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Lecture about 'female virtues' provokes heated backlash

(People's Daily Online)    16:31, May 25, 2017

A lecture delivered at Jiujiang University in Jiangxi province has been showered with criticism after its thesis - that a woman's best dowry is her chastity - became public.

Ding Xuan, a female lecturer from the China Women’s Development Foundation, suggested that women are responsible for bringing luck to their husband’s family by embodying traditional values and virtues. Ding also shared several other controversial opinions, such as that “wearing revealing clothing leads to sexual assault.”

Ding quoted several lines from a well-known ancient Chinese historical masterpiece, suggesting that marriage without the intervention of matchmakers will bring shame on one's ancestors.

The controversial speech quickly went viral after an audience member posted several photos of Ding's lecture slides online. As of press time, the hashtag “GirlsBestDowryIsChastity” had garnered over 89 million page views. Many netizens and scholars denounced the lecturer's views, accusing her of misusing classics and preaching outdated norms.

“The lines Ding quoted from [the history book] were taken completely out of context. According to the original story, a woman marries her beloved king without her father’s consent, which causes her father to disown her. Instead of hating her father, the woman keeps treating him with respect. The story is about love and piety, not criticizing women for freedom of marriage,” Douzi, a well-known internet historian, wrote on Zhihu, a Chinese Q&A website.

Mainstream media outlets, including China Women’s News and Guangming Daily, also criticized Ding’s remarks, noting that intellectuals and public figures should not advocate outdated values in today's increasingly open and diverse society.

In response to the controversy, Ding insisted that girls should be chaste, adding that the remarks she made are based on her own experience.

“I think the audience misinterpreted my opinion ... my grandmother and mother taught me these beliefs, and I’ve passed them on to my daughter. I apologize if the public feels unhappy about my remarks,” Ding said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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