Thursday, January 26, 2012

"First Female President of Taiwan"

I know I should have written about this earlier but it kind of got caught in the undertow of the Chinese New Year wave:

Tsai's "First Female President of Taiwan" Theme Fails to Win Support

I could interpret this in two ways.

The pessimistic view: people care so little for women's rights in Taiwan these days that having a female president (or even strong contender) isn't something that really matters to them; they're happy with the status quo of "boring guy in a suit" (and Ma fits that  perfectly - talk about a plastic model of a boring guy in a suit) and the patriarchy as it is now; sexism is still very much alive in Taiwan (which is true, but it's still better than most Asian countries).

The optimistic view: people take it for granted in Taiwan, unlike in the US, that a woman could be president; her gender is not an issue because they'd be willing to vote for a man or a woman regardless; as such they found the theme uninteresting because, well, "duh"; in this way Taiwan is more progressive on gender issues than not only the rest of Asia but also the USA, where sexism against female political candidates runs rampant (I didn't really see that much in Taiwan).

For my own sanity I'm taking the optimistic view, but the pessimistic one warrants strong consideration.

1 comment:

Kath said...

I really think it's the second - I heard this view being expressed by quite a few Taiwanese that I talked to about it regardless of their preference. I think that in some ways she sold herself a little short by using this tactic as she was a strong candidate in terms of her credentials, her speaking ability and experience irrespective of her gender (athough of course one needs to remember these credentials, experience and what not are all the more laudable given the struggles she will have faced to gain them).