Engagement Paper for the Documentary "The Nation of Women"
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In traditional Chinese culture, the only legitimate heirs to a family are the male family members. Since I am the only daughter of my father, and he is the only son of my grandparents, our family symbolically ends with me. This reflects thousands of years of patriarchal Confucian gender prejudice and oppression of women. By a fortuitous opportunity, in the summer of 2007, Dr. Wang Lin asked me to help with her research on a Chinese matriarchal society – the Mosuo community. I was impressed by their unique culture, tradition and social structure, and decided one day to make a documentary about them. The chance to make such a film came up when I began my studies in the MFA program at the Department of Film, University of Regina. At the centre of my film, The Nation of Women - and of the critical engagement paper – is this unique matriarchal culture, its historical resilience, its ongoing gradual erosion prompted by globalization, and its attempts to adapt and survive its consequences. This critical engagement paper first reviews the culture and history of the Mosuo community and its major differences with the Chinese mainstream society then goes on to examine some of the issues I faced as a documentary filmmaker during the shooting of The Nation of Women and the solutions and answers I came up with and concludes with a discussion of major theoretical approaches to the phenomenon of globalization and its impact on the Mosuo community.