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Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (Asian Arguments) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 10. April 2014

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  • Taschenbuch: 224 Seiten
  • Verlag: Zed Books Ltd; Auflage: New. (10. April 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1780329210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780329215
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,8 x 1,8 x 21,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 135.803 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

Mehr über den Autor

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"Making the most of her experience as a journalist and her training in sociology, Leta Hong Fincher draws on previous breakthrough works in Chinese gender studies and her own interviews, while proving equally at home summarizing statistics and telling poignant tales of individual experience. The result is an engagingly written, thought-provoking work on a crucially important but often overlooked subject. Essential reading." - Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know "In lively and accessible prose, Hong Fincher demonstrates conclusively that urban professional women have been disproportionately disadvantaged during China's breakneck economic development and largest wealth accumulation in human history. Hong Fincher exhaustively cites media, government statistics, her own interviews, and her Weibo survey results to substantiate the fact that gender inequality in China has reappeared with a vengeance and shows no signs of abating any time soon." - Rebecca E. Karl, New York University "Cast aside what you think you know about the 'empowered' women of China today. Modern Chinese women are under pressure in a society that often locks them out of social equality, property rights, and legal protection from domestic abuse. This is the reality that China scholar Leta Hong Fincher puts forward in her study of resurgent gender inequality in China. Her book is a well-researched and riveting read, including a number of gripping personal accounts straight from China's so-called 'leftover women.' For any curious observer of China or women's issues, this is one to read." - Kristie Lu Stout, anchor/correspondent, CNN International "A brilliant, compelling, and innovative study of contemporary China and one of the most important sociological inquiries into the political economy of gender. Leta Hong Fincher's richly detailed research and critical analysis of gender politics in Leftover Women provide an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the key socio-economic transformations in post-socialist China." - Lydia H. Liu, Columbia University, co-editor of The Birth of Chinese Feminism

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Leta Hong Fincher is an award-winning former journalist who has published in a number of magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times. She is completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at Tsinghua University.

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Definitely can recommend the book to anyone who is interested in China. One of the 10 must read books.

Usually books about China deal with the economy or the political situation, but few book, like the "left over women" concentrate on the private issues, to help you understand the motives and action of people, but also the government's involvement.

Western media often reports about the women by simply echoing what is written in the state media. This book also explains the other side and what I like best, the "why".

If something is repeated often enough, it does become true. I hope it does not. This sentence my not make sense now to you, but you know what I mean, after you read it.
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20 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
From LSE Review of Books 28. Mai 2014
Von Yang Shen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Leta Hong Fincher was a journalist before completing a PhD in Sociology at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. This book is based on her PhD project on the under-researched connections between leftover women, China’s property market, and gender inequality. Fincher has previously written articles discussing similar issues for the New York Times, CNN, and Ms. Magazine, through which these topics have already gained some popularity. With an abundance of interview quotes and contemporaneous media reports, this book is quite readable and has the potential to attract a wide audience.

According to Fincher, the term ‘leftover woman’ in China ‘is widely used to describe an urban, professional female in her late twenties or older who is still single’ (p.2). In Chapter 1, Fincher examines the leftover women discourse mediated through ‘state media news reports, surveys, columns, cartoons and television shows’ (p.15), and argues that two reasons account for the state promoting the leftover women discourse: one is to maintain social stability in the context of the persisting sex ratio imbalance – China has 32million more men aged under 20 than women – that prevents a lot of men from finding wives; the other is to upgrade the ‘quality’ of the populace by urging well-educated women to marry. It is an insightful observation indeed that the state serves as a latent driver, disseminating this stigmatizing ‘leftover’ women discourse, which arguably has a profound impact on unmarried women over the age of 25.

Chapter 2 considers how Chinese women have been ‘shut out of arguably the biggest accumulation of residential real-estate wealth in history’ because the pressure they experience in trying to avoid becoming ‘leftover’ means that they often ‘give up too much bargaining power within the marriage’ (p.12). Chapter 3 further deals with how ‘many parents discriminate against their own daughters by buying expensive homes for their sons only’, leading to a gendered wealth gap in house buying.

The book is written in an accessible style, allowing general readers access to the subject. It also adopts an inclusive approach in that it covers a wide range of issues in relation to women’s property rights, including the rights of LGBT groups in Chapter 3 and Chapter 6, and the relationship between domestic abuse and women’s lack of property rights in Chapter 5. These issues are rarely discussed together when considering gender inequality in China, so the author is to be congratulated for this effort.

However, I did find that in places the evidence provided is insufficient to support the arguments presented. For example, readers are introduced to a female informant who has a university degree but left her job because ‘she wanted to make herself a more attractive marriage candidate, less intimidating to suitors’. She is quoted as saying “my most important duty is to find a good man to marry” (p.39). The author analyses the case by noting that ‘the state media campaign regarding “leftover” women has prompted some highly educated women to quit their jobs even before they get married’ (p.39). Aside from questioning how rare this case is, I find a lack of coherence between the analysis and the quotes as the informant did not explicitly suggest that she was influenced by the ‘leftover’ discourse.

The imprecision in analysis can also be identified in Chapter 3. The author reveals that the informant Shang got married because she believed that she was getting older. The author links her anxiety with ‘the “leftover” women age threshold’ (p.107). Again, the informant did not specify the connection between her anxiety and the prescribed age of ‘leftover’ women advocated by the state media. By adopting the ‘leftover’ women discourse in a one-size-fits-all fashion, it can be argued that the author not only exaggerates the influence that the ‘leftover’ discourse imposes on women, but also ignores the intricate complexity of the reasons for their anxiety. It is not difficult to recognise that unmarried women’s anxiety around their increasing age existed before the emergence of the ‘leftover’ women discourse, and furthermore that it is seen in other countries where the ‘leftover’ women discourse does not exist.

The author cites a remarkable amount of online sources to support her argument, showing engagement with a variety of sources. However Fincher doesn’t acknowledge that they may not be completely trustworthy. In Chapter 2, the author cites the 2012 Horizon and iFeng.com Report, noting that women’s names were endorsed on only 30 per cent of marital home deals (p.46). First, there are perhaps questions as to the credibility of the report, as it did not suggest how many informants were involved, nor how the survey was conducted. Furthermore, it is a pity that the author did not mention the trend indicated by the report, of a 10.2% increase in the number of women’s names on home deeds compared to the time prior to 2006, which can be interpreted as women’s rising power in property rights.

Although there are thought-provoking points throughout, I find some of the findings intrinsically contradictory. For instance, in Chapter 3, Fincher reports that a daughter’s parents ‘often decline to help buy a home’ for their daughter (p.78). The author implies that it is because the parents consider buying a home to be man’s responsibility (p.83). However, the author finds out that many women contribute their whole savings to help their partners to buy homes without putting their names on the deeds. The daughters’ behaviour is in contrast to their parents’ perception that men should be the home provider. Considering the author’s finding that a daughter has a sense of filial piety to her parents (p.82), I cannot help but wonder how the parents view their daughters’ behaviour of contributing their savings without being entitled to the property? Does it lead to any intergenerational conflicts? The book unfortunately does not discuss this.

Finally, the use of the word ‘resurgence’ is somewhat problematic in this context. As suggested in the Introduction, ‘this book argues that the state-sponsored media campaign about “leftover” women is part of a broad resurgence of gender inequality in post-socialist China’ (p.3). Resurgence here implies that gender equality was once achieved. I consider gender equality to have never been achieved and indeed that gender inequality has been persistent throughout China’s history (see Liu, Croll and Stacey for further reading). In Chapter 4, Fincher conceptualises ‘resurgence’ by tracing back to the Song dynasty (960-1279), upholding that women at that time ‘had substantial, independent ownership and control of property’ (p.110). She then compares the women in the Song Dynasty to those in contemporary China, claiming that ‘Chinese women’s property rights have steadily eroded in the post-socialist, rural-to-urban transformation’ (p.131). The way in which she compares the women in contemporary China with the women one thousand years ago is problematic; although the author quotes historian Bernhardt, it seems that she disregards Bernhardt’s conclusion that ‘there was no “half-share law” in the Song and indeed could not have been. Instead, the principles of patrilineal succession applied, and women enjoyed inheritance rights only by default, in the absence of brothers and sons.’ (p.8). Chapter 4 leaves itself open to critiques of reductionism by merely discussing property rights without considering the corresponding social economic context.

The dominant discourse among the Chinese media and public currently focuses on how women strategise to add their names to the deeds without paying for or paying very little for property. This book engineers to reverse the abovementioned discourse by discussing how women are disadvantaged in the real estate market. Unfortunately, by intertwining the ‘leftover women’ discourse and real estate market, the author’s intention to create a novel approach to demonstrate how women are disadvantaged in contemporary China fails to meet its purpose due to its reductionist approach, the not well-grounded evidence, and the insufficiently supported arguments.

Above all, this book looks likely to be controversial. Nonetheless it has the potential to be a bestseller due to the timeliness of the topic, Fincher’s eye-catching arguments, and the already established reputation of the author, regardless of how selective the views encapsulated in this book may be. Once again, it is worth saying that the author should be recognised for bringing together the rarely-discussed issues of women’s property rights, the rights of LGBT groups, and domestic abuse.
19 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Leftover content? 24. April 2014
Von E. Sander - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I heard about its planned publication many months ago. Ever since living in China for 2 years I have been reading Leta's articles and I have been very interested in the subject of female rights and 'leftover women' in particular (also since I married what Chinese would consider a 'leftover woman').

Maybe because of my high expectations the book did not fully satisfy. The biggest problem is probably that I find the title somewhat misleading. Having read a lot about leftover women already I did not find an awful lot of new information in Leta's book I was not yet aware of. At the same time however, she goes somewhat off-topic in various chapters and covers a few areas which are not 100% related to the books title. Emancipation under Mao, female property rights in the SOng and Ming dynasties, domestic violence, female activism and homosexuality are all very interesting topics, but in this book it almost feels like they have been included as filler material ... leftover content to beef things up so to speak.

Now, considering that the book isn't that long to begin with and that 25% of the Kindle version consists of sources and for an e-book mostly unnecessary index, the actual pages that cover 'leftover women' and gender inequality are less than you might expect. And even then the text is quite repetitive at times. As such, the main content could basically have been covered in a long essay instead of a book.
I bought the e-book mid April for $9,99 but strange enough the price has now been raised to $13,99 which I would consider too high for what you get (not to mention the ridiculous price for a hardcover version).

Leta draws her opinions from various interviews and microblog messages she received. Although I don't doubt that the problems she describes actually exist, I wonder if they are as common as she described. We are not given any information about how the respondents were recruited and what questions were asked. The question therefore remains if her respondents are a representative sample or if the way she asked people to respond has resulted in automatic selection of 'problem cases'. When I discussed the various issues described in the book with my wife she could not name a single person among her friends or family that had comparable experiences.

Although I would fully agree with Leta's criticism towards the Chnese government regarding their manipulation of citizens in their twenties I am doubtful about her sometimes judgemental approach towards century old Chinese customs. Of course, as westerners we would disagree with favouring boys over girls, but this is something that is engrained in the Chinese culture and should not simply be dismissed as backward behaviour. In the west emancipation also took time.

Having said all of this I still recommend the book to anybody that is interested in female rights in China and hasn't read too much about the subject yet. Although sometimes quoting substantially from other sources Leta has a nice writing style and the main subject about the way the government, matchmakers and real estate agencies manipulate a whole society is fascinating to say the least.
24 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Narrow and simplistic arguments 27. April 2014
Von Zee - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
As a Chinese native who has lived in China all her life, I do not recall any concerted efforts by state media or the government to rush women into marriage. Even if there are a few articles that pressure shengnu to marry (as the author cites in the book), everyone in China knows not to trust state media. Chinese state media has very little (if any) credibility especially among the urban population.

The pressure to marry early has been widespread in Chinese society for centuries if not dynasties. Look at East Asia (Japan and Korea, for example), you would notice very similar things happening. It's not some "government propaganda" in China that led to the pressure on women to marry early. Furthermore, you notice the same phenomenon in other cultures on other continents as well, where the word "shengnu" and propaganda machines don't exist.

I also found the phrase "resurgence of gender inequality" problematic. The author compares today's China with the Song dynasty, when more women held property. Yes, Chinese women today may have less independence in terms of property, but what about the other (and I would argue more important) aspects of gender equality such as access to education and jobs and equal pay for equal work?

Gender inequality is rampant in today's China, but I find the author's arguments and evidence either too narrow or too simplistic.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
very good book on a serious problem in Contemporary CHINA 1. Oktober 2014
Von lagree - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
very good book on a serious problem in Contemporary CHINA .provides a very pertinent insight on the ongoing changes concerning gender relations.
Fascinating and revealing 29. Dezember 2014
Von Christine Novak - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
While China is changing by the minute, this survey gives insight into the deep cultural roots that keep women second class citizens even when they hold up half the sky. Really worthwhile for anyone interested in women's history, cultural diversity, or China today.
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