New Women: An Agonizing And Solitary Struggle

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The New Women: an Agonizing and Solitary Struggle The image of “New Woman” depicted in the eponymous 1935 film was characterized by a stubborn will for women liberation and dignity as well as a depressing powerlessness. The roly-poly toy in the film, with the figurine of a woman standing erect on the earth is an embodiment of the new women’s ideal of an invincible character in front of the oppressing and dehumanizing forces—an ideal largely shattered yet partly solidified in the film’s narrative. For the film’s heroine Wei Ming, the figurine gained an ironic meaning when she finally died in a suicidal attempt despite her revived desire for life. Abandoned by her husband, unemployed, and lost her only child, she invoked the death for her last resort. The tragic ending recalls upon the assumed stereotypical fragility of women naturally associated with dependence and submission—a characterization she tried to defy by engaging in an uncensored relationship and eloping with her husband, and rejecting the wealthy trustee Wang’s proposal after disillusioned by the failed marriage. The portrait of Wei Ming is thus…show more content…
Only after witnessing herself being portrayed as an utterly powerless and disgraceful victim did she cry out the word “I want to revenge”. Yet this time her opposition is not only the newspaper reportage, but also the population—both men and women—who apathetically read such coverage. Adding to the miserable and oppressed fate of new women was their isolation—the dearth of people sympathetic to their cause. As Lu Xun’s pithy comment in What Happens After Nora Leaves Home, “The masses, especially in China, are always spectators at a drama. If the victim on the stage acts heroically, they are watching a tragedy; if he shivers and shakes, they are watching a

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