By LINGYUE ZHENG
In China, there is a tricky question thrown ahead of men: If your mother and wife fell into waters simultaneously, whom would you save first? It is a question that often silents men, though they might whisper their answers in their minds, and generally they shun responding to that imagined situation and expressively criticize the evil nature of that hypothesis, arguing that the case that mother and wife fall into waters at the same time is non-existent.
These days, China’s national judicial examination seems to give an answer to this unanswerable question. In the exam, the question changes to “If forced to choose, would you save your mother or girlfriend from a burning building?” Exam takers are supposed, or duty-bound, to save their mothers. It would put a writer on charge of “crime of non-action” if he decided to prioritize his romantic love.
People voice their different opinions on this issue. Some say that equating the responsibility of supporting one’s parents with the obligation to rescue others in an emergency is ridiculous and there should be no privilege on life-saving because equality is what our society devoted to achieve.
While some people also expressed that they would definitely save mother because mother is peculiar and girls are everywhere.
I read the articles covering this issue from different international news agencies. Some ridicule the question as silly and unreasonable and others are making fun of it by saying “finally we have an answer, thanks to the law test.”
The perspective that impressed me most was from Celia Hatton of BBC News. She pointed out that “interestingly enough, no-one on the Chinese Internet appears to address the sexist nature of the question.” Her words actually threw a bomb in my mind, too. How can I simply ignore the fact that people are still unconsciously put females on a spot that they are helpless, fragile and waiting to be decided? Why is it always females in the context, to appear in a test which does not show much respect? Why do the public still play the roles of promoting gender stereotypes, rather than pointing out the unfair hypothesis here?
Should a woman save her father or her boyfriend first? It is something more than a joking question to ask ourselves.