Looking for a model...

by on Saturday, 24 March 2007 Comments

Once, in a Chinese class, our teacher asked us who were our female models. Among the answers, there were for example Lady Di or Yin Qi (a Taiwanese successful business woman; she’s the one in charge of the new High Speed Train in Taiwan). As for myself, I don’t know why, but the first name that came to my mind was Blanche of Castille (the mother of Louis IX, king of France during the 13th century)!

Don’t worry, it also sounded strange to everyone in the classroom, even to me. Besides the fact that I do not really identify myself with a French queen from the Middle Ages, nor do probably the others with their models, our answers can be taken as indications of the way we think. It’s not a coincidence that we mentioned figures of strong and powerful women, including those in political roles.

My teacher’s question took me by surprise, because, I have to confess, I never asked myself this question before. In Europe, in France, the feminist mentality is already so developed that it doesn’t have to be mentioned to be part of society. When I arrived in Taiwan, I was a bit shocked by the differences in attitudes towards men and women: from smoking to more complex subjects as marriage or having children. In my own Taiwanese family, I can play the game of the seven differences between my aunt and my cousin. My first aunt is an ex-singer, an independent woman without children, now living with my uncle (who is divorced from my cousin’s mother), and a smoker! My cousin represents for me the typical traditional Asian girl: with long dark hair and very white skin, she is very beautiful, very slim and very shy. And there was me in the middle, appearing to them like a strange Asian-looking girl thinking like a French woman…

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