Written by Doris T. Chang. Among all the gains made by Taiwanese women in the past century, achieving leadership roles in the political arena is perhaps Taiwanese women’s greatest achievement. During the Japanese colonial era, women had no right to vote. However, after lifting martial law in 1987, Taiwan emerged as a vibrant democracy. Due to political parties’ commitment to nominating more qualified women candidates for elections in the late 1990s and after that, the percentage of women elected to Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan reached 42 per cent in 2020 — the highest in Asia. This is equivalent to the percentage of women legislators in most Scandinavian countries. But Taiwanese women’s achievement in the political arena would not have been possible without making significant progress in their educational attainment throughout the twentieth century.
Fat-Shaming and Beauty Related Tensions in Contemporary Taiwanese Families
Written by Amélie Keyser-Verreault. One of the most important criterion determining whether a woman is considered beautiful is thinness in Taiwan and elsewhere. Under the influence of an increasing cult of beauty, my field works reveal the existence of various forms and causes of multiplying and exacerbating fat-shaming and beauty-related conflicts within the contemporary Taiwanese family. Although the idea that a close linkage between physical appearance and womanhood is certainly not new, recent research on women’s experiences of body transformation underscores that the degree of beauty pressure is unprecedented in contemporary societies.
Speaking on Behalf of the State: The Women on the Radio and behind the Loudspeakers during the Cold War
Written by Isabelle Cheng. Women have a complicated relationship with the wars waged by the nation-state. Women are the reproducers and boundary ma(r)kers of the nation, so women, notably when they embody the nation’s image, are said to be protected by the state as a reason for going to war. They are also projected as the victims of war when the state loses to its enemy, mainly when the enemy uses rape as a weapon to weaken national morale. On the battlefield, women are used as fighters, porters, carers, entertainers or sex slaves to enhance war fighting capacity physically or mentally. During the two world wars, in the state’s propaganda, women were encouraged to ‘give away’ their husbands and sons to the state or were recruited to fill the vacancies left by men to work in the manufacturing, agricultural or transport sectors. Their homemaking and thrifty cooking were characterised as contributing to war efforts. Regardless of which of these roles they play, they are instrumentalised by the state.