Talk centering on women’s virtues evokes heated discussions

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/22 19:28:39

Recently at Jiujiang University in East China's Jiangxi Province, a lecture on "How to be a model woman in the new era" provoked heated discussions. The talk was given by Ding Xuan, a lecturer from the China Women's Development Foundation. It was reported that during the lecture, Ding revealed that women are responsible for bringing luck to their husband's families by discreetly adhering to the proclaimed moral virtues of women.

Ding has been invited by colleges, enterprises and governmental organizations to give a number of talks on women's virtues and other related topics. However, some of her opinions are considered by netizens as too extreme to be acceptable.

For instance, she argues that "wearing revealing clothes is vulgar and would invite sexual insults" and "marriages without the intervening of match-makers would bring humiliation to the forefathers."

Many netizens hold that these creeds preached by the lecturer are obsolete and irrational. They hold that female students are fully entitled to lead their way of life including how they dress. Moreover, the concept of self-reliance and ceaseless striving should be advocated to women instead. 

As for me, the starting point of the lecture is benign, as it was meant to transmit and disseminate the essence of traditional Chinese culture to female students, including self-esteem and moral integrity. Its aim was to enable students to equip themselves with necessary values and abilities in order to lead a happy life on campus and in the future. However, we shouldn't advocate outdated values in an increasingly open and diverse society.

The development of culture itself calls for inclusiveness and diversification. Any action attempting to limit the progress of a culture would only accelerate the regeneration and digression from it.

The vitality of culture lies in the blending and merging of different cultural factors, which is also testified by the historical evolution of the Chinese traditional culture.

Under the irreversible trend of economic and cultural globalization, the young generation is motivated to keep an open mind and remain adaptive to the times. In this sense, they would not benefit from the traditional Chinese culture if they merely adhered to the doctrines of traditional female virtues and refused to make any changes. Cultural confidence does not mean cultural narcissism. 

We must take a respectful yet objective attitude toward traditional Chinese culture, taking its essence and discarding its dregs.

Catherine Ma, a freelancer based in Beijing


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