第20期:中国女权主义 (Feminism in China)

Also available on most major podcast platforms (e.g. Apple Podcasts / Google Podcasts / CastBox / etc.).

In this episode, since it’s International Women’s Day, I thought I’d interview my mum about the feminist movement in China and what it meant for her.

Key Vocab: 女权主义 (nǚquán zhǔyì),男女平等 (nánnǚ píngděng),同工同酬 (Tónggōngtóngchóu),女权运动 (Nǚquán yùndòng)

哈喽,大家好。我是Kaycee。

今天是国际妇女节。在中国,至少在我还小的时候,我们通常管这个节日叫做“三八妇女节”, 因为三月八号嘛。直到今天之前我都以为International Women’s Day 是西方的节日,三八妇女节是中国的节日。没想到居然是同一个节日。

Anyway,在今天这个节日中,我们来聊一聊女权主义吧。

Kaycee:首先我又请回我的妈妈,Summer。欢迎Summer。谢谢你今天能来跟我们分享你对女权主义的观点。在这个年代,女权主义仍然是一个有争议的话题。我挺好奇的是,二十六年前,你年轻的时候,生活在一种什么环境下呢?你先给我们描述一下吧。

Summer:那个时候在中国我们没有手机,没有电脑,而且呢,有一首歌叫900万自行车在北京,就是我们那个时候的一个描述。我们上班的时候都是骑着自行车去上班,或者是坐公共汽车。有小轿车。那种小轿车呢,只有是,公司的呀,工厂的呀,没有私人的。

Kaycee:那首歌是《9 Million Bicycles in Beijing》,是吧。我小的时候很爱听这首歌。那好,那我们回到正题。首先,在你眼里,女权主义是什么呢 ?你是怎么把它定义的?

Summer:女权主义,要从两个方面去思考。一个呢是在社会上。女权主义是男女平等。同工同酬。另外一方面呢,就是在家庭方面。第一,家庭方面,婚姻自由。然后呢,是丈夫和妻子在家里有着同等的对家庭事务的决定权力。三呢,是对待儿女要平等。但实际上呢,我觉得,由于男女在生理、 心里、等,各方面,存在着差异,要想真正意义上做到男女平等,我个人认为,是不太可能的。

Kaycee:好,我接受你的个人观点。那我们再回到过去吧。女权运动在英国最早是19世纪,1803年开始的。在中国是从哪个年代开始有这个想法的呢?

Summer:从目前的研究文献中看到,中国女权主义的运动开始于19世纪末,20世纪初。比西方社会整整迟到了一百年。而中国的女权运动呢,最开始是由男性进步知识分子提倡的。他们提倡男女平等、婚姻自由、妇女受教育、等等一些进步的观念。

Summer: 到了毛泽东时代,新中国的男女平等,同工同酬、婚姻自主、等法律政策,女性不再是父亲、丈夫、儿子、等男性角色的依附。

Kaycee:所以,你出生的时候,女权主义已经广泛化了。那你年轻的时候有感受到这个女权运动的影响力吗?

Summer:那当然了,在我小的时候,我接受了和男生同等的教育。但是呢,在我的家里,我还是感受到了,男孩女孩的不同。因为呢,我有一个哥哥。从我的奶奶,父母的观念里,或者是在他们生活的重心,是以我哥哥为为重心。那给我的感觉就是,我哥哥对于他们比我对于他们更重要。

Kaycee:那你觉得我们现在达到男女平等了吗?

Summer:女人无论在社会还是家庭中的地位都提高了一大步。但是还是像我原来说的那样,男女要想得到真正意义上的平等是不可能的。

Kaycee:那,你看,我们至今还在讨论女权主义这个话题,你觉得我们还需要继续下去吗?

Summer:现在社会呢,女人的家庭、社会地位提高了。但是我觉得女人的生活压力更大了。怎样把女人从繁重的生活压力中解放出来,是我们要深入研究的问题。

Kaycee: 再次谢谢我的妈妈,Summer老师,来跟我们分享她对女权主义的知识和想法。那么听众朋友们,你对女权主义又有什么想法或贡献呢?不妨来我的网站上来分享一下。 好吧,这周就先到这里,我们下周见。

English translation (as translated by Amber Godsland)

Hello, hi everyone, I’m Kaycee.

Today is “International Women’s Day“. In China, at least when I was younger, we often called this day “3.8 Women’s Day” because it took place on the 8th of March. Until today I always thought International Women’s Day was a Western celebration, and 3.8 Women’s Day was a Chinese one. I didn’t know that it was the same celebration.


Anyway, in today’s show we are going to talk about feminism. 

Kaycee: First, I want to introduce my mum, Summer. Welcome Summer.


Thank you for coming today to share your opinions on feminism. This is still a controversial topic in this era. I’m very curious, twenty-six years ago, when you were young, what kind of environment did you live in? Why don’t you describe it for us first?


Summer: In China at that time, we didn’t have phones or computers and there was a song called “Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing”, which was a description of our time then. We all rode bicycles to work, or took public buses, or cars. They belonged to companies or factories, not privately owned.  


Kaycee: That song “Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing”, right? When I was young, I loved that song. Okay, let’s return to the main topic. First, in your eyes, what is feminism? How do you define it?


Summer: When we think about feminism, there are two sides. One is the societal side. Feminism is equality between men and women. Equal work, equal pay. The other side is the familial aspect. Firstly, there must be freedom in marriage. Then, husband and wife having equal power over household decisions. Thirdly, treating children equally, regardless of their gender. In reality, I think, due to men and women’s many differences, biologically, psychologically etc., I personally think that true equality between men and women is impossible.


Kaycee: Okay, I accept your opinion. So, let’s go back to the past. In the U.K. the earliest feminist movement began in the nineteenth century, it started in 1803. In China, did this way of thinking start in that period too? 

Summer: From current research documents, feminist movement in China started at the end of the nineteenth century, the beginning of the twentieth century. A whole one-hundred years later compared to Western society.  As for the feminist movement in China, it was first promoted by progressive male intellectuals. They encouraged various progressive ideas, such as, equality between men and women, freedom of marriage, education for women, etc..

Summer: Coming to Mao Zedong’s era, with new China’s gender equality, equal work, equal pay, freedom of marriage and other legal policies, women were no longer dependent on male roles such as their fathers, husbands, sons, etc..


Kaycee: So, when you were born, feminism had already spread. Were you influenced by this feminist movement when you were younger?


Summer: Of course. When I was younger, I received the same level of education as boys. But, in my family, I still felt that there was a difference between boys and girls. Because I had an older brother, my brother was the centre of my grandmother and my parent’s attention. My brother was the focus. This made me feel that my parents thought my brother was more important than me.  

Kaycee: So, do you think we have achieved gender equality now?


Summer: Women’s status no matter in society or in the family has improved a great deal. But like I said before, true equality between men and women isn’t possible.


Kaycee: So, you see, we are still discussing the topic of feminism today, do you think we need to continue this conversation? 

Summer: In today’s society, women’s status at home and in society has improved. But I think there is still a lot of pressure on women. What we need to study in-depth is how to liberate women from such pressures. 

Kaycee: Thanks again to my mum, Miss Summer, for sharing your knowledge and thoughts on feminism. So, listeners, what opinions and input do you have regarding feminism? You are welcome to share your thoughts on the website. Okay, we’ll finish here this week. See you next week. 

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