Papi chan, a famous Chinese vlogger and Internet celebrity, gave birth to her child in March. As a result, she was re-defined by Chinese netizens as an “Internet celebrity mom”.
As a well-known vlogger, Papi chan is much more famous and has obviously higher social-economic status than her husband, therefore, some followers regard her as the model of “feminists” and “independent woman” in China.
However, netizens recently found that Papi chan’s child followed his father’s surname. By quoting views relating to feminism from Papi chan, some extreme critics said that Papi chan was a traitor of feminists, betraying Chinese women and becoming a victim of Chinese patriarchal society.
Yet this criticism from extremists was quite absurd for the majority in China. It is not controversial that as a vlogger, Papi chan publishes video content as artistic creations, and her works can not be directly regarded as her own arguements. In her videos, Papi Chan worked in different companies, was in different positions, and had all kinds of families, which was obviously not a true portrayal of her real life.
Regardless of the basic facts above, these debates are also barely related to “feminist”.
Chinese children born in wedlock can inherit the surname of their father or mother. Comparing with the United States and Japan, Chinese wives do not have to and usually do not follow their husband’s surname, which also brings more freedom for their children to choose their surnames. Although most Chinese parents still choose to let their children follow their father’s surname, there are also many parents who allow their mothers’ surnames to appear as part of their children’s first names. For example, a child whose father’s surname is Zhao and mother’s surname is Qian, maybe named “Zhao Qian” or “Zhao Qian x x”, and x is the other part of his name.
In fact, the right of naming children is not a true, or at least not a serious issue of gender inequality in China. These relatively extreme feminists are usually called by the Chinese as “the countryside feminist” , which indicates that their arguements stay in obsolete smallholder economy and are incompatible with urban life and contemporary knowledge frames. These countryside feminists are often mistakenly focusing on non-essential issues, or lacks basic understanding or necessary conceptions, to truly improve the status of Chinese women rather than arguing others blindly.
Earlier, the Countryside Feminists group committed cyber violence against Ke Jie, one of the most famous Chinese Go players who competed with AlphaGo. As a result of the offensive views and aggressive behaviours of the extremists on the Internet, many Chinese social media users tend to draw a line between them and make a pun, which due to the same pronunciation of “feminist” and “female boxing” in Chinese, naming them as “female boxers” to mock them.