Thursday, March 19, 2015

News and Commentaries, 15-03-19

by Song Shaopeng, lecturer at Renmin University’s Marxism Studies

1, The structural conflicts within women as an “individual” and a “family member” is represented externally as the tension between their roles in and outside the family. Since  ordinary women have come to the Women’s Morality Club to look for help, it has become a key research concept for academic women to study women’s double burden: career and family. While modern women are striving in two spheres, in and out of the family, their biggest pain is the emotional anxiety and unresolved dissatisfaction because of the fundamentally different life principles in and outside of family. The guiding principle outside of the family is the modern gender equality concept that “both men and women are the same”; however, inside the family, the operational principal is that “men and women are different”. There is gendered division of housework, endless devotion yet lack of acknowledgment.

2, The reason behind the conflicts of these two principles is actually the modern male-centered structural system arrangement. If we can say that the gendered inequality exists discreetly in public spheres, then we can say that this kind of inequality is explicitly clear in private spheres. For example, there is unequal distribution of the responsibility of nurturing. There is also double standard in sexual orders (men’s sexual freedom and women’s sexual chastity), and even domestic violence. Facing explicit gender equality, the solution that these Women’s Morality Clubs offer is to maintain existing order with women’s submission and tolerance. The benefits to women is their happiness. No matter how ridiculous their husbands are, either cheating on them during feeding or even rape, in any case it is the wife’s mistake and they can’t divorce. They need to accept that “it is your fortune that you are not divorced by your husband”.
2, 两种原则冲突的背后,实质是现代社会男性中心的制度安排。若说现代社会中两性不平等在公领域中经常需要以隐性方式存在,但是这种不平等在私领域中却经常是以赤裸裸地方式展现。比如,照料养育责任的不公平分配、性秩序中的双重标准(男人的性自由与女人的性贞洁)、甚至家庭暴力。面对赤裸裸的性别不平等,女德班的解决方法是用女人的顺从和忍耐来维持既存秩序,给予的回报是女人个人的福报。不管丈夫是何等荒唐,哺乳期出轨亦或是犯强奸罪,总之都是妻子的错,且不能离婚。最终要接受“不被丈夫休,已是自己的福气”。

3, Under market economy, if the problem of creating needs can’t be solved, there will be all kinds of supply emerging. We can even predict that in the future there is going to a large number of legal existence of professional therapists and marriage counsellors. Compared to the solution offered by Women’s Morality Clubs, these kinds of seemingly modern proposal actually still attribute women’s problem to women themselves, and treat women themselves as “problems”.


4, If we temporarily ignore other functions of family, like the emotional function and the moral function, we could see in historical practices that the functional values of families, especially in the very special function of reproduction has always been maintained by the country or Capital. It is just that in reality this function is carried out by women. This is the essence and structural reason of women as a “family member”.
4, 如果我们暂时不考虑家庭的其他功能,如情感功能、道德功能等则可发现,在历史实践中,家庭因其功能性价值——特别是在再生产方面的特定功能——被国家/资本继续保留着,只是这种特定功能事实上由妇女承担着。这是妇女作为“家庭人”的实质内容和结构性原因。

5, When men swimming freely through the private and public spheres without any resistance, women have to tolerate the fundamental squeeze and turmoil due to conflicts emerging from these two spheres. This is the soil for the existence of Women’s Morality Clubs. On one hand this is also the reason that the country supports the basic national policy of gender equality; while on the other hand they advocate the concepts of “kind mothers”, “filial daughters” and “submissive wives”. It is because that these two principles are useful for two spheres, the public and the private.  
5, 当男性能游刃有余地穿梭于公私两个领域,而女性,却不得不承受两个领域两种冲突性原则的挤压和煎熬。这既是女德班存在的土壤,也是国家一方面支持男女平等基本国策,另一方面提倡“慈母”、“孝女”、“贤妻”的原因,因为这两个原则分别适用公私两个不同的领域。

6, The conflicts of roles women face between being an “individual” and a “family member” is not women’s problem at all. It is rather a structural problem. The structural oppression can’t be solved by women. It also can’t be solved by demanding women’s strong resiliency or high morality or asking them to “perfectly” get used to the principal conflicts between the private and the public. This in itself is oppression. However, when we think about the structural system arrangement of society, we need to seriously consider the perspective of gender equality and fully take the social characteristics of reproduction responsibility into consideration.
6, 女性面临的“个体人”与“家庭人”的角色冲突,并不是妇女个人的问题,而是结构性问题。结构性压迫不能依靠妇女个人去解决,更不能通过召唤妇女个人强大的承受力或是崇高的德性,去“完美”适应公私领域两种支配原则的冲突,这本身就是一种压迫。而是,我们在思考社会基本制度安排时,必须带入性别平等的视角,充分考虑再生产职责的社会性特征。

7, From the perspective of personal morality, Confucius highlights on personal cultivation. It stresses the cultivation of morality in social interactions. Father (mother) be kind and son (daughter) be filial, siblings respect each other, friends loyal, couples respectful, be frugal and hardworking, and teach the younger generation with good morality, be loving towards everyone. This kind of moral values can’t be fully negated at all. It is also useful in a market economy that it is guided on the principles of selfish personal gains. However, this kind of moral values can’t be applied only on women and submit to men and the country’s interests. What’s more important is that morality can’t be the flag for oppression and exploitation.

7, 从私德角度来讲,儒家强调个人修身,注重在各种社会交往中培养自己的德性,父(母)慈子(女)孝、兄弟姊妹间悌敬、朋友间守信、夫妻间互相尊敬、勤俭持家、以德义廉逊教导子女、亲仁泛爱众,作为一种伦理价值不能全盘否定。在以个人为核心的自私自利的市场社会,也是一剂警世良药。但是,这剂良药不能只用于女子,而且服从于男性/国家之利益。更重要的是,美德不能成为压迫和剥削的遮羞布。

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