I took my favorite bike path yesterday and ascended the steep hill to a place where I like to get coffee and a light meal, and look out over the ridges at an altitude of 800 meters. It was hazy, so you won't get any pictures, but the restaurant's female staff gave me some time to reflect on something I see a lot of: the sacrificed daughter.
There's a lot of romantic orientalization of the Chinese family and the Chinese family firm. Susan Greenhalgh's powerful paper De-Orientalizing the Chinese Family Firm discusses how the Chinese family firm deploys the myth of "working for the family" when in fact the distribution of income is inequitable and skewed away from the females who labor at the bottom. This seems to be common throughout Taiwan -- the island's business and government institutions rely on female labor and female creativity but the ones who harvest the credit are all powerful males at the top, just another example of the way Taiwan society is organized on the mafia principle....
News reports on the phenomenon of young unmarried women in Taiwan seldom get to the heart of the matter. As I wrote before:
In many of the articles I have read the unmarried young woman is typically portrayed as a sort of Taipei Career Girl independent, with her own income. However, authors above note that the reality is more prosaic -- the epidemic of non-marriage is silent and rural, the class that doesn't appear interviewed by researchers or in the media. Foreign brides aren't filling a gap but displacing Taiwanese women at the bottom of the ladder.There's another group of unmarried females, though, who have vanished. Vanished they are, yet I know several: the daughter sacrificed at home to take care of her parents or work in their business, growing older year by year, without marriage prospects or much of a possibility to establish an independent life, desperately yearning for escape. You see her on Saturday at gatherings with friends, but not in the evening. She has to be home, Dad is sick and needs her. She can't stay out overnight, making it difficult to find and keep a boyfriend. Or perhaps the family business closes at 9 and she works in it every night, like one daughter I know. These women, like the lower class women displaced by foreign wives, don't appear in newspaper reports full of hot, well-dressed Taipei babes in command of their incomes and their lives, but they are out there.
The cost of displays of filial piety is too high...
- Taiwan says China has no plans for a South China Sea ADIZ
- Haha. Is Taiwan's government more open that the US government?
- Japan said to be mulling law similar to Taiwan Relations Act.
- Lin Jia-lung -- please, small office space!
- Growth reaches three-year high in 4Q, forecast strong for 2014
- Southern Taiwan college ordered to halt enrollments due to debt.
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