Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See was the BPYC book pick; an excellent choice.

The evening made me appreciate, once again, how much I love getting together with these women to talk about books.  And how fortunate I am to be living as a woman in the country and time period I do.  Privileged, indeed, to even know how to read and how to write.

Nine of us showed up to discuss the book, which was a fascinating account of a friendship between two women in China during the 19th century and the secret language they shared. Nu shu translates to  'women's writing' and is central to the plot of the novel; a way the characters share their dreams, hopes, and disappointments through the decades of their friendship.

foot binding was finally outlawed by
 the Chinese government in 1949
The novel's most unforgettable aspect to me were the accounts of foot binding.  I knew it was a brutal practice but wasn't aware of the extent of the violence.  In fact, 1 in 10 girls died of the ordeal.  At age 6 or 7, they would have their feet bound, their toes broken, and be forced to walk for weeks on end to acquire the most ideal shape.  These perfectly shaped 'lilies' would help make women eligible for marriage into a good family, but it was never a guarantee.  Those with 'normal' feet could not hope for position and would be doomed to work in fields or serve as common prostitutes.  Still, I wonder how mothers could inflict such pain and suffering on their daughters.

Another theme in the book was the nature of friendship between women, and woman's inhumanity against woman (a twist on man's inhumanity against man).

The past few days the topic of violence against women keeps popping up.  Monday night, I was listening CBC radio and learned about a movement in Canada to limit revealing the sex of the fetus during the early weeks of pregnancy.  It seems that many ethnic communities here still persist in aborting female fetuses.  This is the kind of attitude that has led to gross imbalances in the ratio of men to women in China and India.

Take a look at this Ted Talk clip, it is worth the 20 minute investment.  (I also came across this Monday, through a Facebook friend).

I do..... I love, I love, I love being a girl.  The planet needs more girl cells.  Don't you agree?


Carô said...

What a powerful clip! Thanks for posting it! I am woman hear me roar...

Wine Club said...

nice video...I need to have everything in one place, especially as I have a ranch, raise hay and Great Danes.

Wine Club