household servants in urban families. City-dwellers' prejudices against these girls show that not only is there a divide between the city and the country, but also one between urban women and rural women. The often educated urban women who are invariably the employers of rural domestic servants often look down upon the latter's low level of education and lack of manners and quite easily suspect rural girls of being prostitutes or thieves (see Link, chapter 5). The urban/rural gap between women is also the topic of chapter 3 in Link's book: urban women tend to condescend to rural women, even when the former want to help the latter out of their helpless situations---that is, the routine sufferings from "coercion, force, and violence" from men who impose their will in "matters related to arrangement of marriages, household discipline, sexuality, and other sensitive areas" (Link, 60-61).
How rural women are disadvantaged by the market economy
The growth of the commercial economy in China seems to enforce gender inequality that dates back to pre-Communist China. Paradoxically, despite all the political movements to bring forth a new culture, Communist China has failed to stem certain traditional practices it set out to end, such as arranged marriages and patriarchal rule of the family in rural China. With a commercial economy, more and more rural households find themselves that money is tight, and so they arrange marriages for their daughters in order to get cash from the bride money given by the groom's family. Often women are married to men who live in far away places because their natal villages are poor and their parents do not have much of a choice when it comes to deciding who (and where) their daughters can marry. This situation reinforces male dominance over the new wives because they do not have the support of their natal homes in their new environment. The household responsibility system in the countryside (contracting state land to individual peasant households) has led to greater efficiency in farming and allowed many men to flock to work in the cities, leaving their women behind to take care of the land and the household. Men seeking extramarital affairs or harassing the women who are left behind by their husbands in the village often go unpunished by law or village authority, while women who commit adultery are often severely punished by their spouses, reflecting the legacy of the traditional patriarchal society (see Link, chapter 3).
Urban Chinese women and the economic reform
In contrast to their rural counterparts, young, educated urban women seem to have endless possibilities waiting for them, which they embrace with dreamy eyes as seen on page 138 (in Link) in the picture of the cover girl for the magazine The Young Generation. The urban woman is a far cry from the rural woman and from her predecessor, the reeducated girl high school graduate back in the 1960s-1970s (for comparison, see the picture on page 142). Revolutionary expectations are no longer there. Very few Chinese in their early twenties (born around 1980) know what the Cultural Revolution was. Both urban men and women have been educated through commercials via television and other forms of mass media on how to consume and build up an individual identity through the choices of material goods. Magazines are an important source in teaching the young how to build an identity based on material consumption and in addressing their increasing quest to understand society and themselves. Numerous