'Believe in Sister Phoenix', it only took 100 years

13:32, March 10, 2010      

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One century after a German socialist first tabled the idea of an annual International Women's Day, in Copenhagen, what progress has women's suffrage made?

At the time, "equal rights, equal opportunities, progress for all" did not include the fairer sex. Chinese women walked around in three-inch golden lotus shoes and Victorian ladies in England wore whalebone corsets that caused them to faint.

Most would agree it's better today, but let's examine further. And since the Internet is made in our image, how does it portray women?

Among the most popular domestic search queries is the unlikely heroine, Luo Yufeng, a former supermarket cashier. She became famous after listing her exacting requirements for a prospective husband: A Peking or Tsinghua University graduate with "global vision", but not from the northeast

"Sister Phoenix" is no oil painting, nor well educated (although she believes she is a greater genius than Albert Einstein) and therefore became an object of scorn, the inference being she stands no chance of finding a boyfriend, let alone a "good catch".

But she had the last laugh. Her Net notoriety got her on game shows and she turned down a number of adequately qualified suitors. She is a successful blogger and supporters say her attitude ushers in a new era of women's power - "Believe in Sister Phoenix, it makes you confident", is the new slogan.

Among the other top search queries on Baidu is a similar story, about a Taiwan middle-school student called Pei Pei, whose 11 requirements for a boyfriend include: At least 170 cm tall, not too thin, able to afford watches, shoes and bags

Her blog has had more than 10 million hits and the latest consensus seems to be that a good-looking, well-educated young lady should have high expectations of a future mate.

Another popular story doing the rounds is about a female boss who treats her male employees as sex slaves. Frankly, 182502827@qq.com's story on Sina's "Lady Forum" seems to be a wish fulfilment fantasy, but no one doubts there are rich and powerful women out there who can hook and cast off lovers, as well as any man.

Finally, there is "Beast Beast Gate", the example of model Zhai Ling, whose ex posted a video of them making love. One can only imagine that if something similar was done at the turn of the 20th century her reputation would have been ruined. Today, it's the making of a star.

While these are lighthearted examples from popular culture, they are all of emancipated women.

Sister Phoenix is like Susan Boyle, demonstrating there's more to life than looks if you've got talent; Pei Pei is an ordinary high school student with the expectations of a princess. A businesswoman proves the fairer sex can be just as corrupt as men by offering her male secretary a BMW in return for sexual services. The final example is a kind of modern morality tale: Bad guy is hunted down by human flesh search engine, blameless woman signs movie contract.

Baidu's top two search queries for men, by the way, were Brother Sharp (a good-looking beggar) and Lu "Golden Whistle" Jun, previously thought to be a model referee, now being investigated for fixing matches.

And it only took 100 years.

Source: China Daily(By Jules Quartly)
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