The New Woman’s Women

  • Amy D. Dooling

Abstract

As exemplary models and vehicles of instruction, the prototypical enlightened new women heroines of late Qing feminist fiction function less as a mimetic representation of reconfigured gender roles than as a feminist topos of anticipated change. By the early Republican era, however, the new woman existed not just as a literary construct but constituted an emerging social category. Despite the political setbacks encountered by the organized feminist movement in the early Republican era, particularly on the issue of women’s suffrage, vigorous modernization efforts brought women greater access to education, including institutions of higher learning such as the Beijing Women’s Normal College, which first opened its doors in 1918, professional opportunities (in such fields as teaching, medicine, and journalism), and expanded personal and political options. Such gains of course were to remain confined largely to the ranks of middleand upper-class urban women, but the phenomenon of the xin nüxing (xin funü; xinxing funü), or New Women, as they came to be known, exerted a visible impact on the social, political, and cultural landscape of 1920s and 1930s China.

Keywords

Burning Depression Europe Amid Resis 

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Notes

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© Amy D. Dooling 2005

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  • Amy D. Dooling

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