Tran Mai Anh
Why We Need to Write About Vietnamese Women
What is the ideal woman of Vietnam? When a young girl dreams of the woman she will become, who does she imagine?
The world is now full of modern stories about proud, brave and independent women. Most books about such women written today are not about our women; they are books about heroines from abroad.
We have our heroines too: the fierce Trung Sisters, the mighty Lady Trieu, even the fearless Vo Thi Sau. But these examples are too few, and not enough to inspire young women today.
That issue is answered in our folklore, in which women are always vulnerable and subject to circumstance; never capable of self-determination.
Ðàn bà như hạt mưa sa
Hạt rơi gác tía, hạt ra ruộng cày.
Women are like drops of rain
Some fall on the palace, others on the soil.
The traditional ideals of women from the past are beautiful stories, but they don’t express the hopes we have for our daughters. We hope that our little girls will not grow up to be controlled by others, will be free to choose how to live their lives, will be strong and brave and achieve many things.
The books we give our young girls to read should show them who they can become. Their role models should be Vietnamese heroines, the great modern women of Vietnam.
Writers of books should tell stories of our successful women of today, and those female Vietnamese leaders who have achieved their dreams should share their life histories with the girls who will follow in their footsteps.