Selected Works of Lu Hsun - Vol. 3

By Hsun Lu; Hsien-yi Yang et al. | Go to book overview

ON THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN

Confucius said: "Only women and low-class men are hard to keep. If you let them close to you, they show no respect. If you keep them at a distance, they bear a grudge."* Here women and low-class men are lumped together, but I wonder whether he included his mother or not. The later orthodox Confucians always treated their mothers with a certain respect, at least on the surface. But even so, females who are mothers in China are despised by all the men who are not their sons.

After the 1911 Revolution, in order to have her share of political power, the celebrated Miss Shen Pei-chen** kicked over a guard at the entrance to parliament. Personally, I have a strong suspicion that he fell down himself, and that if one of us men had kicked him he would have kicked back several times; but this is one advantage of being a woman. A number of married ladies today can also stand shoulder-to-shoulder with important personages, and be photographed with them on docks or in meeting-halls. Or they may step to the front of a steamboat or aeroplane before its first trip, and break a bottle of wine over it (this may be the prerogative of unmarried ladies -- I am not sure of the details). This is another advantage of being a woman. Apart from this,

____________________
*
A quotation from the Analects.
**
A native of Hangchow, who organized the Women's Northern Expeditionary Corps at the time of the 1911 Revolution, and later became one of Yuan Shih-kai's advisers.

-339-

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