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Feminine Beauty Brings Disaster

Ding Xuan has some really sexist, really dumb ideas about young women

Ding Xuan has become infamous lately for scaring Chinese students into remaining virgins–but many say that’s the least of her outrageous claims.

The 63-year-old executive vice-president of the Hebei Province Traditional Culture Research Association began making waves earlier this month after her speech at Jiujiang University, Jiangxi province, was accused of shaming women who didn’t remain virgins before marriage. Now many are wondering what led the university to invite Ding in the first place, given the sexagenarian’s long history of giving quasi-scientific speeches based on TCM quackery, and views on feminine virtue.

Most of the controversy centered on Ding’s claim that the “greatest gift” a woman could give her husband is her virginity, comparing chastity to a dowry. Her lecture on “being a gentle and graceful woman in the modern era” also lambasted those who dress in a provocative manner, as reported in the South China Morning Post. Ding even made the students repeat various pledges, warning them not to let men use their bodies “like dirty rags,” or risk financial and physical ruin by wearing revealing clothes.

After the remarks were posted online, the university defended the speech, stipulating that the statements she made “that day” were “not inappropriate.” But were they? Really? Video below:

Virginity remains a hot topic among young Chinese, as a recent episode of the hit TV show Ode to Joy demonstrated, highlighting how, despite three decades of so-called sexual revolution, many mindsets remain remarkably entrenched in conservative, patriarchal values. Among the other inflammatory remarks, Ding’s speech touched on several hot-button Chinese tropes, including racial purity and outright misogyny:

  • “If a female white dog has sex with a black dog, the puppies will be black and white. If that same white dog then goes on to have sex with another white dog, the new puppies will [also] be black and white, because of remnant DNA left behind from the first sexual partner.”
  • “Feminine beauty brings disaster. A beautiful women will seduce multiple men, or even if she doesn’t and only has sex with her partner, they will have sex many times a day and this will sap his qi [life force] and cause him to die earlier.”
  • If a woman has sex with three or more men, she will contract sexual diseases which will cause cervical cancer.

After attracting criticism for the virginity comments, Ding offered an apology, saying that she had merely been misunderstood, was only “sharing her experience and opinion” and “considered the equality of men and women.”

But multiple WeChat posts claim to include screen shots of other speeches by Ding, who lectures on behalf of the state-backed China Women’s Development Foundation, in which she told students that eating pork promoted promiscuity, explaining that pigs were incestuous (and even positing that sexually experienced women would likely be reincarnated as swine); “men are the sky and women are the earth below them and this is a natural law”; and female victims of domestic violence need to listen more to their partners. Either way, the Jiujiang University speech offers plenty of reasons why, as Ding herself told the Beijing News, “some of the students wept.”


Ding comparing women to swine


Equating men and women to the sky and earth


Cover image from hangzhou.com.cn


David Dawson is the former deputy editor of The World of Chinese.

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