The Golden Orchid Society
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The Golden Orchid Society

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Research final paper on golden orchid society

Research final paper on golden orchid society

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The Golden Orchid Society The Golden Orchid Society Presentation Transcript

  • The Golden Orchid Society Final Presentation Professor Lafont By: Vincent Chow
  • Ancient China’s culture
    • Patrilinieal society
    • Men inherited family property, considered superior
    • Polygyny was accepted as norm
    • Women was oppressed
  • Women in 19 th century China
    • Had arranged marriages where they did not meet future spouse until wedding
    • Regarded as property
    • Treated like servants
    • Expected to be subservient
  • Birth of Golden Orchid Society
    • In 1800’s foreign silk production started to develop in Guangdong province of China
    • Offered employment opportunities to women
    • Women started to earn own income for self and families
    • Found other jobs such as servants, nannies
    • Viewed marriage as shameful and postponed arrange marriages and some even indefinitely
  • Avoiding heterosexual marriage
    • Women that were involved in an arrange marriage would refuse to live in their husbands house
    • On the day of the wedding, refuse to have intercourse, and then will go back to her natal family
    • This woman is now considered lost to her husband, and which ensured her freedom because she is “unmarriageable” material
  • Golden Orchid Society
    • Women formed Golden Orchid Society
      • Started in late Qing dynasty around 1644 though it may have started earlier
      • Rich and poor women wanted to escape oppressive society
      • Took vows to never marry a man or they will commit suicide
      • Desired to marry women
      • Groups of women formed pacts and sisterhoods
      • Sisters lived together
      • Some members may form sexual relationships
  • Alias
    • This society was known by a couple of other names:
      • Heart to heart friends
      • Making Friends
      • Association for mutual admiration
      • Mutual Admiration Society
      • Workmates society
  • Changes In China
    • With the boom in China’s economics, they started to use women in more advertisements
  • Marriage
    • Courtship is similar to heterosexual couples
    • When a woman wanted to marry another woman she would give gifts such as peanut candy, honey dates, and tea to the one she was wooing, and the family
    • If family accepts, then there will be an engagement and a contract is drawn
  • Marriage
    • The woman would wear traditional Chinese red gowns
    • They would change their hairstyle from long braids to buns to signify that they were married.
    • To the right is a picture of a married woman
  • Marriage
    • Traditional marriages would have the bride to be in the carriage carrying to their partner’s house
    • They used red for that day because they believe it brings good luck
  • Family
    • This same-sex couple can start a family
    • Adoption of abandoned/orphaned girls were allowed
    • The couple is devoted to one another and their child, and is accepted by their family
    • Their natal family would accept this same-sex marriage because fear of being publicly humiliated
  • Adoption
    • This same-sex family can even adopt girls to pray for them when they die
    • These girls will have to take on the Golden Orchid Oath
    • They will inherit this same-sex couples properties
  • Consequences
    • There were terrible punishments if one or both partners of this same-sex marriage was found to be unfaithful, changed their minds, or “turn their backs” on their partner
    • This partner would be beaten and publicly humiliated
    • Marriage and the Golden Orchid oath was not to be taken lightly
  • Religion
    • Buddhism in ancient China was one of the prevalent religions
    • Reincarnation was believed and thought that a couple from a previous life could have reincarnated into 2 females
    • According to this belief, they are destined to be married to each other and therefore lesbianism was tolerated and accepted.
  • Current status
    • Golden Orchid Society does not exist today
    • Members of the society are in their late 80’s-90’s and can be found in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong
    • They fled Guangdong to other parts of China when rebels started to attach their association to overthrow Manchu Emperor in hopes of restoring the Ming Dynasty
  • Current Status
    • In today’s society, Golden Orchid sisters to Chinese people means best friends, sisters that you would die for, and lost its association with lesbianism
  • What did I learn?
    • Religion and the power of unity can overcome the most traditional of societies
    • Same-sex marriages were accepted in this patrilineal society
    • The “sisters” appointed their own descendants to take care of them, their graves, their ceremonial burial, and their estates when they die
  • References
    • Heckethorn, Charles William. The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries. New York: Cosimo, 2005 (PP 132-134).
    • http://colorq.org/Articles/article.aspx?d=qhistory&x=chistory
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_marriage
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qipao
    • http://www.romanization.com/books/giles/civilization/chap03.html
  • References
    • ■ Ohana, R. The Golden Orchid Society. Available from: http://www.rainbowrumpus.org/htm/political09.htm
    • Sullivan, Andrew. Same-sex Marriages Pro and Con: A Reader. New York: Vintage Books, 1997 (PP 24-26).