Where to Belong? The Intersectionality of Discrimination Faced by Chinese Female Academics

Yan Wu

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Preview:  When web forums first emerged in China in the 1990s, an internet satire concerning women holding higher education credentials went viral almost overnight within online communities. This satire compared women holding higher education degrees to the three female prototypes in Louis Cha Jingyong’s (Jin Yong 金庸) martial arts and chivalry (wuxia 武侠) novels. Bachelor degree holders were compared to “Little Dragon Maiden” (Xiao Longnü 小龙 女), an indifferent, but elegant and beautiful martial arts master who was loyal to her first and only love. Master’s degree holders were compared to Li Mochou 李莫愁, a middle-aged martial arts master who morphed into a brutal killer after her lover betrayed her. PhD degree holders were compared to the elderly ”Abbess Annihilation” (Miejue Shitai 灭绝师太), who was compelled to avenge the death of her lover and turned into a merciless man-hater and mankiller. In the novels, these three characters were rewarded or punished in narratives centring around their relationship to men—the youthful and loyal Little Dragon Maiden reunited with her lover eventually, while the other two characters (who happened to be much older and more experienced) were driven to their respective deaths due to their lack of love, despite their
formidable martial arts power.