In Myanmar’s Kachin and northern Shan states, bordering China, long-standing conflict escalated in recent years, displacing over 100,000 people.
Traffickers prey on vulnerable women and girls, offering jobs in, and transport to, China.
The initial starting point for Butler’s work is that gender identity cannot be biologically determined.
In Gender Trouble Butler initiated a reinterpretation of Simone de Beauvoir’s statement that “one is not born a woman, but rather becomes one” (de Beauvoir 1949 quot. De Beauvoir distinguishes between gender and sex, whereby gender can be seen as a social creation centred on the ‘natural’ or biological differences of the sexes.
The theory of ‘Gender Performance’ or ‘Gender Performativity’ was first coined in Judith Butler’s 1990 book titled Gender Trouble. Austin’s work on the notion of the performative, and ties into Derrida’s work on reiteration and repetition.
Butler’s theories on gender identity and gender performativity were based on the notion of destabilizing gender identities and categories. She considered the definition of what is meant by the signifier ‘woman’, in relation to the post-structuralist position of examining signs and signifiers.The woman shortage is having harmful consequences in China and sometimes in neighboring countries.Human Rights Watch looked at one of those consequences for a report forthcoming in 2019 focused on bride-trafficking from Myanmar to China.When women lack equal rights and patriarchy is deeply engrained, it is no surprise that parents choose to not to have daughters. For example, China now has a huge, and growing, gender gap among the generations most likely to be seeking a spouse—a bride shortage.Experts project that many of the extra men will never marry; others may go to extreme measures to do so.You need a few extra boys for balance, because men die earlier.We are learning right now what happens when the sex ratio becomes wildly out of whack, through a huge unintended experiment.After giving birth, some are allowed to escape—but forced to leave their children behind. China ended the “one-child” policy but continued restricting reproductive rights through a new “two-child” policy. But such prohibitions are often both ineffective and a threat to women’s rights to access abortion and make their own reproductive choices.There is evidence of similar patterns of bride migration and trafficking in Cambodia, North Korea, and Vietnam, and more may emerge from other countries bordering China. China, India, and other affected countries need to act urgently to mitigate the effects of the woman shortage.Importing women doesn’t solve the shortage—it spreads it. The woman shortage has also been linked to other forms of violence against women. They should carefully examine the consequences of the woman shortage, including links to trafficking and other forms of violence against women.Other consequences include social instability, labor market distortions, and economic shifts. More importantly, they need to do much more to tackle the fundamental cause of the demographic imbalance—gender discrimination and the distaste for daughters that it breeds.