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I like to look into the mirror. I remember when I was a little girl, I often stood on my toes, trying to find my face in the mirror of the dressing table, which was nearly as high as I was. Now I still like to look into the mirror. Only now, the dressing table is too low for me. As I bend down, I see the face of a young woman, glowing with maturity, confident in her future and fascinated with her own reflection.

The fact that I like to look into the mirror has to do with my granny with whom I spent most of my childhood. I remember clearly that one night I heard her murmuring, "Women can’t be seen. Women can’t be seen." I was so confused as to look into the mirror the next morning to check if I could indeed see myself. Only now as a young woman myself, can I understand that it was not physical visibility that granny had on her mind.

Granny spent all her life taking care of the family, day in and day out. She cooked for her husband and 10 children. But whenever guests came, she and other female family members had to eat by the stove in the small kitchen. At family discussions, she was never asked for her opinion. After grandpa passed away, she had to listen to my uncle, her eldest son, fulfilled her duty as daughter, wife, and mother; yet as a person, she remained little noticed. Even though she could see herself in the mirror of the dressing table, she was never visible in the mirror of society.

I have been living a different life. At home, I make decisions together with the rest of the family. In school, I often take charge of various activities the same as other boys and girls. Not only that, I can see something granny could not have dreamed of─making decisions for my own future. My life has been a series of decisions. I could choose from several universities as I came out of high school. At university, I could choose from a range of subjects from English literature to business law. And now upon graduation, I am again faced with decisions─to further my study or to go to work; to stay in China or to go abroad; to get married right away or to remain single for a bit longer.

It does not matter whether or not I will become famous or rich, but I will treasure the chance to demonstrate my potential and to help other women demonstrate theirs as full members of society, fully visible in the mirror of history. I will treasure it because the abundance of choice that I enjoy came only after decades of efforts made by my granny, my mum, and millions of other Chinese women.

However, the choices to be made by me and others of my generation are a great challenge. The misconception that men are superior to women is still dominating many people’s minds. While men are encouraged to compete and to assert themselves, we are expected to be quiet, loyal and obedient. This is not very different from what is expected of us as good wives and good mothers. The challenge we face calls for a higher level of our personal development and self-determination.

The story of my grandmother and myself mirrors the lives of millions of other women in China and perhaps in the world. Many of them still lead the life of my grandmother. Their worth is not yet recognized. It is the responsibility of a young person like me to work hard and struggle hard so that they too will see themselves and will be seen in the mirror of society.

This is my dream. This dream, I believe, is not only shared by our grandmothers, mothers and sisters, but also by many of our fathers, brothers, husbands and male colleagues.

It will not come true until everyone fully realizes that women can contribute to society and should be guaranteed the right to do so. Women hold up half the sky.

我喜愛照鏡子。記 得很小的時候,我常常踮著腳尖在跟我差不多高的梳妝台前,想要看到鏡子裏自己的小臉。現在,我依然喜愛照鏡子,隻不過那張舊梳妝台已變得太矮了。彎下腰去 照鏡子時,我看到的已是一個年輕、散發著成熟光彩的姑娘,一個對未來充滿自信的姑娘,一個對鏡中的身影依然那般著迷的姑娘。

愛照鏡子的這個癖 好始于我和阿麼共同度過的童年時光。我清楚地記得一天夜裏,聽見阿麼低聲自語:女人啊,別人怎麽就看不見你,怎麽就看不見你呢?我對此感到十分困惑,第二 天一早就跑到鏡子面前要檢驗一下是否鏡子照得見自己。直到現在長大成人後我才明白,阿麼所看不見的並不是鏡子裏的形象。

阿麼為了照顧一大家 人,起早貪黑,忙碌操持了一輩子。她每天為丈夫和十個子女生火做飯,每到家裏來了客人,她卻隻能和家中所有女性成員一起擠在狹小的廚房裏的灶前吃飯。家裏 討論家事,阿麼從沒有過問的權利。阿公去世之後,她隻得聽從新的一家之主──我的大伯,也就是她的長子。經歷了一生的艱辛,阿麼盡到了作為女兒、妻子和母 親的全部責任,但作為一個人,她卻很少被別人關註過。盡管她能夠在梳妝台的鏡子中看到自己的模樣,在家庭和社會中她卻總是一個隱形人。

我過的 是與阿麼截然不同的生活。在家裏,我與家人一同商定家庭事務。在學校裏,我和其他同學一樣經常組織各種活動。不僅如此,我做了阿麼做夢也想不到的事情:為 自己的未來做出選擇。我的生活就是一連串自我抉擇的結果。高中畢業時,我可以從眾多大學中挑選一所。在大學裏,我可以從一系列專業中挑選自己最喜愛的專業 ──從英國文學到商法。現在畢業將至,我又一次面對選擇:或繼續深造,或開始工作;或留在國內,或走出國門;或很快成家,或暫時單身。


然而,我和我們這一代人將要做出的並非是輕而易舉的選擇。重男輕女的偏見仍然主導著許多人的思想。當男人被鼓勵著去競爭,去為自己的權力奮鬥時,卻要我 們女人保持沉默,堅守貞操,一味服從。這與隻要我們當個賢妻良母又有什麽不同?我們所面臨的挑戰正激勵我們為更高的個人貭素和更強的自立能力而奮鬥。