‘Women’s virtue’ class in China shut down after outrage over sexist instructions
The classes offered covered a range of dos and don’ts for women, and those taking the course were instructed to “talk less”, remain at the “bottom level” and cook instead of ordering food.world Updated: Dec 05, 2017 08:36 IST
Authorities have shut a “women’s virtue” class in northeastern China’s Liaoning province after a video of women being instructed to “talk less”, remain at the “bottom level” and cook instead of ordering food prompted outrage on social media.
The “classes” were offered in the town of Fushun since 2011 and covered a range of dos and don’ts for women, according to what the teachers thought was traditional Chinese culture.
The women taking the course were ordered to wake up at 4.30 am and do domestic chores for eight hours. Their performance in “class” would be closely monitored by the teachers. They were punished for wearing make-up or if they talked about their ambitions, reports said.
Run by the Fushun Traditional Cultural Research Association, the institution has at least three branches in China.
The classes continued till video footage on what was being taught surfaced last week and was picked up local and social media. In the video, an instructor tells the students that “women should talk less, do more housework and close their mouths”.
The instructor, according to the official Xinhua news agency, said “women should not strive to move upwards in society, but should always remain at the bottom level”.
The instructor, in a particularly insightful lesson, said: “If you order food delivery instead of cooking by yourself, you are disobeying rules for women,”
The Xinhua report said: “Video footage shared on microblog Sina Weibo had drawn more than 5,000 comments as Sunday, with many chastising the content.” Following the uproar, local authorities swung into action and shut down the class.
According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the institution was run by a person who had been jailed for murder.
“I didn’t expect it would be like this – that I would be treated as even worse than a prisoner,” a 47-year-old woman attending the classes told the newspaper.
“What I find worse is that they instil the idea that men are superior to women and our teachers keep repeating that the most important task for a woman is to reproduce, that she cannot say ‘no’ to her husband and divorce is unacceptable.”