“I want to tell her ‘Get over it. And whatever you do, please don’t give us a third book about your relationship with your mother. Writing’s supposed to be cathartic, not fixating.’” – an American friend’s words after finishing Amy Tan’s second book, The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991)
Lysistrata and the Net; Every Fish Gets Caught
Many Taiwanese women are charming, polite, good-humored, intelligent, resourceful, and possess a great capacity to endure. They can be tenacious in pursuit of educational or career goals, too. Almost none are Lysistrata-dauntless, though. In twenty years in Taiwan, I’ve met only one who was: an ex-girlfriend. “Boyfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend,” she exclaimed in disgust to her young work colleagues one day. “Can’t you ever talk about something more substantial?” Like what, they asked, astonished. “Us as persons and our lives as women, not just as girlfriends,” she said, showing them a copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex.
More dauntless at 26 than any person I’d met anywhere, she dazzled her colleagues with her daring. They begged her to take them with her to clubs, taking nights off from their boyfriends to tag along; and they limited boyfriend talk around her. Given such magnetism, I thought she’d forever persevere, forever stay undaunted – but I was wrong. “The society is like a giant net here,” she explained to me three years after we broke up. “Every fish sooner or later gets caught.”
» Continue reading “Where’s Lysistrata? Taiwan’s Not-yet-dauntless Females – Part II” »