.contact us |.about us
News > Lifestyle News ...
Foxy ladies
( 2003-10-16 15:40) (Shanghai Star)

Sichuan Province recently established a regulation preventing men in official positions from employing women as secretaries.

Though the regulation does not give any reason for the restriction, people reading between the lines could easily come to the conclusion that the crimes and errors of local leaders were being attributed to the women working for them as secretaries.

People have often heard of love affairs between such leaders and their young secretaries, damaging their reputations and career prospects.

Local media have taken enormous interest in the regulation. Xinhuanet, the official news website, said in an opinion piece that the regulation reminds people of an old Chinese saying: "Beauty is always evil." or hong yan huo shui.

Actually, ancient people seemingly did believe women, especially good-looking women, were not a good thing. Because such women tempted and thus ruined good men. In the stories about national decline, a woman is often blamed. There are many such stories about the "evils of beauty".

Abused scapegoat

It is said a king of the Shang Dynasty (16th century to 11th century BC) named Zhou was originally a wise ruler, but after he met Da Ji, a beautiful woman, he became indifferent to national affairs, always absent from the morning meetings with his ministers. Consequently, Shang was conquered by the Zhou Dynasty (11th century to 256 BC).

Da Ji was supposedly a so-called "fox spirit", a supernatural being of folk tradition who took the form of a beautiful woman to tempt men.

Xi Shi, one of the four most famous beauties of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), is described both as a heroine and a "fox spirit".

She was sent by the king of the Yue Kingdom to the Wu Kingdom as a gift and also as a sugar-coated bullet, since Wu had been plotting to absorb Yue.

The king of Wu fell in love with her and lost all political ambition. Later, Yue swallowed Wu. To Wu people, Xi Shi led to disaster. But to Yue, she was a heroine who sacrificed herself to save the country.

Yang Yuhuan too, a beauty with the same sublime reputation as Xi Shi, has long been thought of as a typical "evil" woman.

Most history stories say that if not for her, the flourishing period of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) would have lasted longer. But when the emperor Li Longji saw her (she was originally his daughter-in-law) tragedy began.

After stealing her from his son, the emperor "complained the night passed too quickly and never attended his morning meetings". Later, rebels instigated a war and the dynasty slid into decline. Under pressure from those who thought Yang was a major criminal, the emperor finally agreed to ask Yang to commit suicide.

This also links to another popular saying: "Beauty never has a good fate."

The famous writer Lu Xun (1881-1936) said: "I never believed that Da Ji was responsible for Yin's death, that Xi Shi led Wu into a tight corner, that Yang Yuhuan demolished Tang's peace and flourishing era. I think in a society ruled by men, it was impossible for women to have such power. Men should shoulder the responsibility for the country's fate. But the men who wrote the histories attributed the ruin of the country to women. They were invaluable men indeed!"

Despicable superior

Given the relentless accusations, Chinese women have also spoke out to complain, though their voice has not been so loud. Hua Rui was an imperial concubine of the king of the Later Shu Dynasty (934-965). When the dynasty was destroyed by the Song Dynasty (960-1279), she was captured by the emperor of the Song and won his love.

When other people abused her, calling her a devil attempting to ruin the country, she wrote a poem: "How could a woman in the palace know the king had surrendered in the field? All 140,000 soldiers threw off their armour, weren't they all men?"

"But in a society dominated by men, beautiful women are a special group, owned by men," said Yu Hai, professor of Sociology at Fudan University. "If a man succeeds, a woman is the best ornament and symbol of his power and honour. If he fails, a woman then becomes the best scapegoat and a bargaining chip in the contest for power."

The jurist Ai Xiaoming also discussed this issue in an essay. According to him, men were the authority in ancient Chinese society while women were just objects. Traditional Chinese culture defines men and women as images of mind and of nature, with mind controlling nature.

So Ai concluded a woman was always considered to be secondary to a man, with the purpose of reflecting man's superior intelligence. But how to explain man's desire for woman? Patriarchal culture suppressed such desires, so they were attributed to coming from a woman. A pretty woman was always associated with money, which was thought to be the root of any disaster.

If woman was to have a good reputation in such a society, Ai said, she would have to be ready to die to preserve her chastity. Otherwise, she would be remembered as a "fox spirit".

  Today's Top News   Top Lifestyle News
+China's debut space mission a 'complete success'
( 2003-10-16)
+Astronaut returns safely, manned space mission 'complete success'
( 2003-10-15)
+Now that's really a long-distance call!
( 2003-10-16)
+China to launch Shenzhou 6 in one or two years
( 2003-10-16)
+IT tycoon tops China's 2003 richest list
( 2003-10-16)
+Morbid obesity, difficulty breathing, drowsiness
( 2003-10-16)
+Feeding tube removed from comatose woman at center of long-running legal battle
( 2003-10-16)
+85-year-old Calif. man indicted on US sex crimes
( 2003-10-16)
+Kournikova may end tennis career
( 2003-10-16)
+Father accused of raping girl who apparently killed herself
( 2003-10-16)
  Go to Another Section  
  Article Tools  
        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved