier’s Own Story, Xie Bingying: She refuses to marry based on there being no love and not matching ideals. She tells her father than your view of marriage is feudal and times are different now, a man and woman must experience emotional progress, only then can they reach the goal called marriage. There is a friendship stage and then a romantic stage. Over view of how young women began to think for themselves and had the courage to stand up for themselves and their happiness. They could think for themselves and defend their ideas. Parents think schools are bad for their kids since It did the opposite of what they thought it would. This article shows how parents were still stubborn about tradition and disregarded their daughters as humans with emotions and thoughts and rather tried to enforce tradition and the old mindset on them. She contemplated suicide cuz it was one quick moment of pain compared to a life time of anguish Women returning from the front line come back with the goal to change society they have been “baptized” by revolution. In many places after the 1911 rev women’s liberation movements and societies had died out but women with freedom mind still remained. Families worked together to imprison free women - Fed 25 reading Wartime Women Li, Echos of Chongwing : A xiajing Woman : The attacks by the Japanese caused hatred amongst them by the local ppl who suffered from deaths of relatives and friends, this hatred fueled the resistance. Her father had passed away. Recurring theme, the need of men to stay safe. “For our safety we had to stay with the two brothers. To me, it meant that I had to satisfy the older brother’s sexual needs against my will, to endure a painful existence for the sake of my mother and my younger brother.” Later when they reached their place, they got married and her new husband got her a job as an elementary school teacher. Continuing theme of ill treating wives and treating them like property. The husband who had now become a tax collector and made money did not respond when the wife reached out to him regarding their daughter’s illness, she eventually died. They were displaced and could never go back to their home town, war had ruined their lives. Talks about refugee experience. A Yuhua Textile factory worker, Ye Qing bi : His father also passed away when he was young. Working in the factory was like being in the military, everything was to happen at a set time and no communication was allowed. The textile factories basically owned them through their necessities. Even on off days they required written permission from the RD to go outside the factory compounds. The factory would not pay them citing that their food and the bed was using up their pay. When he fell sick and asked for a leave of absence, not only did they refuse they said he had not worked enough to pay for his meals and room. He had to pay to leave. It was almost as if he was trapped. Factories exploited desperate workers, working them to the bones and them squeezing them out of money. They took advantage of the war time circumstances and really did not help anyone other than themselves, despite working in the factory was part of the war effort. Talks about being a worker during the wartime A Woman of the Songji Experimental Zone, Gao Zhonxian : Orphan at ten, similar to the others mentioned above, as they all had to fend for themselves and take up the family burden at young ages. Large scale textile factory opened, provided employment as prices soared bc of the influx of refugees. The refugees brought with them new styles of food and fashion. The experimental zone was lively and prosperous bc of the factory. They had an assembly and flag ceremony every morning, where they would be updated about current situations. They had a 2 hour lunch and nap break. And worked 8 hrs compared to the no break 12 hr shift mentioned above. They made money because they did not use the dormitory or eat at the factory, they took the rice given to share with their fam, which helped them survive. The experimental zone had established a farm, a medical clinic, a school for female workers and a school for refugee girls. All workers received free medical treatment in the clinic, which was unheard of outside the experimental zone. Built a public library. There were many wartime activities (parades and such). Main reason for the experimental zone was to provide economic support for the people which inturn kept the national economy going. After the war the experimental zone was dismantled and transferred over to local authorities. Corrupt local officials took everything they could and sold them and pocketed the money. Themes: Corruption, Textile factories providing some sort of economic support, influx of refugee which made local lives harder. Dooling : ( 81-177) Chen Xuezhao She wrote a book on the collaboration of a land reform brigade with members of a village peasant association to eradicate the lingering influence of reactionary local land owners. Around 1957 she was branded as a “rightist” and was stripped of ccp party membership. ( Theme of new women problems) , she was subject to public struggle sessions, demotions and loss of salary, and a series of humiliating work assignments. The essentials and Ambience of life : Despite life being monotonous and having no such thing as fashion at the base, some young ppl, particularly girls, tilt the visors of their hats a little, just to show their individuality. Girls keeon on displaying their individuality wore colorful scarves for a while. In her opinion, men and women are more beautiful when they are natural and not decorating themselves with cosmetics and such She criticizes the import of Japanese sugar, since money is flowing to the enemies, “Fighting without construction is insufficient.” Life at the base as carefree and they lived in caves. There was no theft or worry of superstition. Life at the base was fulfilling bc of its purity and light. There was good leadership and political views were in harmony with social lives. Theme: So far its visible that people had to adjust to strict protocols during war era especially in camps and everyone did their part, enthusiastic about New China. Crossing the Tong-PU Railroad – She brings up new china again, when the 9 year old boy’s grandpa said they stopped sending him to school cuz the school used Japanese books, she told the kid you can go back in the future and learn from Chinese textbooks. The revolutionary army was a proud one, they did not hurt the locals or plunder them. They were enthusiastic about New China and were diligent. “The Eight Route Army is such a fine army. With their strict discipline and their love for ordinary fold, these soldiers represent a whole generation of marvelous Chinese youths!” Wrote about the life at base camp to spread the word, the good word. Xie Bingyinh- She was jailed for not accepting the invitation for Pu Yi’s welcome rally. She opposed the Qing dynasty and everything they represented. The Girl Umeko- Comfort woman Umeko believed in makeup as long as it was out of ones love for beauty not when used to gratify men. *THEME : She was brought back to life after a friend told her to fight, fight for her father, her grandmother and her husband who had been killed in the war. People often sought vengeance for loved ones. They had this fire burning in their hearts, fueled by pain and anguish from losing loved ones, which could only be satisfied with winning the war, and whatever little they did for the war effort made them feel good about themselves as they felt like they were taking a part in handing out justice. The Japanese were developing anti war sentiments from within bc of their barbaric behavior towards the Chinese. When she and her to be husband defected to the Chinese side, they did it for true freedom and peace between China and Japan, not to help China win over Japan in war triggered by egos and in which Japan became a barbaric plunderer. Yang Jiang – Taught and wrote plays that were massively successful. Forging the truth poked fun at the short comings of the May 4 associations. Translated foreign work Was a victim of political persecution during the cultural rev. Was punished by having to clean toilers where she previously taught. THEME: Like the other woman, if their publications did not align with the ccp’s and ideology they would be persecuted and punished with humiliating tasks. Women were targeted just because they were women, the old traditions had a far reaching hand. Forging the truth- Wanru talks back to her father (Shift from blind obedience to becoming rebellious young girls) Xiangfu says that it was advantageous for women to be free and equal back when it first started, but these days freedom and equality don’t pay for themselves. Her dad says how can men and women be equal when women still bear the responsibility of pregnancy and child rearing? He says that if the husband turns out bad, who’s to blame but blind love? And as for freedom he cares more about financial security for her daughter, but is it right for her to control her even if it is for her own well being? National State Making and War (1928 : 1949) The new woman and the modern girl. rd Writing women in modern china (feb 23 reading): Yang Gang League of left wing writers would travel from village to village to raise public awareness. Yang Gang – Born in an affluent family, headed by tradition dad who went through the examinations. Founding 2member of the Beijing Branch of left wing writers. Became editor of L’Impartial, in Hong Kong she was involved in anti-japanese resistance Her book “Daughter” chronicle’s a young woman’s struggle against the dominant sexual and class politics of the society she inhabits. She held positions at the ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of propaganda until her suicide in1957, reasons being unclear. She wanted to abort her baby. Lao Li and his wife were arrested and jailed their baby along with them, the baby died. When she went to the us in 1951 to attend lectures, she came across racism and she had never seen one racial group command another to do its menial labor. She was shocked by it. She was being accompanied by her white friend, and doing through the south she recalls feeling constantly under attack by the blacks “ I could not inhabit their space , nor they could inhabit mine.” Any space people mixed were divided into black and white. In the mixed meeting the idea of revolution was brought up. To make change, lasting change, to go to the root of a problem and fix it, revolution was called upon. As seen in countries around the world. Uniting people was the way to start the revolution, in china women started to get together and publish their thoughts Bai Wei : Supporter of the late qing reforms. Women’s third class was prioritized very little, almost as if women and third class were synonyms. Two prominent stories from the hospital, first a wife gets called back by her husband even though she has not recovered. The second one, is of the woman who was constantly beaten and left with only one set of clothes. She tried to get a job secretly twice and both times her husband found out and gave her a beating. From another story at the hospital, women were not really cared for at the hospitals or by their families. The mother of the wife, sent the younger daughter to spend the night at the hotel with the older daughter’s husband so they would still be connected to the cash tree the husband was. Women were still treated and used like property by their parents. The doctors didn’t tell her what they were removing. The attendant says to her maid, “Since she doesn’t have a man, who in this hospital is going to pay her bills” indicating that society still looked at women dependent upon men for their needs. Lu Lihua, School principal: The father was sad that he had two girls and this caused him to look down on his wife. The wife and the husbands unmarried sisters farmed to support themselves and the family bc the family store business was declining. In the speeches she heard, she recalls they emphasized, “Chinese people should organize themselves and be patriotic in order to over throw feudalism, Japanese imperialism and Chinese Warlords. She went on to open her won school, but had trouble getting loans since Chinese land was not secure and loan on them was 1/10 of the land value where as if bought with foreign concessions, loan would have been of the land value. This upset her especially as she was suffering for being patriotic. Eventually she persevered and soon gained a reputation enough to attract fair loans. She set up the first Chinese basketball team. The girls school system was were uniting Chinese people came into being, most the movement organized were carried out by students. She was very successful and even after being driven out of her school, her knitting shop was doing well until the govt nationalized everything and then she was assigned to work at a factory. The theme here is that if she had a supportive man in her life she would not have faced to much trouble, women were still victimized and a single women running a successful school attracted criticism and trouble. People still criticized women when they worked outside their house. She says “ as soon as I started my school, I realized it was hard to be a woman.” The agony lu experienced shows vividly the dilemma of the new woman.


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