Sexual Politics in Literature, my session at bookworm at 10 AM on Saturday March 8, 2014

This year’s Beijing International Literature Festival will start this Friday March 7, the day before the International Women’s Day. To Mark the occasion, all the sessions on March 8 touch upon women’s issues. Originally I was invited to serve as a moderate for the first session at 10 on Saturday morning entitled Feminism in the 21st Century. Then I was asked to be a panelist. The other panelists are British/Indian feminist writer Bidisha, French writer Carole Martinez.

As a certified feminist – I am one of the two dozen Chinese women who graduated from China’s first feminist school, I am delighted to take part, in whatever role.

In some ways, I felt relieved to be a panelist because I can just say what I want to say. Whileas as a moderator, you have to navigate and make sure things move ahead smoothly and draw out something from each panelist, which requires fair amount of research beforehand.

First of all, I think a writer’s outlook, including her sexual politics, will inevitably follow her into the world of literature. I do have a feminist intention in my writing. I write what interest me. Gender issue is a big one. It fascinates me because I always believe women’s position in a society tells you a lot about what’s going on.

Now, feminism in the 21st century. In the west, people have been talking about if feminist is a thing in the past. In China, on the other hand, feminist movement is just budding. To form a movement as such, it demands further relaxed social control and a civil society. But I feel encouraged by the increased feminist activism in the past years, for example, my young feminist activist friend Xiao Mei has just walked all the way from Beijing to Guangzhou to protest against child sex abuse.

Yes, I enjoy writing about women’s issue and I write as a gendered being.

Come along. It should be a highly interesting session.

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