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Chinese women blowing smoke in the face of patriarchy 

Jump to full article: The Star (za), 2003-11-27
Author: Benjamin Morgan


"If my boyfriend didn't like me smoking I would break up with him immediately," says Zhang, a 24-year-old advertising manager. . . .

Tantamount to being sexually unchaste only 20 years ago, smoking is making a comeback among young, educated Chinese women, much to the expected delight of cigarette companies and the chagrin of health experts It demonstrates progress in their society.

While men may still be smoking up a storm, accounting for most of China's 350-million smokers, or about one-quarter of the population, females are closing ranks, as more and more of them are unabashedly lighting up in public. . . .

"Women have gained more freedom as Chinese society has become more liberated," says Xia Xueluan, a social psychologist at Beijing University.

A cigarette signals women's demand for greater equality and respect from men, Xia says.

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Quotes from this article:

If my boyfriend didn't like me smoking I would break up with him immediately.
24-year-old Shanghai advertising manager Zhang Yi .