Gender, Ethnicity, and Hakka Studies in Taiwan
Fen-fang Tsai(Department of Hakka Language and Social Sciences, National Central University)
Hakka women and gender studies are important to Hakka studies, for complete Hakka characteristics are therewith built and the characteristics of Hakka people can be thereby recognized. However, this is not to say that the image of Hakka women which is enshrined as “virtue” and “hard labor” should be denied, but rather it is of significance to know why we need to comprehend how gender is visible in ethnicity or in study of ethnicity. Moreover, multiple approaches to and perspectives on Hakka women and gender studies in Taiwan have been illustrated since 2000; Hakka women are freed from a homogenized ethnic jail, and are authentically “seen”. But the question that remains is “how” Hakka women are seen. This study first looks at the relationships among gender, ethnic identity and construction of culture, and then attempts to understand why and how Hakka women became “the Other” in male scholars’ writings and research. Secondly, critical viewpoints which emerged in the 1990s have transformed the meaning of Hakka women; the gender roles and statuses of Hakka women have been tackled simultaneously in a variety of approaches and points of view. Essentialized pictures of Hakka women have been deconstructed. Instead, the agency and subjectivity of Hakka women have been demonstrated. Notwithstanding such a change, Hakka women are still homogenized in museum exhibitions, media representations, and general views of the public. The author thus argues that we ought to pursue the idea of “how to” understand Hakka women, for it inaugurates our comprehension of gender, ethnicity and culture.
Hakka Women and Gender studies in Taiwan, gender and ethnicity, gender role