The Slam Heard 'Round the World
In 1879, Henrik Ibsen wrote a play that dealt with the power in a marriage entitled "A Doll House". The play was praised primarily on its ending, in which Nora, the female protagonist, chooses to walk out on her husband who has been controlling her ever since they were wed. Women the world over were suddenly inspired to take hold of their relationships and stop allowing their husbands to toy with them. China, in specific, was impacted heavily as Chinese custom heavily oppresses women. Because of Ibsen's play, a radical change came to the country known for foot binding and forced murders.
In China, women have always been seen as objects. They were forced to keep themselves pretty and attractive, while at the same time forced to do work that men saw as beneath their rank. This is seen as a recurring cycle as a man uses his daughter for house work and then passes her off to a husband who makes her do his chores. This is reflected in "A Doll House" as Nora was used by her father only to passed from his hand to Torvald, her husband. He tells her everything that she is allowed to do, constantly insults her, and expects her to live only to please him. When she finally realizes the way things are, she decides to walk out on him, slamming the door behind her as a final message.
When the play was adapted for Chinese audiences, it swept the country. Suddenly, women had the attitude that if Nora could do it, why couldn't they? The women of China instantly formed feminist groups demanding change. The public protests led to equal rights in politics, law, and education for men and women. This proved to be a huge step for women's rights in China. Even though women were still seen as subpar humans, they were happy that they now had rights that they fought for.
It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, but in China's case, the pen led to the sword. The women of China found that a new way of life was possible from Ibsen's "A...
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