Gender Discriminations during Chinese Spring Festival

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Events , Global Goals , Leadership , Supporters in Action

By: Yunmei Li Lizzie, In-Country Consultant, China

When I went back home this year for Chinese Spring Festival, I paid much attention on the patriarchal culture which discriminates girls generally. Even though the customs and situations differ from one another in China, undeniably, girls are still at a disadvantage in traditional view.

Earlier days I did a research on feminism’s development and girls living situation in China. I am happy to see we have come a long way and achieved a lot, but also worried about the unbalanced development between regions. While we are appealing to the female leadership training in big cities, there are still girls suffering from family and conservative concept in rural places. We have abandoned some rigorous customs, but still cannot ignore those existing rooted view that men are superior to women

The following are three typical cases during Chinese Spring Festival.

  1. No seat for girl at meals

Every year during Chinese Spring Festival, there are a number of online articles and posts complaining about girls have no seat at table but have to eat in the kitchen or outside the house when having meals, even though they make all the dishes and food. In 2016, a famous article titled “Freaking awesome daughter-in-law went back to her husband hometown and overturned the table of dishes and food she made when told there was no seat for her” even caused a hot discussion online. In my hometown, it is often to see the picture in which men sit around the table, talking loudly and drinking alcohol, while women are busy in the kitchen, or eat at somewhere else with her bowl and chopsticks.

  1. Not allowed to go out

There are particular customs to pay a New Year’s visit or call during Chinese Spring Festival. In my hometown, the first day in lunar year is often viewed as a prediction of the whole year. I was told not to go out on the first day since childhood, but I didn’t realize it is an outcome of gender discrimination until this year – girls are seen as bad luck. If a family have a girl guest come visit, they will be angry and disappointed. However, if the guest is a boy, they will host him with happiness warm heart, because they believe the boy will bring them good luck for the whole year.

  1. Not allowed to come back home at New Year’s Eve when married

Before the One-child Policy, Chinese generally believe that raising a daughter is just raising a kid for others – girls cannot carry on the family name, cannot be written in clan pedigree, cannot support parents if she has brothers, cannot bury her parents, even cannot be forgiven if her parents pass away in her house. As a saying goes ‘Married daughter is like spilled water’: married daughter is not a family member anymore. Therefore, in New Year’s Eve, a day that supposed to be a family reunion, girls are not allowed to come back home, but have to go to her husband’s family.

These kinds of phenomenon mostly appear at blocked rural areas as a part of the truth of Chinese girls’ lives. But the good news is, girls themselves are protesting and fighting against gender discriminations, and the phenomenon is getting increasing attention from the society and media.

Chinavisual.com

春节期间的性别歧视现象

春节回家期间,我留心观察了身边和网络上比较明显的几个“重男轻女”现象。虽然各个地区境况不同,风俗各异,但不可否认的是,女孩在传统观念中仍被歧视。

早些时候我调查了一下中国女权发展的情况,喜于在很多方面我们已取得了进步,又忧于地区发展不均,我们在大城市中呼吁培养女性领导力的时候,仍有些女孩在饱受着的折磨。我们鄙弃了一些习俗,让大多数女孩得到了教育和社会关注,却无法忽视那些仍然存在根深蒂固的男尊女卑思想。

以下是几个春节期间的典型案例。

一、吃饭不让上桌

每年到春节期间都会爆出很多跟男朋友/老公回婆家过年,做了一桌子菜最后却不让上桌吃饭,只能去厨房或者外面吃的网文,2016年的一个网帖《霸气媳妇回农村:光干活不让上桌掀翻了自己做的一桌子菜》更是被热议。在我家乡也经常会看到男人们坐了一大桌子,喝酒喧哗,女人们在厨房忙来忙去,或是端着碗筷凑到一边吃的画面。

二、初一不能出门

春节期间的拜年有很多讲究。在我的家乡,初一被视为新年的影子,人们相信初一经历什么,全年都会经历什么。我从小就被告知大年初一不能出门,直到今年才意识到这是男尊女卑的风俗——女孩被视为噩运,如果家里迎来一个女孩拜年,主人会很不高兴,但如果来的是个男孩,主人就会高高兴兴地迎接招待,因为他会带来好运和福气。

三、结婚后不能在家过除夕

在独生子女政策以前,中国人普遍认为养女儿就是帮别人家养孩子,女孩不能传宗接代,不能上族谱,有兄弟的情况下不允许赡养父母,甚至给父母送终。“嫁出去的女儿泼出去的水”,等她结婚之后就不再是“自家人”了,因此除夕这个团圆的日子,女孩只能跟着自己的丈夫去婆家。

这些现象大多出现在条件闭塞、思想传统的地区,但好消息是,女孩不仅自身在反抗性别歧视,这种现象也越来越得到社会和媒体的关注。

Chinavisual.com