Being a woman writer in a male-dominated society: Bing Xin
Bing Xin (1900-1999) was a woman of many “firsts” in modern Chinese society.
Looking back at her childhood, you can tell that her particular educational background was
very different from traditional education. Bing Xin lived in a very active cultural and
intellectual environment and by no means limited by the traditional Confucian culture; from
an early age, she could read some of the most famous novels from the Occident.
Nevertheless, she never lacked a more conventional education. Bing Xin was one of the first
women that could access a higher level of university education. She went to the University of
Beijing that recently just opened for women too. She was also one of the first women that
traveled to study more about English literature, taking a master’s degree in British Literature
at Wellesley College. One of the most significant achievements that she managed to obtain
has been to become one of the most famous Chinese women writers as a woman. In the past,
in classic Chinese literature, rarely was there a poem written by a woman. Still, in modern
society, with the new possibilities given to them and the new instruction levels, they have
access to, more and more women started to dominate the literature world and are the primary
buyers of books.
Even today, Chinese women still are fighting for their rights in a society strongly influenced
by Confucianism and mostly male-dominated. The feminist movement is still active in China,
even if the CCP is still trying to hide all the traces deleting all the accounts on Weibo in 2018.
A few years ago, abuse was considered grounds for divorce, and only in 2005, a law about
harassment against women was added as one of their rights. However, sexual harassment is
still not criminally liable. Until 2019 in China, it was still permitted for employers to write
“men preferred” or “men only” in their job advertisements. In the same year, the CCP banned
companies from asking women seeking jobs about their childbearing and marriage plans or
requiring applicants to take pregnancy tests. Since Bing Xin’s childhood has passed one
century, how many more years have to pass until China could be a safer place for women to
Author: Erica Sansone