Strength of a Woman

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The Male Gender's Perception of Superiority

The male gender has long been regarded as being more superior than the female gender. In comparison to women, men are thought to make better leaders. Men also think they are better at everything, including choosing what is best for their wives. They also think the ladies should submit to them by bowing. The fact that males treat women as nothing more than sex symbols diminishes the status of women the most. The fundamental cause of gender inequity between the sexes is these false perceptions. The films, Ermo and Suzhou River serve as proof that the woman can rise above these unflattering and misleading opinions.

The Film "Ermo"

The film Ermo tells the tale of a young woman, who must navigate the new world, "of globalization where economic reform has brought fundamental changes to a remote mountain village" (Zhang, National Cinema 287). One of these changes is the concept of gender, which is evident throughout the film. The film's main character, Ermo, leads a normal village life. She is a hard-worker, who wakes up very early in the morning, to prepare twisted noodles. She then proceeds to sell her noodles in the market to make money for her family.

Her husband, who is unwell, is incapable of helping, and she is also forced to do the housework as well. Each time she returns home, she finds her husband in her neighbor's house, watching TV. She gets angry because her neighbor is always making fun of her for not owning a television. One day, when she is waiting for her neighbor, Xia ZI, to come and pick her up so they can return home, she sees a shop selling televisions. She enters and sees the largest TV being sold there, a 29-inch. She instantly makes up her mind to make enough money to prove to her neighbor that she can afford to buy a TV for her son.

Modern Urban Woman in "Ermo" and "Suzhou River"

Both films are representations of the new urban woman, who has become more sexually aware. They are both ethnographic forms of cinema, which seek to showcase female sexuality (Zhang, National Cinema 286). The Suzhou River is a film about an unknown videographer, Hua Zhong Kai. He gets hired to record a video for a club's advertising commercial. While there, he becomes acquainted with a girl, Mei Mei, who works at the club. She works as a dancer, a role that requires her to wear a sexy mermaid costume and swim in a tank filled with water. Mei Mei and Zhong Kai soon start a relationship. Mei Mei meets another man, Mardar, who is convinced that his former lover, Moudan is still alive, even after he witnessed her jumping into the Suzhou River. The film ends with Mei Mei going away and leaving Zhong, a note, telling him that he will find her if he loves her as Mardar loved Moudan.

Empowering Female Characters in "Ermo" and "Suzhou River"

In Ermo, the protagonist, Ermo, is a clear indication of the changing times, which have made women stronger than their male counterparts. She has become the primary provider in her family. Her neighbor, Xia Zi, helps her to seek employment in the city. She becomes employed as a chef, a job that requires her to leave her family behind. In return she is able to make money from her job as a chef and donating blood to sustain her family. In fact, she buys clothes for both her husband and son on her way back to the village. Every night before she sleeps, she counts all her money before putting it into a box for safe keeping.

Ermo's financial independence gives her the power to make significant decisions in her family. She also becomes the leader of her family, since she chooses to sacrifice herself and seek work far away from the family. Her strength is also evident in her accounting capacities, in which she is able to keep track of all her earnings. The film is a clear indication that the Chinese female has been motivated to seek gender parity. This sentiment is evident in literature.

Expression of Sexuality and Resilience

Ermo's body is inscribed by sexual politics demonstrated in the circulation and transformation of power, which director Zhou Xiaowen communicates through recurring boundary crossings. These male females and urban-rural transpositions can be regarded as a modern allegory of location where power, morality, and economics construct and deconstruct the power of individuality, subjectivity, and autonomy (Berry 103).

The female strength and its relation to sexuality are also evident in the Suzhou River. In the beginning, the film presents the misleading perceptions men hold towards women. As a dancer who is required to dress in sexy costumes, Mei Mei is considered to be a sex object for the male population. Men come to the bar to pay and watch her dance, indicating that the woman can be bought. In this manner, the film "set out to expose the inhumanity of the patriarchal repression of female sexuality" (Zhang, Screening 231).

The manner in which Mei Mei responds to Moudan is also indicative of the demeaning notions men hold towards women. She tells him off without asking him what he wants because she assumed she wanted 'extra service' like all men do. This shows that all men consider women that work in night clubs while wearing sexy costumes, to be prostitutes. This concept is common in Chinese films which present prostitution as "an essential experience of urban phantasmagoria" (Zhang, Urban Culture 178). Even Zhong Kai asks her to sleep with him again before she leaves because she is just his sex partner.

Despite these perceptions, Mei Mei demonstrates her strength by choosing to act in a manner that does not meet these expectations. At the same time, she chooses to continue working in this line of work despite the negative views associated with it. This is because she wants to ensure that she feeds her family, a clear indication of her inner will and resilience.

Reflection of Changing Times and Society's Perception

All things considered, the films are a good reflection of the Chinese economic revolution and the transition between the old and new generations. They are indicative of the hard work women put into earning money and providing for their families. They show how women continue to work in demeaning jobs, even when people judge them for making this decision. The films show how society fails to acknowledge the woman's strength, choosing instead to paint her in a bad light.

Works Cited

Berry, Chris. Chinese Film in Focus II. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print

Zhang, Yingjin. Chinese National Cinema. New York: Routledge, 2004. Print

Zhang, Yingjin. Prostitution and Urban Imagination: Negotiating the Public and the Private in Chinese Films of the 1930s. In Y. Zhang (ed.) Cinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai, 1922-1943. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. Print

Zhang, Yingjin. Screening China: Critical Interventions, Cinematic Reconfigurations, and the Transnational Imaginary in Contemporary Chinese Cinema. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Chinese Studies, 2003. Print

April 06, 2023

Human Rights Movies

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