Essay on The And Of Mao Era Feminists

Essay on The And Of Mao Era Feminists

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The details of this transformation are further considered by Rofel. One paragraph quotes interviews with daughters of Mao-era feminists who deliberate over how their mothers ‘sought to grapple with the effects of state policies in their lives’ but how presently their own desires centred around material effects such as home furnishings, moneymaking and sexuality. She identifies that the passions described by these women seemed to lack the need for specificity, simply the ability to desire was enough for them. Rofel divulges details of the snowballing effects of a more self-centred society: additionally predicating that this switch to desire has created an exclusionary atmosphere in China, in which ‘unacceptable’ versions of desire lead to the marginalisation of ‘those deemed incapable of proper desire’. This divide seems a classic symptom of capitalism: where one prospers another suffers, and where one way of life is deemed desirable, another is shunned. In fact, this resulting disparity seems to perpetuate desire and aspiration, as Rofel states ‘the initial reforms had contradictory effects: enhanced sense of new possibilities yet increased frustrations with new social inequalities.’ Indeed, though the two are ‘contradictory’, they both result in an increased desire. Those who saw the social inequalities aspire to be higher on the scale of public stature, and those who sensed the ‘new possibilities’ additionally long to reach them.
The earlier works of Potter, Hsu and Sun, however, describe a China in which personal emotions have less of an influential role in society. Potter, for example, identifies a want in 1980s China to emphasise societal roles and obligations in the place of emotion. She argues the sentimental displays are...


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...h sit fittingly with those of Potter, in that he identifies the main role of marriage as being functional and not necessarily based on romantic love. ‘The central concern’ he says, ‘with reference to marriage was not ‘love’… but non-romantic qualifications such as ability, money, health’ etcetera. He moreover notes that marriage often served the purpose of pleasing ones parents (filial piety). He goes further than Potter, however, stating that the principal factor for parents’ appeasement was the provision of an ‘heir’. In his discussion of ‘pao’ (which appears to refer to reciprocity) Hsu seems to imply that Chinese society is dominated by this concept that actions are conducted with the anticipation of a returning action, and the belief that everyone should in some way pay back the people they receive from. This constitutes the main ideal of ‘propriety’ in China.

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