Normally a professor saying that classes shouldn’t be held so early is a reason to celebrate, but not when it’s because he says his female students need to have more time to get all pretty and feminine.
He Guangshun, an associate professor of literature at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies made the comment in class and thought it was so clever he decided it had to be shared with the world by posting it to Weibo, China’s version of Twitter:
It’s cruel that girls have to come to class at 8:30 am. They should have more time to put on their makeup and enter the classroom elegantly. That way, encouraged and moved by their beauty, boys would have the drive to work hard.
Obviously it’s a problem that has to be addressed. How on Earth are college students supposed to pay attention and study with all those inelegant women galumphing around, getting educations and not wearing enough makeup?
While the comment angered people across the Internet, many of the male and female students on He’s campus responded with a resounding, “Meh.”
One student, a freshman who asked to be identified only as Candy, told an interviewer that while she understood that not all women want to wear makeup all the time, she didn’t think He’s comment was sexist at all.
Guo Wenjun, a 23-year-old student at Sun Yat-sen University, another school in Guangdong, credits a gender studies class with helping her look at things more critically.
“I almost got into a fight with my roommates when we discussed He Guangshun’s remarks,” said Guo Wenjun, a 23-year-old student at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong. “They simply don’t think it matters or that it’s only natural for women to wear makeup.”
Guo said that while overt discrimination tends to be recognized as sexist by all of her peers, stereotypes and prescribed gender roles are more likely to be seen as just natural, innocuous things.
According to Shanghaiist‘s Katie Nelson, even many well-educated students like Guo’s roommates still believe in old-school gender stereotypes. She cites lack of access to and interest in gender studies classes as one of the sources of the problem.
“The concept of gender equality is not promoted as part of our basic education or as part of the common sense that every citizen should have,” said Ke Qianting, an associate professor at Sun Yat-sen University and the head of that school’s Sex/Gender Education Forum.
Sun Yat-sen University offers gender studies electives, but they’re not highly attended. According to Shanghaiist, only about 100 out of the school’s 30,000 undergrads have taken them.