The Three Abundances (福壽三多), late 20th century Yangliuqing, Tianjin, Hand-colored woodblock print.
Brief written reflection:
Take a moment for a brief written reflection:
Identify some of the expectations and pressures for women identified in the documentary.
How are these expectations or pressures similar to or different for women that you know in your community?
As category: “women” and “men” defined by their “reproductive anatomy,” which is “perceived as fixed at birth.”
As practice: related to sexual desires or activities
“Female” and “male” categories that refer to the roles, behaviors, and symbols attached to anatomical sex in a particular culture.
All of these are learned, culturally variable, and defined in relation to one another (male is defined by being not female and vice versa).
These categories are also subject to change over time, to see their boundaries blurred, and even for the emergence of “third genders.”
Related to sexual desires or activities
sex- or gender- derived sexuality: whether produced biologically or culturally, sexuality consists of two constant categories:
“homosexual” as a man/male that has sex with other men/males, and
“heterosexual” refers to a man/male that has sex with women/females
“historicized” sexuality: categories of sexuality change over time, between cultures, and social groups. In other words, men/males that have sex with other men/males are only “homosexual” if that is sexuality becomes a defining characteristic of gender.
Notes on Chinese language:
In English, sex categories (man/woman) and gender categories (male/female) are marked with separate words, even though there is linguistic slippage in everyday use. By contrast, in Chinese, the distinction can be harder to see because the words (nan 男／nü 女) apply for both.
As in English, the words one uses to identify any of the above categories can represent certain assumptions about identity, gender performance, or sexuality. For example, nüsheng 女生 (“girl”) has gained in popularity for young women over funü 妇女 (“woman”), which would have been more common in the 1950s and 1960s.
How were some of the categories identified above reflected in the documentary we watched in preparation for today’s class?
In what ways are these topics then different – and perhaps complementary – to some of the topics we have looked at so far?
How does analysis of gender and sexuality intersect with – and perhaps deepen – our understanding of other categories or topics we might study?
What role does the idea of “tradition” play in connection with gender and sexuality expectation? What frictions or challenges arise? Is there any ways that tradition can be beneficial today?
What role do we see the state playing in regulating gender and sexuality practices in the documentary? How is this role similar or different from the activities of the U.S. or other Western governments that you are familiar?
Which aspects of this discussion are you most interested in pursuing further?