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The Hands that Tell a Thousand Words

Farm Hands

On the production trip of my documentary "Rise of the Phoenix" last year, I vividly recall holding one of my characters Pu Ruixia’s mother’s hands in my interview — so coarsened and wrinkled with callouses of hard-labor. A pair of hands two years younger than mine but looks and feels twenty years older. She has never questioned why she has to slave away this way and only knows and accepts this as her lot. The notion of life outside her village has never occurred to her less alone being curious about mine.

The women in China are an amazing bunch. They have no concept of gender awareness as the west knows it. Surely life is not fair, but they are too busy managing the family and the day-to-day survival than to worry about breaking the imaginary glass ceiling. There is another character Nanny Zhu Xiaoli who was in an abusive relationship. Even after her hard-won divorce, she asked very little in return because she doesn’t know she has the right to ask for compensation for her investment of youth and labor in the marriage. Then there are those mothers who profess girls are as good as boys but are still secretly convinced that the two are not of equal worth.

When is the Chinese society going to support true equality in legislature, education, rights and opportunities for those “holding up half the sky”? The notion that girls are “spilled water” is still a collective prejudice in many countries. It's time for women of the world to stop subscribing to the belief that they liabilities to their families instead of change-makers and assets to their daughters and sisters?

Maybe the progress of a country should be measured by the education and empowerment of its women, not just by its GDP.

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dbunton's picture

Keep pushing

May,

Keep pushing in your work. It's cinematography like the Rise of the Phoenix that communicates messages that break down prejudices and cultural barriers. Even relations between African-Americans and people of Asian/Eastern descent can improve upon viewing the stories of the struggles in China on film. The message I received from Pu Ruixia's story is that we often take luxuries such as education for granted. When she mentioned, "My mother could not afford to send all of us to school", I was in awe. Be proud of the power of this video and the impact it will have on students, families, and communities who witness the stories of the ladies and families in Beijing, Ningxia, and Shenzhen. Oh what we sometimes take for granted.

Darren Bunton

Phoenixdocu's picture

You've made my Day!

Darren,
We were hit by a terrible storm 2 days ago and was without electricity --- today, I'm back online doing the things I need to do. Even electricity, we take it for granted!
Too often we've read about the prosperity and glamor of urban China, and not enough about her rural cousin. Abject poverty and gender issues are very real there. 65% of women are stuck in the countryside to mind the farms and raise the family while the men go to work in the city. I just want to reveal that side of the story that speaks to our hearts and give voice to those women. I'm humbled and lifted up by your kind and encouraging words and am trying very hard to get funding for the next phase of production. I invite you to share a clip I've just put up at http://vimeo.com/26127241 to show a little more depth to the characters and storyline.

Warmly,
May

dbunton's picture

Hello, I am glad to hear that

Hello,

I am glad to hear that you are back up and going after the storm. Some storms are reminders of the calm which is to come-just a reminder. Do you use Twitter? I think it would be great to incorporate promoting your projects via tweets and other social media that have proven to be powerful tools for us activists. I will tweet the link to my 20 or so followers, as well as share with my associates on other sites. Fear not, we shall get it done!

Indeed you are welcome May. Have an outstanding day. I am always mobile-cell phone, so don't hesitate to email me. The messages go directly to my phone. Did you get the email I sent from dbunton@hotmail.com ?

Peace!

Darren Bunton

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