The way that marriages function has been almost the same across time and regions. Given that almost all communities in the world follow a patriarchal system of society, the way that men and women (because the concept of homosexuality was denied for centuries) are supposed to behave within the bounds of marriage is pre-decided.
The woman is supposed to leave her parents’ home and move in with her husband/in-laws. She is supposed to take up her husband’s last name, foregoing a part of her identity. In many cultures, the groom’s family also gets to choose a new first name for the bride. She is then supposed to move in with her husband/in-laws and live life according to their rules.
Owing to years and years of struggle, women have been able to leave behind many of these practices.
Know More – Feminism – The “F-Word” In Korea
However, women in China are now fighting against a practice that hasn’t been given much attention by the West.
WHAT ARE WOMEN IN CHINA DOING?
Chinese women are now fighting for their children to take their mother’s names instead of their father’s.
However, no feminist fight is fought without facing backlash. This move of a mother passing her own surname to her children has been labelled as “extreme feminist view.” It has also been labelled as “feminism with Chinese characteristics,” a term often used to describe Chinese feminists. This label seeks to attack them as feminists who want equal rights but no equal responsibilities.
Know More – BoJack Horseman – A Feminist Perspective
In rural China, there is a huge difference in the consequences of a child bearing a father’s name as opposed to a mother’s. This is because in those areas, men’s ability to continue the family name results in them inheriting the family’s wealth. All-China Women’s Federation conducted a survey in 2019 and found that over 80% of Chinese women in villages don’t have their names on their families’ homestead registration documents. Thus, male children receive more attention in families.
This also led to a huge drop in the gender ratio. This was partially because of the one-child policy implemented by the government. A county in Anhui province gave its residents 1,000 yuan ($140) if they gave the mother’s last name to their newborn. This policy was implemented in 2014, in an attempt to improve the extremely skewed sex ratio.