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Locating Chinese WomenHistorical Mobility between China and Australia$
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Kate Bagnall and Julia T. Martínez

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528615

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528615.001.0001

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Reading Gender in Early Chinese Australian Newspapers

Reading Gender in Early Chinese Australian Newspapers

(p.27) 2 Reading Gender in Early Chinese Australian Newspapers
Locating Chinese Women

Mei-fen Kuo

Hong Kong University Press

Although women were largely absent from male-dominated Chinese community discussions on democratic values, brotherhood, diaspora unity, and Han-identity nationalism, they were not absent from Chinese Australians’ modern social life from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. By examining public comments and views in Chinese Australian newspapers regarding gender as a new social relationship, this chapter argues that the newspapers provide a window through male narratives that now enables us to espy how the Chinese population deliberated women’s social role and the way it was changing. The chapter aims to uncover through an investigation of the historic records, in the social life of Chinese Australians, the male-dominated view of gender role reconciled on the one hand the desire to segregate women from public discussions and participation, and on the other the need to involve women’s presence to demonstrate respectability and social standing to meet Australian social expectations. These public narratives and social networks provide a new approach to apprehending the nature and importance of Chinese Australian social life.

Keywords:   Narrative identity, Chinese Australian newspapers, Gender relations, Diaspora community, lijiao

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