Image credit: Gabriel Li.
It’s common practice in the Chinese governmental system for cadres selected for political office to undergo administrative and ideological training in one of the various Party schools around the country. For female cadres however, that ‘administrative’ training also includes classes on how to wear make-up, arrange flowers, and conduct traditional tea ceremonies.
Barry van Wyk reports for Danwei:
According to today’s front page of the Shenyang Evening News from Liaoning province, on 9 December the female branch of the China City Mayors Association (中国市长协会女市长分会) held a graduation ceremony at Jiaotong University in Shanghai with 21 female city mayors and deputy mayors in attendance. The 21 women were graduating from a special course of 13 weeks at the University that focused on improving their governing skills and leadership capacities as well as certain special “external services”.
Hence not only were the female mayors taught how to interact with the media, we are told, they were also given a range of other lectures of which some are mentioned: “Tea ceremonies”, “Flower arranging”, “Makeup”, and “Creating a graceful appearance as a female mayor”. The organizer of the lectures was of the opinion that tea ceremonies, flower arranging and makeup are all things that contribute to the “charm of female leaders”.
The Vice President of the women’s branch of the China City Mayors Association defended the practice:
Female mayors are leaders, yet more than that, they are women. Among male higher authorities and all the lower ranking males, it is very important for these women to display their female influence. Yet in this process, for these women to integrate well while also maintaining a safe working distance is a real art.
One class focused on how candidates can overcome “Men’s eight main perceptions for being unwilling to follow female leaders”, because obviously if your subordinates are uneducated troglodytes who can’t handle having a woman telling them what to do, it’s the woman’s fault. The eight perceptions apparently included seeing women as too emotional, too sensitive, and too selfish (also, their periods can attract bears, bears can smell the menstruation).