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Does virginity still matter? – China’s latest society and culture news


Ding Xuan 丁璇, a lecturer from China Women’s Development Foundation, a government-owned nonprofit organization, sparked a controversy on Weibo (in Chinese) last week when she delivered a speech to college students in Jiangxi Province that urged women to hold on to their virginity before marriage. Her key points included:

  • A woman’s best dowry is her virginity.
  • Showing too much skin is a sign of vulgarity. It not only invites slanderous gossip, but also causes diseases, misfortunes, unexpected financial ruin, as well as loss of virginity.
  • It is an insult to our ancestors if our bodies, which our parents have taken good care of, are abused by many men like dirty rags.

Ding has been giving speeches about feminine virtues across the country for years — for example, this speech posted to Weibo (in Chinese), which includes these nuggets of moralism:

  • Non-virgins are no different than prostitutes.
  • Some women get plastic surgeries in order to seduce men.

Internet users bashed Ding by calling (in Chinese) the values she holds “retrograde” and “feudalistic.” One Weibo commenter wrote, “What time are we living in? I thought the Qing dynasty was dead. Am I wrong?” Several days after the backlash, Ding responded (in Chinese), “I was saying those things for women’s good.”

See more about social media discussions in China in our weekly WeiWatch article. 


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.