Sexist virtue classes raise moral quandaries
Published: Jul 31, 2020 08:08 PM

Illustrations: Xia Qing/GT

"If I didn't learn traditional culture, I might have gotten gastric cancer." This recent remark was made by a girl who participated in a now banned summer camp of traditional Chinese culture in Qufu, East China's Shandong Province, hometown of Confucius. It raised real controversy. There are private courses on traditional culture and so-called "female virtue" in China promising to teach traditional Chinese culture. But in fact they promote feudal ethical codes such as "women should totally obey their husbands." Many of such courses have been banned in China. But shockingly there are still new ones coming out. Such courses not only harm younger generation, but also hinder gender equality. Promoting excellent traditional culture is of great benefits. However, the prerequisite for reaping benefits from traditional culture is to assimilate its essence. To label cultural dross "culture" is actually "anti-culture." Traditional culture has its eternal charm, but we can only make the best use of it when activating its good sides.