Is ‘Beijing Women’s Manual’ Realistic About Sexism and the City?

Critics say Chinese TV remake depicts its heroine as master of none and mistress of all.

A new Chinese TV drama is unlikely to pass the Bechdel test: Almost every conversation that its female protagonist Chen Keyi has with another woman is about a man.

At first, fresh graduate Chen is uncomfortable when her wealthy male acquaintance lavishes her with expensive gifts. But her worldly-wise housemate and former classmate Wang Jiajia reassures her: “He doesn’t expect anything from us,” she says. “We’re just having a good time together, right?” In another episode, Wang instructs Chen how to profit from her femininity. “Some women can use a bed to win themselves a house,” she explains.

Chen, played by Qi Wei, is the protagonist of “Beijing Women’s Manual,” or “Women in Beijing,” a new online drama from video platform Youku. The show — a hotly anticipated remake of a popular 2016 Japanese series — charts Chen’s social and professional rise over a decade after she moves to the capital from southwestern China’s Sichuan province.

Just two weeks after its premiere on April 10, the show has already sparked fierce debate over how it portrays its heroine relying on her sexuality for social mobility. Continue to read the full article here.


This is original content by Sixth Tone and has been republished with permission.