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While the moonlight showers upon my dark robe
Pressure to perform, career, comparatively early marriage. The life of young Chinese is shaped by conservative ideas of their families and society.
However, the most populated country in the world is a fast changing one. The ambience is changing drastically - and so are the people. Many of them feel overwhelmed and question the traditions of their home. Instead of living according to their parents' wishes, they demand self-realization and self-determination.
China's young generation and their attitude towards life is colorful and wide-ranged. In fact, it’s a big diversity of very different-minded people - and all of them have their own stories to tell. But there is one thing, most of them have in common: they have to deal with the pressure and conservative expectations of their families and society. And many of them have difficulties to identify with the places they are living in.
Some people move abroad. Some adapt. But for many people it remains difficult to reconcile their own dreams with those of their parents. Not seldom, people in their mid-twenties come home for spring festival and face stressful questions about why they are not married yet. The traditional ideas of the parents’ generation and the modern concept of the youth has caused a huge gap.
They are people of a young and modern generation, grown up in a still old world. The question is, will they find harmony with that world in the end?
I’m the only daughter of a relatively traditional family. My parents are originally from the countryside, they later brought me to Hangzhou and raised me here. I have already get used to the modern city lifestyle. Accordingly, I can’t adapt to my family’s old-fashioned ideas. The conflicts between us consequently grow constantly. I am going to graduate soon and my parents hope that I will come back and live with them. This as mentioned isn’t what I expected at all.
My boyfriend at first was supposed to study abroad, but he didn’t because of me. We hope to live together in future. However, the old-fashioned beliefs of our families are still an obstacle between us. But for him, I shall find a way.
Since I was fifteen, my life has been like an escape.
I never knew the destination.
I have met people who love me and those who hurt me.
Carrying the weight of love and scars on my back,
I escape until there is no place to go anymore.
[…] Here, I’ll talk briefly about the relationship with our parents.
On the social Network Douban, there was a group called "Parents are disasters“ and nearly 100.000 people joined. However, it was soon stopped by the officials and considered to be a great social hazard. China is a country based on the principle of “duty”: an official must obey his king, a child must obey his father, a wife must obey her husband. Today, although many families have developed economically, family relations still lag behind. From birth, children must remain subordinate to their parents’ orders: attend college, get married, have kids. Parents consider themselves as important roles: holding the economic control, they require obedience in all matters of life, however large or small. […]
Let’s see it from the perspective of my personal understanding:
Since 1992, in such a social environment that wasn’t repaired as a whole, justice has not been done. Wrongful treatments have not fully been corrected. Thoughts and social consciousness have not fully awakened. The human feeling has remained in the coma phase. All civilians pursue a capitalistic lifestyle. […]
From infancy, everyone has become an individual competing for profits. Most people’s living conditions have also changed. Rural families live in poverty and urban families live in enclosed complexes. The previous connection between people no longer exists. Young people are dissatisfied with their parents’ language. I feel that I can't communicate with them at any level. I oppose their lifestyle, their taste in entertainment, and their lunatic control on our private lives and emotions. Why do they isolate themselves from the society, but at the same time require their children to follow social norms?
Because at the end of the day they also need human contact. The demands on their children root from their past of being rejected, hence why they became completely isolated and resentful.
This generation's thoughts and consciousness were forged during the Cultural Revolution. At first glance, they looked well educated in language, concepts and knowledge. However, their illiterate social relations and social norms are the ugly hidden truth. […]
Being at my workplace for nearly a year, I finally faced the gender discrimination that everyone was talking about in college. When searching a job at a marriageable age, people will think of you as “will soon get married, have kids, take maternity leave”.
Imperceptibly, women’s job hunting is harshly competed by men. After getting in the workplace, women will also face the artificial motto of “care for women”, which actually means giving men important and challenging tasks. Women are expected to do a relaxing job, come back home and bear no heavy responsibilities.
I believe either taking a relaxing job or becoming a workaholic should be one's own free choice. There are people who prefer to take things easy rather than seek fame and wealth. There are people hoping to achieve a successful career. Neither is wrong. Moreover, we shouldn’t try to define it by using the current gender frame, then roughly conclude “women aren't suitable for competing at the workplace”. […]
[…] We both come from the same city W and met each other in city H. The W city we escaped from is not undeveloped, but yet very traditional. “Traditional” here means obeying the rules, but also means rejecting “exceptions” and non-mainstream ideas, cultures, and trends. Even one’s marriage partner must be a local. Most friends my age, whether or not they are willing to, come back to W to work, buy a house, get married, have children and repeat their parents’ life in this new era.
The Chinese strongly value “family”, considering only "going home" can make one belong to the "right" community. Therefore, if we compromise and take one step back, it may lead to other countless steps back. We are working hard not to let this “if” happen. We can’t blame anyone for our situations, just as we can’t even watch LGBT movies in cinemas, because not everyone has the ability to choose the environment. The only thing we can change is ourselves, as we firmly decided to live in the present and fight for the life we want.
We are confused about our future. We cannot get married nor have children, we have no common property under the law. We can’t even introduce our relationship to people at work and family. In fact, we are the same as heterosexual partners: have common hobbies, like to travel, like games, like movies. There are also conflicts in our decision making: whether to buy a house, whether to go abroad to marry.
Although there are 10,000 possibilities in the future, we rarely think too far. Most discussions end with no results. We are not rich, but we can live comfortably. Our relationship has been a peaceful one, some of our friends are very envious of that. We haven’t come out yet, but my sister lives with us.
We hope the fact that we love each other would make everyone happy.
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"The world outside is no safe place, not to mention that you’re just a girl. It is too dangerous, so just be good and stay at home. Don't go out alone." This is the kind of idea my parents have instilled in me from childhood. In their traditional mind, this principle has no flaws, and everyone always think that my thoughts are also part of theirs.
Luckily, after the coincidental touches with the outside world, my thoughts began to break away from them, just like a wild horse without a bridle, breathing the infinite desire to explore the outside world. Until today, from all the things I did, the most magnificent one that I take great pride in was when I picked up my backpack and started an unplanned journey - out of pure spontaneity.
Even when I was in a foreign land, isolated and helpless, I still saw the beauty of the world. There have been mishaps and surprises at every corner. Despite marching under the scorching sun, bearing 40 degrees heat and carrying more than 15 kg luggage on my back, I still felt all was worth it - as excitement and happiness from self-love melted together in my veins.
The journey, defined as "a distillation of soul” in my view, then grew into a “good-for-nothing” journey in my parents’ eyes. That it was nothing but a waste of time and money, purely entertaining one’s own selfish kind of behavior. […]
However, for the sake of women’s new era and despite the noise of haters, I will not compromise. Instead, I will encourage myself whenever troubled by traditional mindsets, as well as encourage people like me to “jump out the bureaucratic rigmaroles and explore the outside world”.
Don't be afraid or fear your changing, be brave to do things that make you happy, because you belong to yourself.
currently based in
+49 160 7983356