TV Show Triggers Chinese Virginity Debate
(Link): TV Show Triggers Chinese Virginity Debate by Y. Zhao
“He asked me whether I am a virgin,” says Qiu Yingying, bursting into tears.
She has just found out her relationship with boyfriend Ying Qin is over, after he found out she had had sex in the past.
The scene from China’s biggest soap opera right now, Ode to Joy, has triggered much discussion on whether virginity is still a prized asset for women in modern China.
Ode to Joy, now in its second season, tells the stories of five beautiful women from different walks of life who live in the same floor of an apartment complex in Shanghai.
The show, a less risque version of Sex and the City, is popular among women for its focus on romance, careers, friendships and the difficulties women face in the big city.
Sex education in China is often poor. There are stories of male biology teachers skipping details of the female reproductive system in class and ask students to learn it by themselves.
And parents very rarely share information about sex with their children.
What almost all parents do, however, is warn their daughters not to have any dates before they graduate from university, fearing that they get hurt or become pregnant.
Chinese communities also traditionally expect chastity before marriage.
That means TV dramas are very influential in shaping audiences’ values. They are windows for young audiences, especially young women, to understand sex and sexuality and the ways views are changing.
Double standards on virginity
Zi Yin, a Shanghai-based film assistant producer, told the BBC that even debating the topic was old-fashioned in the 21st Century. She thought it was “disgusting” for the show to make an issue of it.
In modern cities, women are more independent and liberated, she said.
“The virginity issue doesn’t trouble those well-educated women in China’s big cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen,” she told the BBC
“The independent and smart ladies are educated and encouraged to become China’s female president or to achieve high in their career.”
But not everyone agrees the virginity debate is over.
One of Ode to Joy’s female fans, Ziye Pei, told the BBC it was perfectly reasonable for a boyfriend who was a virgin himself to require his girlfriend to be so.
The only problem, she said, was if it was a double standard and the man expected chastity from a woman but not himself.
The issue was also being discussed by her university classmates in a social media group chat on China’s Twitter-like site, WeChat.
(Link): Marcotte on Anyone Choosing To Be a Virgin Until Marriage: “It’s a Silly Idea” – What Progressive Christians, Conservative Christians, Non Christians, and Salon’s Amanda Marcotte Gets Wrong About Christian Views on Virginity
(Link): Preacher Mark Driscoll Disparages Virgins and Virginity (Again) – The Feelings of Fornicators Always Take Precedence With the Anti-Purity Culture, Anti-Slut- Shaming, and Pro- Cheap Grace Crowd
(Link): Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals” (ie, it’s supposedly an impossible feat for any human being to achieve)