History shows progress

Since I’m going to step into the totally new study area of gender leisure, especially it will somehow related to China’s situation, today I’d like to look into the history and see what is going on in china now.

Ancient Chinese female: no leisure or less leisure class

During 2400 years feudal society in which the view that men are superior to women was valued, Chinese female are oppressed and enslaved by political power, man’s power and religious authority. Specifically, first, working through all their lives deprived female’s leisure time. Females were born to be related to making textile which was really a time-consuming handicraft. Besides, females also should take part in the agricultural labor such as farming, raising livestock. What’s more, all the housework were also female’s responsibility, like cooking, washing, taking care of children, husband and parents. In this way, no more time can be spared to do leisure activities.

Second, Confucian culture had a strict discipline on female to protect the dominant status of the male, with is called “the three obediences and the four virtues”. Besides mentally oppression, foot-binding can be seen as physical oppression. All these made female become lack of independence personality and spiritual pursue.

Lifestyle of modern female

After feudal society collapsed, economic status, political status and status in family have changed a lot. Modern consciences have been improved because 1) their cultural quality has been improved which directly lead to a significant change of female’s view about themselves. Female’s reading and studying were encouraged so social interaction, culture recreation become popular within female. 2) Technology free the female in some extant and sharing the homework between husband and wives also helps women to gain more leisure time.

Thanks to the development, female get some important roles in modern leisure. One the one hand, they are the main body of consumption. For the leisure consumption, 1) reading and studying is not just a positive life attitude, it is a leisure attitude too. 2) Sport leisure used to be men’s privilege, now, certain sports are popular among female. Young ladies like aerobics and elder ladies prefer walking, Qi Gong, Tai Ji and square dance. What’s more, volleyball, Ping-Pong, bowling, tennis, golf, mountain climbing, and water sports are more and more popular among women. 3) Clothes consumption is always women’s favorite type of consumption and kind of leisure. 4) Enjoying the art, art collection or art performance. 5) Tourism. On the other hand, female have done great jobs in engaging in leisure business. Beauty industry, indoor beautification, clothing industry and tourism industry all dominated by woman (maybe just dominated in numbers).


After long time development, what we get now is a great progress. However, gender equality still have a long way to go. It is a reflection of our social, economic and cultural system. Rome wasn’t  built in a day, but we should always be optimistic.






2 thoughts on “History shows progress

  1. The title of this blog post gets to a very important issue: is non-work time leisure — for women in China? As we talked about in class on September 12, women (in the US, at least) have a second shift. So even if they aren’t at their paid job after hours, they most likely are doing housework. Maybe non-work does not equal leisure for women. There are studies in the US (and I expect internationally) which demonstrate the women have less leisure time than men (on average). Your post points out that women’s leisure varies by age. That is another important issue to pursue.


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