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The changing values of women in China

By StanLi ( Updated: 2014-06-17 11:11

Writing is becoming a very good way for me to gather my thoughts and focus my mind on issues which at first seem straight forward but may become interesting as deeper meanings start to unravel. That is why I am trying my hand on a topic unfamiliar to me – women’s issues, in the hope that it will lead to something unexpected and useful.

I am aware of the many issues facing single and well-educated women in China through the news and forum discussion on China Daily and I would like to share some thoughts I gathered on this matter from a friend of mine in Shenzhen who also happened to fall under this category.

Chinese women in general are born with a natural ability to see and deal with things that are refined and delicate. That is why Chinese mothers and housewives tend to be very fussy and particular with how the home is maintained, how the children should dress, how a husband should treat her, so on and so forth.

Modern Chinese women acquired new knowledge and learned to think and analyze critically from education, and they also used these new skills to hone their natural ability to discern and to see minute differences in everything. As they strengthen their ability to be sophisticated and precise, some of them unknowingly also become even more fussy and often find themselves at odds with many things in life.

My guess is, perhaps Chinese women, or maybe the men as well, need to develop a bigger heart if they need to consolidate all this new knowledge and values. You can think of it this way, imagine your heart as your living room and as you assimilate new knowledge, you begin to fill up your living room with more items. As you keep on filling up the room, you will reach a stage when you can’t make a move in your room without knocking over something, and that is when you need a bigger room or mind in order to consolidate all these new knowledge. I guess this enlargement of the hearts and minds is what we call character development. There may come a time when women need to be magnanimous in order to be at peace with their new found identity.

However, I can’t say that women are all petty and self indulgent, because I know that women at a young age are more willing to do volunteer work and community services than boys. So why can’t this ability to sympathize and willingness to sacrifice for others be turned into magnanimity, which is a value more often associated with males?

Having said all this, I am aware that women often grouse over issues like unfair salaries and career advancement, sexual harassment and childcare hassles. Unfair salary and career advancement can be partially harmonized after the women concerned got married because chances are, their husbands will also receive disproportionately higher salaries compared to the husbands’ female colleagues. Sexual harassment can be prevented through education and punishment but childcare and the role of motherhood is the toughest one to solve, in my opinion. It is as though going against nature to make women behave more like men; when yin complements yang, we will have harmonious progress but when yin competes or contradicts with yang, we may have a very difficult situation, we need to be extra creative in designing a solution.

Anyway, it is vital for single ladies not to let negativity entrap them. When people become sophisticated, they tend to also become very proud; with too much pride you can’t grow and give love, and if you don’t give love, you can’t receive love. For starters, they should not let the negativity entrap and isolate themselves because isolation will only make them even more egocentric. So join clubs, do sports and community services to keep their energy moving and connected to others.

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