There’s something a little odd about using family terms to refer to romantic relationships, but with the current popularity of Tencent’s hit show Nothing But You, about a young tennis player developing feelings for his older female manager, everyone seems to be talking about 姐弟恋, jiedi lian (Older Sister/Younger Brother Romance). Even the regular handful of Anglophone China watchers are now talking about the phenomenon of older women dating younger men, and the ‘normalisation’ of it in Chinese media. Whilst the sub-genre has proliferated over the last few years (some of the most popular include Mango TV’s A Rational life and IQiyi’s Dr Appledog’s Time, both released in 2021), shows about career-oriented women dating younger men have in fact, been a thing in contemporary Chinese storytelling since at least the middle of the last decade.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, feminism, gender, marriage, relationship, romance, SFF, society, sub-genre
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article highlighting some of China’s female science fiction writers . It is a well-known fact that women in the SF community have been heavily overlooked in China, where a hard-science-heavy tradition took root in the genre’s first ‘golden age’ of the 1950s, which in itself was a continuation of a nation-building role for sci-fi that could be traced all the way back to the beginning of the century. Although women have been active contributors to the genre since at least the 1970s, with writers such as Zhang Jing and Ji Wei, their inclination, or perceived inclination to write ‘soft science fiction’, meant they have not been as visible as male writers in previous eras. In the twenty-first century however, kēhuàn (Hanyu for sci-fi) has diversified as a genre, branching off into more character driven fiction, which integrates science with story, shifting away from works that centrally focused on science theory or concepts.
Posted in Commentary, Culture, Translation and tagged china, Chinese, culture, equality, feminism, fiction, literature, science fiction, SF, SFF, women's writing
In the first part of my Mulan article, I discussed what the Disney animation meant for the Chinese in China, as well as for global audiences; looked at the initial trailer of the new live action film and talked about what I hope to see in it. To understand Mulan’s significance as a cultural icon fully, we need to go to her origins and see how she evolved. I will focusing on two relatively recent film adaptations that have made the greatest impact around the world (China included), so we could see where Mulan is culturally, particularly in terms of her representation in cinema, just before a new major work comes out.
Posted in Culture and tagged ballet, books, china, Chinese, cinema, cross-dressing, culture, feminism, film, gender, gender politics, Hua Mulan, literature, Mulan, musical, opera, theatre, TV
Today is International Women’s Day, or more precisely International Working Women’s Day or The United Nations Women’s Rights and International Peace Day. In China, this has been major celebration of women in all fields since 1924, when the working women of Guangzhou, influenced by the international movement, started one in China, where women united and stood up for their rights across the National and Communist divide. Feminism, however has been problematic in China, after the fall of the thousand-year-old imperial patriarchy, it has taken up as the mantra of male-dominated for most of the twentieth centuries. This year, I’m going to discuss women in the driving seat in cinema, a vital medium because it’s one of the faces of China that within everyone is familiar, to a lesser or greater extent, and a very influential art form that is flourishing and evolving rapidly within China.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, culture, feminism, film, International Women's Day, women's rights
The Chinese Visual Festival is a mixed bag, documentaries, art films, first time projects and a few gems. It’s difficult for me to cover the whole festival, but I try and cover a couple of screenings each year. This year’s LGBT programme was most inviting, and having missed last year’s, it was one I was determined to attend.
Posted in Commentary and tagged avant garde, Beijing, bisexuality, china, Chinese, Chinese Visual Festival, cosplay, culture, documentary, Fan Popo, feminism, film, gender, Guangzhou, homosexuality, LGBT, queer, Shanghai, Sun Yat-Sen University, transgender, VaChina Monologues, Vagina Monologues
This weekend is International Women’s Day (8th of March). In China, it is celebrated with speeches on TV, stage shows and gifts for women from their junior loved ones. I remember presenting my mother and aunties with flowers and pictures I drew as a child. A Polish colleague once told me that in Polish tradition, females of all ages are eulogised on International Women’s Day. So both her and her daughter of five years of age, would get flowers on this day. Over here though, it is celebrated by white middle-aged men asking “when is it International Men’s Day?” all over Facebook and Twitter. So I’ve written about some strong female warriors throughout Chinese history, to remind everyone to think about how recent women’s emancipation still is, even in Britain, the land of the Suffragettes; and to also tell you that even if a civilization as patriarchal as China, there are strong female role models to be found, throughout history.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, culture, feminism, festival, history, International Women's Day, Suffragette, warrior