The 1990s gender progressiveness in Taiwan
MetadataShow full item record
Taiwan has long been obsessed with its own particular idea of progress, a concept that has been heavily influenced by different historical and cultural factors. Throughout its modern history, the island’s inhabitants have found themselves under the sway of colonial modernization, an authoritative regime, rapid economic growth, and progressive intellectual discourse. While under the political grip of totalitarianism from 1949 to 1987, the island experienced prosperity to the point of believing that discipline alone leads to progress. When control under martial law became strained due to emancipatory currents, the society of Taiwan in the 1990s sought to curb liberation from getting out-of-hand. With its modern history closely related to material progress, the Taiwanese society and culture seems to utter in the same breath both progress and restraint based on its deep roots of Confucianism. This research focuses on gender and sex in exploration of the notion of being progressive in 1990s Taiwan. The discussion of progressive gender discourse as to prostitution, feminism and homosexuality in this research casts light on the relation the social history of Taiwan has to gender, sex, and sexuality. Gender discourse in 1990s Taiwan ushered in a critical review of Confucian values. What we now call gender bias or stereotypes permeate Confucian teachings. Even though it may seem unrelated at first glance, a close reading shows that Confucian tenets about the roles both men and women play in the family and society, and the critiques of them, are inherently political. The dissertation focuses on gender discourse to uncover how it really lies behind all progressive politics in 1990s Taiwan.