As if it wasn’t bad enough that girl babies still aren’t wanted by the general populace (despite gains in Shanghai) and work interviews targeted at females seem to have gotten increasingly ridiculous, now a list is circulating about the ten criteria of being a “modern Chinese woman”… and it looks like it ain’t easy being us, folks.
According to this list, which has garnered interest all over the internet recently, modern Chinese women need to have these virtues:
1. 上得了厅堂 (“Be able to go to the living room” aka “have enough conversational skills to impress the men.”)
2. 下得了厨房 (“Be able to go back to the kitchen” aka… well, “know how to make me a sandwich”)
3. 写得了代码 (“Be able to write computer code.” Yeah, what?)
4. 查得出异常 (“Be able to find anomalies.” We’re guessing this relates to computers as well since No. 5 is…)
5. 杀得了木马 (“Be able to kill trojans.” Because nothing’s sexier than a woman with a clean computer.)
6. 翻得了围墙 (“Be able to cross the wall.” Since there’s an old Chinese tradition about men being the only ones in the family allowed out of houses, we’re not sure whether this is a reference to breaking the glass ceiling or knowing how to use a VPN, Great Firewall crossing style.)
7. 开得起好车 (“Be able to drive a nice car” aka “be rich”)
8. 买得起新房 (“Be able to buy a new house” aka “be rich”)
9. 斗得过二奶 (“Be able to outbattle a mistress” aka “Somehow make yourself beautiful and charming enough to stop your husband from looking for a girl half his age”)
10. 打得过流氓 (“Be able to beat up gangsters” aka “self defense?”)
While the origins of the list are unknown, it’s pretty widely recognized to be a parody/update to 三从四德, the Confucian edict guiding women’s behavior in ancient Chinese times. In case you forgot how that goes, it’s basically a three four combo of “obey the father as a daughter, obey the husband as a wife, obey the sons if you become a widow” and “be moral, be proper in speech, be modest in manner, be diligent in work.”
It sounds like it sucked pretty hard to be a woman back then, but if this list is real (each satire has its roots in the truth), it was also a lot less confusing.
Photo from China Joy 2009