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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


“To Be a Woman Is Extremely Bothersome!”: How Young Chinese Women Talk About Their Predicaments

Vol. 29 No. 4   12/1999  


“To Be a Woman Is Extremely Bothersome!”- How Young Chinese Women Talk About Their Predicaments


Sai-hua Kuo









Key words

All-female conversation, complaint, commiseration, solidarity


      Analyzing 24 tape-recorded multi-party conversations among Chinese college students in Taiwan, this study has found that topics related to women’s general predicaments (e.g. aging, appearance, and pregnancy) tend to produce the greatest enthusiasm and participation in all-female conversations, and such topics always end with the conclusion: Dang nuren, hao manfan “To be a woman is extremely bothersome!” These female speakers’ strategic choices in discussing these shared problems are marked by a high degree of cooperation. Straightforward agreement with the speaker, elaboration of the speaker’s complaint, or confirmation of the validity of the complaint demonstrate a mutual sentiment and thereby forge a common bond among interlocutors. Interestingly, these complaint/commiseration exchanges were only found in the talk of senior female students. This may suggest that the older the women become, the more they are aware of their difficult situations, and the more they are likely to talk about their predicaments as a way of showing solidarity.



Author: Sai-hua Kuo
Genre: Article
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