women as an issue

Reading Dear Sour Aaron today brought a lot of thoughts I’ve had lately to a bit of an edge. I am pleased to see that some of the people that I appreciate and read can manage to have a rational viewpoint despite personal hardships, and definite kudos to Sour Bob on that one. I think he’s trying to do something really honorable. I just hope the Aaron in question manages to get it at some point too.

Women, and girls on their way to becoming women seem to have all kinds of issues. I don’t think coming-of-age is easier on men, but being a woman I am a little more sensitive to the kinds of things that young girls run into. Some other folks I like lots try to provide a source of support for girls/women through www.sheroescentral.com.

In Shanghai I get frustrated by women who seem out to capture a man, and then run his life. Granted, Shanghai is a bit of a twist on the typical China paradigm of the man as the center of the household. The man is still the head of the household, but that includes all the chores while handing over his paycheck to his wife at the end of the month. Still, raising these women to become the seeming she-devils they can be, who are very picky and showy (at least in terms of showing off their income), is no easy task.

I have a fourth grader whose mother has put her on a diet. Parenting isn’t really my cup of tea since I don’t have any children, but I do teach them, and I know that they grow lots. This girl is far from overweight, and her mother is already putting her on a diet. If she doesn’t lose 2kg over the next couple of months, then she loses her book allowance.

This brought to mind a question. I brought an illustration of a sad girl to school and asked my different students what they would do if this fictional girl (a classmate) wouldn’t eat. The first day, most high school students wouldn’t do anything. Fifth grade girls would talk to her, and the boys would find a girl to talk to her. Fourth graders would try to tell her jokes. After more prodding, I found that many of the high school young women would not eat alongside her in some sort of solidarity, since it must be a diet. Only the fifth graders would ask her what was wrong. I wish I worked with junior high school so I could see where the response turns from showing concern into silence.

Am I the only one thinking that sounds messed up?

There was a girl at the end of last year, also a fourth grader (11 years old), who couldn’t take her life and jumped into a nearby river, successfully committing suicide. Teachers here humiliate students who are bad, and it’s usually the boys (commonly referred to as monkeys or kindergarteners). When it turns on the girls, who seem a lot more fragile comparatively, their self-confidence is stripped away. Usually they avoid talking for the greater part of the day.

I know body issues happen all over the place. Most of my high school class back in 1995 fasted a few months before the prom, meanwhile I tried to get out of going. My dancing school classmates fought bouts of fainting. Self-image issues run rampant.

Of late, I have been watching a tv show in these parts called Farewell Vancouver, which actually deals with domestic violence. It surprised me in a tv show here in China, especially since it outlines a woman’s inability to get a divorce from an abusive husband. It’s most certainly a spin on most tv shows where life in China is idyllic. Almost the entire show takes place in Vancouver, and the characters are all trying to be permanent residents. I haven’t seen the end, so I don’t know if the woman stuck in the marriage manages to get a divorce or not (there are 2 more episodes for me to watch).

It was interesting to see the show draw parallels of a man who finally figures out what he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t see how a woman could remain in an abusive relationship, and he ends up as an assistant to the defending lawyer in a domestic abuse case. Through the wife’s testimony, he starts to see what he couldn’t understand. I thought this was a phenomenal thing to see on tv here. I’ll have to ask around to see what some of the folks here actually think of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *