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张在新

John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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From the message folder: "Spinster"  

2010-06-18 11:15:08|  分类: 女性主义 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Sue: Sorry, in deleting my response (when revising it) I deleted your comments by accident.

Could you make the comments again?

 Here's my response:

Yes, prejudice against lesbians. Still remember the man who reveals Sheba's affair to the boy's parents (what's his name?)? I wonder what it would be like if he and Barbara switched roles in the movie, and the man did exactly the same things Barbara has done to Sheba. The viewers' attitudes toward deception, manipulation in the heterosexaul relationship would be different.

From Sue:

I probably said that the movie was dreadful, because Barbara is a twisted lesbian, who desires Sheba and threatens for special "friendship". Her notes look like a confession of crime. It is indicated in the movie that before Sheba, Barbara has harassed a teacher and in the movie she harasses Sheba, and at the end of the movie, she begins to show her special friendship to another woman. This series of harassment makes Barbara look like a Serial Killer!!!

 Sheba accuses Barbara of "spinster", "old virgin" and even mentions "Virginia**Woolf", poor Virginia Woolf...(i think even the music in Notes on a Scandal resembles the music of The Hours)

After the movie The Hours shows sympathy to lesbians, this movie shows its prejudice against lesbians. 

Besides, I think the horror of the movie resides in an idea that a normal woman with family, or attractive and nice would not be a lesbian. A lesbian is like Barbara, a spinster (virgin horror??Do we have some concept to refer the horror of a virgin, who is not yielded to a man???), twisted...
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06-07 21:13
       It may have some bearing on our concept of “剩女”. 

I'm not sure if your talk about the horror of a virgin has anything to do with what psychoanalysis refers to as a man's fear of taking a girl's virginity. But that may have nothing to do with a spinster. I think the idea of a spinster is a patriarchal value about a woman's yougth (also heterosexual value about passing her prime for reproduction). A girl  is verging on womanhood even if she is still "pure" when she is no longer young. Another prejudice against woman (to look at her as a commodity that should have an appealing quality with youth). Under the male gaze, she should be both young and pure (in patriarchal tradition). When a girl gets a certain age (a "spinster" age), men may think there must be something wrong with her, and very few would like to risk knowing more about her; after all, a man can, in a patriarchal society, date women, on a credit system, so to speak. He can date someone much younger than him, sort of tapping into younger men's "share" of dates (the way he may spend money beyond the present limits of his finances, on credit). But a woman can never have this (patriarchal) privilege. Women usually date older men (not younger), and they want to marry up, to better families, richer men. Seldom younger. Maybe, my point is "spinster" is a patriarchal construct. We don't have a male version of "spinster"; somehow, older may mean more experienced, if not wealthier, about a man.

From Sue:

Yes, I just wanted to know man's views toward a "spinster". Thank you.
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06-09 01:00
I wouldn't say that was my view about a "spinster"; I remember saying it was a patriarchal value. Actually, we're going to discuss the issue of age as accomplished ("Act your age") tomorrow. Probably, we'll discuss the issue of "spinster" too. I'll keep you informed if anything interesting turns up.

From 小马过河:

I'm afraid that some points of the Professor are much more like this in China, or in some conservative Oriental countries, NOT in western countries. At least some Chinese females around me, though have problems of both age and virginity, all successfully married well, both to Americans and Chinese. Some married together with their children with the ex-husband. Theories merely offer an aspect of our society, or of some group people of our society, not the whole. I still believe if we do not use theory to interpret everything, the world would be better, and we may bring more happiness to people around us. In fact, I choose to do so, though I cannot return to a mind state clear of the theories. I would offer the WAY to change some  bad situations said by the Professor, instead of reinforing them.

Some points I disagree:

1. We also have the concept of “剩男" in Chinese.

2. We do not despise an old man without a family in our neighborhood, never married. We PITY him. "Pity" is a worse response than "despise".

3. If an old man always selects young girls for dating, that's because he is suffering the "Middle-age" anxiety. He wants to deny the fact that he's getting old by doing this. By the way, the theory of "aging" cannot offer a satisfying resolution to the problem of getting old. It just shuns it.

4. If an old man is considered experienced, then there would not be so violent criticism in China againt the marriage between Professor Yang Zhenning and Weng Fan.

5. Not all love and marriage relationship are suitable for the "marketing theory". Does Professor ever heard the saying by Plato: ”爱情在本质上是一种指向弱小者的情感”?Some gentleman love and marry because they care and want to protect, not because they want to exchange.

6. Women love and marry mutually for care, not for money and higher position. They are trying to protect men's weak self of identity by praising their wealth and feats. It's a noble deed, but they don't say.
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06-09 00:57
Different opnions are fine; that's what makes this world beautiful. Thanks for your feedback.

 From 小马过河:

I guess the response may be deleted. But Professor does seem to be very proud of being a man.


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06-09 00:55
I was just trying to describe how I understood the situation with “剩女”in China. I actually texted the TV program on this issue, saying there might be a prejudice against lesbians, because all the hosts were saying was about heterosexual relationships as if nothing else existed.
I wouldn't say I'm proud of being a man (but the whole point of saying something about "spinsters" may consistitute the feeling that I was not one of them; no one would like to be one); I would just say it's unfair to treat "spinsters" the way conventional people do in this country.

 

From Sue:

回复John:我的英文水平还是有限,说一句英语居然还会有歧义,我那句的意思说,我谢谢您帮我分析了男性对“剩女”的态度,并没有指责您的观点属于patriarchal。我很清楚一个人的理论分析是基于现实大多数的考虑,未必是一个人自己的看法。您本人也许非常反对现存的对“甥女”的看法。
比如,我可能说婚姻就是要发挥它的社会经济价值,所以爱情在婚姻中可有可无,人们结婚是为获得一种身份和保障,不是单纯的情感需求。但是,这不一定是我个人对待婚姻的态度,我个人可能会非常感性的认为爱情是婚姻的一切。
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06-09 20:30
Everyone's feeling should be respected. If that's the way marriage makes you feel, then cherish it. You don't need to listen to anyone else.
The reason I mentioned "marry up" was that we actually discussed this issue in class. A few girls felt just like you, but many more would still say they wanted) to marry someone who is better educated, and makes more money. I tried to make them realize girls like that have internalized patriarchal values and they assume they are supposed to be "inferior" the way the mainstream culture wants them to think. The big problem is that a man, under most circumstances (in this country), would not want to "marry up" because he may think he is himself "up"--a double standard here. I didn't mean to diminish any girl's decision with her own life, but I just wanted to point out the predicament of it.

From 小马过河:

06-09 16:44
Yes, I agree. I over-reacted. I thank you both for sharing with me your understandings about the situation.
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06-09 18:50
It's alright.

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