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Asian Journal of Women's Studies

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Sophia and Coco are two characters in Ding Ling's Miss Sophia's Diary (1928/1995) and Wei Hui's Shanghai Baby (1999), respectively. Like a larva, Sophia, who enters society in the early twentieth century, is weak and immobile. Coco, who lives at the end of the twentieth century, is like a butterfly leading an outlandish lifestyle. The differences between Sophia and Coco reflect the achievement of official feminism, which liberated Chinese women from traditional patriarchal control in the social sense. However, gender issues for women remain unresolved. To fight against traditional patriarchy and especially challenge gender oppression in official feminism, both Sophia and Coco boldly acknowledge and pursue sexual desire. Their feminist discourses are both commendable and controversial, given their situations and the times in which they live.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Asian Journal of Women's Studies in 2011, available online: