Log in

No account? Create an account
led astray

January 2013

Powered by LiveJournal.com

China; part san (3)

I am and have always been fascinated by gender, sex, and sexuality.  No different was my thought in China, but it is an even touchier subject there.  America, or at least Euro-America, was started up by some pretty prude people.  The ammount of sexual repression in China is worse.  They went from seperate to equal without much discussion or what we in the west call, "liberation."  So it's not quite taboo, but no one really talks about it, especially to foreigners.  That didn't stop me from asking.  The general sense that I got was a sort of don't ask, don't tell vibe.  It doesn't seem to be illegal to be openly homosexual, but neither can they marry.  Women are expected to participate in the job market, but there is still, "women's work."  But get this, they have a percentage (22%) in the People's Congress.  The number of female representatives cannot go below 22%.  I don't think that's a mistake a la affirmative action (which has its good points too).  After centuries of being discounted from anything involving power, women are struggling not politically, but socially, to be percieved as legitimate heirs to power.  Politically they have equal status granted them from the Party.  

Interesting sociology note: men and umbrellas.  There is an umbrella culture.  People use them not to keep rain off, but to keep sun off.  They are used with amazing frequency.  Everywhere I went.  It is not suprising then to see many fashionable variations in beautiful colors, painted, cute, lacy, sparkley.  The note here being that men have no qualms whatsoever about using umbrellas that in the US we could consider very feminine.  Pink, lace, hearts and flowers, they don't care.  And no one thinks twice about it.  The blazing sun is off their heads and that is that.  Men in the US would rather be fried to a crisp for the most part.

More to come.


*nod* I see asian people around here with umbrellas all the time. My first (American) thought is "How weird." and my next (non-xenophobic) thought is "Hey, that's pretty smart, and kindof cool." often followed by "Oooh, neat umbrella."

Cultural norms are both nifty (how different we all can be and develop) and depressing (how easy it is to judge others by our own norms without thought to why "normal" is relative.)