Women in Communist China Research Papers
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While it is easy to belabor the oppression of women in China, one must look to the monumental strides that a Communist nation was able to take in the last 50 years. An unparalleled determination rested in the Communists’ goal for answering the “woman question”. The strides that were taken economically have contributed to the betterment of many Chinese women.
Communist China’s intentions were to provide women with economic equalization, which shook the foundation of Chinese society. The male-dominated household was being challenged to recognize the legitimate other half. Remembering that girls were considered “useless”, brings to light the true strides that have advanced Chinese society in the form of legal recognition.
The intra-familial relations have not evolved along the lines of recognition of the individuality and authenticity of women. For example, the barbaric practice of foot binding, which rendered a woman powerless to be an economic contributor. And even beyond that, the twist in idealizing something so demeaning to women demonstrated that China was not ready to release their cultural bonds on women. Arranged marriages offered nothing for women in as far as emotional release. The more estranged a husband and wife were, the more beneficial for the husbands mother. Wealthy husbands were allowed concubines while the poor men merely had affairs.
This is not meant to imply that the state and the household are monolithic agents in an over determined system of patriarchy. Although male-domination persists, socialist ideology raised the consciousness of women to the existence of their subordinate social valuation in the following ways:
- Women did not receive as many work points as men for comparable labor in the agricultural commune.
- Women were encouraged to contribute more to farm work so that men could pursue more important forms of production.
- Women were recruited for political activities but then expected to fulfill their domestic responsibilities and serve the patriarchal interests of the state.
In each case there were women who attempted to challenge the privileged status of men. But then there were also women enlisted by the party-state to reorient the terms of equality under socialism.