Log in

Thu, Dec. 15th, 2005, 11:27 pm

I'm writing a paper on Chinese women's experiences in the 1940-50's Communist take over. I've found primary sources that are all positive about the changes made by the Communist party. The women who've written these sources all praise the liberation and freedom they received as a result of the changes made by the Communists. However, most of my secondary sources point out many negative effects of the Communist party. For example, even though the Land Reform promised land to women, many women still did not actually get to hold land in their name (so claims the secondary source.)

My question is this: Why can't I find primary sources that talk about the negative aspects for women during the Communist reforms? Do you know of any I could use? Or, is it possible that the women who had negative experiences would not have access to record their experiences? Perhaps they were the illiterate, etc,?

Thanks :)

Sat, Feb. 18th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)

I just wrote a paper on women within the CCP during the time of its formation (from 1921 through 1949/50). Even though these women were members of the party they only enjoyed such high standing because of their marriages to influential men (such as Li Da, Mao Dun and Mao Tse Tung). Also, during this time, most of the political activity was undertaken by elite, educated women. Although they fought hard for change for women, not much filtered out to the rural areas--this was due in large part to langauge barriers (many dialects) and lack of education for women. (see "Engendering the Chinese Revolution" Christina Kelley Gilmartin, Univ. of California press, 1995.)

You might check out some of Ding Ling's writings too. Especially "thoughts on March 8th". She wrote it in the late 1930's after the CCP Long March. It is an essay aimed at the unequal way women are treated within the CCP itself. She was treated extremely harshly after it was published, but as far as I am aware the party didn't expel her despite the critisism.

If you're looking for a later time period to contrast women's views, check out "Personal Voices-Chinese Women in the 1980's" Emily Honig and Gail Herschatter, Stanford 1988) This has views of women (and men) who hold a variety of opinions regarding political situations of the time.

Good luck

Sat, Feb. 18th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)

Also "Women in Asia: Restoring Women to History" Barbara Ramusack and Sharon Seivers, Indiana U. 1999.--this has some interesting thoughts too. Though half of the book is devoted to India.

Another good source is the movie "Small Happiness"... I can't remember the director's name, but she was an American who grew up in China. Has some very good info regarding women's experiences in Rural china during the 1980's after the One Child policy and birth restrictions, as well as what it was like to get married etc... there may have been a Marriage Act--but those women were still bound by the "old feudal" family ties (confucious ideals of filial piety)...

Hope some of this helps.