Femininity in Mongolia
So my teacher finally gave us back our grade and I am thrilled to announced that I got an A (16/20). I can now share parts of it with @goldentailedmermaids and @lesmotsincompris. I am not sharing the all thing because it’s a bit too long for the format here. But if you want more detail don’t hesitate to ask.
Disclaimer: In this paper I defined femininity as the share of the sexual devision of labor reserved to women. I used the work of Lévi-Strauss and Lindon on the subject. The sexual division of labor has little to noting to do with biology. It is “whatever behavior, attitudes, values and expectations a given society regards as appropriate for either males or females, but not for both”. I spend more time explaining the concept in my paper, once again if you want precision just ask.
The Traditional Case of Mongolian Women:
(And yes of course I was going to use picture from Marco Polo, that might not be professional but hey, it is important to credit the things which sparkled your interest)
“Mongolia is and was a patriarchy. It means that men hold power. It doesn’t
means that women can’t have influence but it implies that one of the most important part of their role in society will be to allow men’s life. In Mongolian myths if the sister of the male hero plays a great role in enabling him to achieve his mission (to the point of sometimes replacing him for some tasks) in the end “it is the hero only who is glorified […]. The woman might be superior in term of energy and intelligence, in term of perspicacity and imagination, it is always for the benefice of the man”.
If there is a women figure that is respected and may wield considerable power in the Mongolian culture it is the widow, more precisely the widow with children. Sorqoqtani Beki, Genghis’s mother, the mythical figure of Alan-Qo’a, their famous deeds were done after their husband death. Once again, despite the fact this women might transcendent the typical role ascribed to them, Hamayon notes that in the end the role of widow with children is “to promote […] their sons’ position”.
The sexual division of labor gives a lot to do to Mongolian women. The majority of those tasks are turned toward the inside of family circle. Men are turned toward the ‘outside world’. Women’s opinion are valued to the
point were it is noted that men would not take decision about cattle or the family without consulting their wife. The traditional image of women shows them as “they are often the only one able to keep a cool head, to find judicious solution”. However “it is always the man that socializse the decision”.
The only role that Mongolian women can take in which they systematically triumph over men is the one of shaman, a role also open to men.
Traditionally speaking Mongolian women are respected and active members of the society. They are expected to be hard working and wise. According to their status inside their family they could wage considerable influence. However their role tended to be more domestic than the one of men. They were also expected to put their talent, even their talent for transgression, at the service of men.”
Mongolian Women after the Soviet years, facing the Globalized World:
You might be wondering how a star wars picture found its way into this. This is quite simple Amidala’s senate dress was inspired by a dress that is said to have been worn by Börte. Her “throne room” dress is also of Mongolian inspiration. And it is not a hazard. It is not a hazard either that I knew Börte’s name before getting interested in Mongol Empire, when I am still not able to remember by heart most French Queen. Mongol women had had the reputation of more independence and more implication in political life than women living in other culture. As one author put it there is this tradition to see a “huge difference between neighbor Asian women and Mongolian women: traditionally more independent”. An image that current Mongolian women are using at their advantages.
“Mongolia turned into soviet regime dependentof USSR in 1924. One of the revolutionary goals was to politicize the civil society. To do so a brutal rupture with old way of life was created. In order to achieve its revolutionary goals, the soviet regime tried to gain the support of women by changing their position. Women were educated and massively encourage to enter politic. However the idea that women were a support to men was not lost during this era, not even in the political sphere. Furthermore the soviet government pushed for pro-birth policies without challenging the domestic sphere as feminine. Therefore, even if they were involved in politics, Mongolian women were still at the service of men and responsible of the domestic sphere.
The end of the soviet era made Mongolia entered the globalized world. In the meantime Mongolia rediscovered its national History. In doing so women reappropriate the image of Mongolian Queen in order to enter the political world. “They put forth their ‘feminine qualities’. They present themselves as more serious, more mindful of social needs, and above
all less corrupted and alcoholic than men”. Mongolia also wants to be modern and promotes their fashion models and celebrities working outside of the country. However, despite everything women are still seen as responsible of the domestic life.”
Here are the main findings of my paper. I couldn’t speak about things I would have liked because it was still a short paper. But I hope you find this interesting.