How is gender constructed in Asia: Case of China and Japan Essay
People have been discriminated against in different ways either based on their race, religion, age and gender among other prejudice forms. Gender issues are one discriminatory factor that has been witnessed across all civilizations as they reflect how males and females perceive each other. For decades, women in Asia have had to submit to their fellow men in almost all aspects of their lives both politically, socially as well as economically. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, Chinese and Japanese traditions and their societies have changed drastically. This is attributed to the influence of the western culture on their people which they have really tried to resist as they believe it is eroding them of their culture especially on gender and sexuality issues.
Therefore, femininity and masculinity issues were also relatively new in their societies. As the world is becoming more of a global village because of various advancements in technology that united people of different backgrounds, Japan and China have had to address the Gender inequality issues in their societies. Masculinity and femininity play an important role in shaping peoples interpersonal relationships and their personalities. “Masculinity basically talks of male issues and encompasses many things such as the various forms of masculinity, relations of diversity, division, dominance and subordination.” Femininity on the other hand addresses women issues and other related factors. During the early 19th century, Japan and China reacted differently towards modernization.
As the China formulated policies to inhibit the western influences among its people and Japan partly accepted the changes. Nowadays such changes are inevitable as gender issues cut across various sectors and impact all aspects of our lives. Since the 1980s, effort has been made in China to discuss femininity issues so that possible solutions can be drawn to help in improving their lives. Other than this equally, there has been masculinity studies ion China. “This is because it is seen that women are suffering because of their failure to discuss masculinity evidenced by the few literature on Chinese masculinity.” Chinese men are seen to be very chauvinistic as they usually place their needs before those of their women. In Japan, males were basically taught to be strong and dominate their women. Japanese women on the other side were taught to be submissive and obedient to their husbands. It was believed that the males take care of their families and the females take care of the homes.
Japanese men basically control almost all spheres of life either politically or economically. For this reason, masculinity and power is inevitable in this society. Japanese males dominate almost all stages of leadership from the highest leadership positions to the smaller rural villages. It is believed that the males are the ones who naturally head their families as well as society hence women cannot take on such roles. Real men have believed in the power and possess the power both in the military aspect as well as the corporate world where their masculinity are most seen. Japanese women for a very long time have lived under the shadows of their male by adhering to whatever principles and laws that are placed.
Thanks to modernisation, Japanese women are slowly progressing to engaging in some activities that they would have never engaged in. for instance pursuing careers such as medicine or engineering as they were though to belong to the men. Today’s’ Japanese woman is emotionally and financially free and can decide not to get married. Patriarchal marriage which was widely practised is now rare and spouses choose each other based on love. Such changes have however not been easy as they still face criticism from the older generation that they are departing from their roots. Japan is at the moment is facing population crisis and it numbers are greatly increasing and that is why more women are reluctant to have babies. As the population increases and the economy continues to decline. Today’s Japanese woman has to work extra harder in order to at least get the basic necessities moreover, live a comfortable life.
Another reason for the women preferring not to have children is that the governments as well as their male counterparts do not offer mothers the support that they need. The salaries and wages that the young people and women get are little as they are mostly employed in poorly paid casual jobs. Young women who have children in Japan usually have a rough time as they sometimes have to give up their work therefore; it becomes hard for them to afford child care. Moreover, expectant mothers cannot find work easily or even keep the jobs they have. It is reported that about 70% of expectant women end up resigning from their jobs as they know that it will be difficult for them to get promoted. Such gender related obstacles make it difficult for the Japanese women to climb the social ladder.
Of course these kinds of situations hurt the women as they always long to work and take care of their families. Despite such challenges, they are aware of such oppressions and always try fighting for their rights through the various women rights movements that address most of the issues that they face. In the olden days in Japan, families used to live as a community therefore there were always people around to offer support. But this has changed as both men and women move from the rural areas to the crowded cities where there are no relatives to give them the support they need and the husbands have to work extra harder to sustain their families. Japanese men still follow traditions as they live all the housework to their wives and rarely do they offer give any assistance.
Therefore the women are always exhausted and lonely. The Japanese men therefore have to find ways so that they are able to create balance between work and life. Japanese social workers are working towards improving family friendly policies so that men and women can be able to balance between work and life and the population crisis is helping address the gender issues faced in the society. Women in china are supposed to be submissive to their men and that is why for many generations they have never been well represented in major decision making processes in the country. “Just like the Japanese women, Chinese women roles are mainly in the home as since their husbands are considered as the sole bread winners. Masculinity was defined by marriage, family and being the head of the home.” The males are the ones who hold high positions in society such that even with the various societal changes, it is difficult to find women involved in work that are predominantly the strong hold of men such as technical work, police or army duties among other jobs.
Over 80% of political leadership in China is held by men and they are still discriminated against in the job recruitment process. In addition, men dominate the wealthy aspects of the economy which include energy, finance and internal and external security among other things. Women are therefore excluded from making vital economic reforms especially in marginalized areas. There have been several constitution amendments to improve the lives of women such as the 1982 equal rights Act where women are given same rights both politically, economically and socially. China has been a conservative country for longs and that is why Chinese men have to constantly defend their roles in society. This is because they always want to feel that they are in control and their women always remain loyal to them. That is why they still consider having sons better than daughters. With the ever increasing number of Chinese population, they government is trying to minimize the number by passing the one family one child rule.
This rule has led to many female children being aborted or end up living in orphanages as the husbands are not proud of them and there is nothing much the women can do. Boys are considered the ones who will carry on the family name, have the legal and societal right to inherit their parents’ property as well as take care of their parents as they become older. “This is because it is believed that males take on bigger and important tasks while the females undertake less important smaller tasks.” Women in China are supposed to live their lives by virtues of chastity where they act as good role models for their children as they are the ones who nurture children to follow proper ideals and principles. For this reason they were not allowed to engage themselves in any form of sexual immorality.
The modern Chinese woman is slowly being incorporated in societal activities as they are allowed to work and have proper education just as the males. Though they are becoming financially and economically free, still they are still not well represented in the political arena. In order for the government to address the gender related issues, it introduced competitive village elections where men and women are equally engaged. Chinese women both in the urban and rural areas are subjected to poverty. This is because employers are still biased on gender especially when hiring, women do not easily get access to credit like their fellow male who have better jobs and assets that are used as security that most women lack and there are uneven reforms for both men and women.
These differences trickle down to basic public services like education and health as the males are privileged to enjoy better careers than the girls. Since females are voiceless in the Chinese society, this has led to the increase in their exposure to abuse and trafficking. The 1992, Women’s law against trafficking was enacted to address such issues and must be used especially at this time w here women from less developed Chinese regions are being traded to the cities as well as the neighboring countries. Suicidal rates are the most among Chinese women as compared to the men because they see this as the only way out of the oppressive situations they find themselves in. Other masculinity issues in china and Japan When addressing gender issues, wives and girls were subordinate to the men because of gender and sons and other young males were subordinate to their superiors because of their age.
There were cases where homosexuality issues were seen in the society and these issues had to be addresses as they brought shame to the victims and the society and that is why such people are excluded from the society. If such incidents took place as a result of rape, the criminals of such cases needed to be punished according to the societal practices as such actions degraded a person’s gender. Japanese people also look down on homosexuals but they are always fighting for equal treatment through organisations like OCCUR a Tokyo based gay and lesbian organisation. Solutions to gender issues in China and Japan Both the Chinese and Japanese governments need to increase women participation in political matters and other administrative forms and they can do this by setting a ratio that will make more women to be included. Moreover, there ought to be controls that limit the inequality that lead to divisions in access to health care and education.
This will only be possible if the community is sensitized of the negative impact of the gender discrimination in the society so that people are able to change their ways. Research on gender issues should be unbiased so that it can assist in formulating good policies that addresses these issues. The governments should ensure that the Labour and land laws are not discriminatory. Legal reforms are therefore needed to further the gender equality law provisions and create an enabling environment to reduce gender issues as well as specify the roles and responsibilities of public officials so that they can exercise their duties in equitable ways thus being an example to other members of the society. Conclusion The modern Japanese and Chinese man have evolved intellectually as well as improved their interpersonal skills in the way they perceive different forms of diversity.
This is enabling the society to slowly accept the roles women can play and the things they can accomplish if they are given a chance. Though the elders in these societies play as they still focus on the need of preserving their original traditions, they need to be told why people nowadays act the way they do so that they cannot pass their judgments harshly. It is important to study the different genders so that people are aware of how they influence each others lives. Furthermore, the human body regardless of its gender does shape our cultural-psychological beings.