In all the theatrical representations that I saw in China there was not a single hero: it's the heroines who rise up in rebellion but also who give a dramatic turn to events because, if the situation remains in their hands it deteriorates and the party has to intervene to set things straight. Chinese women are rebels, a "half of the sky" but constantly moving "against the stream" of the sky. They represent a force -- probably an essential force -- in the cultural revolution that is now under way.
It is impossible to equate their problems with ours. It is also impossible to expect from them, as they emerge from feudalism and Confucianism, the solution to the difficulties of Occidental women wedged in by monotheism and capitalism. But with Chinese women as a starting point, we can examine the weight of a metaphysical tradition and a mode of production which have functioned in this part of the world because of the complicity of our language or our dead silence. We can give a political dimension to our protest: the importance of women's awakening for the structures of a socialist society, its essentially international role because it eats away at the foundations of Occidentalism. We can try to write, to pursue this inquiry "à la chinoise": against what is and with everything that here, today, is moving "against the stream."
Translated by Elaine Marks
From "Les chinoises à 'contre-courant'" [Chinese women against the tide] in Tel quel, Autumn 1974.