Not worth the cost of the rice it takes to feed her.
Chinese women have traditionally been considered dispensable. Before communism came to power, women were viewed as servants. According to Chinese history, the birth of a son brought great fortune to the family, while the birth of a daughter was seen as a terrible burden. An ancient Chinese proverb says, “It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters.” Families wept when a girl was born, because she was an unnecessary expense. In ancient China, the sale of wives and daughters was completely legal. It was common for a family to sell the daughters to support the family.
When communism took over China in 1949, they immediately outlawed the sale of daughters and gave women the freedom to work outside the home. The famous Communist leader, Mao Zedong, elevated the status of women, saying that females “hold up half the sky.” The women of China were ecstatic – communism had given them equality. Or rather, it tried.
Communism really did try to give women equality. But equality wasn’t enough, because even today Chinese women are still being sold, killed and abused by the millions. The laws changed, but the underlying mindset did not.
Communism not only promoted women’s rights, but also sought to raise the availability of food, employment and education by decreasing the size of the Chinese population. The infamous One-Child Policy was implemented in 1980 and the resulting issues reveal the truth about China’s mindset toward women.
When families were limited to one child, the overwhelming majority wanted a boy. Sons give back to the family in wages and would take care of the aging parents, while daughters were seen as a liability that was expensive to marry off. Extreme measures were taken to have a son. Gender-selective abortions became commonplace, female infanticide skyrocketed, baby girls were abandoned by the millions, and parents sold unwanted daughters to traffickers for a profit.
Today, the Chinese government boasts that the One-Child Policy has prevented over 400 million births, but what they don’t say is that a majority of those never born were girls. This disdain for females has also created a massive influx of women and girls into China’s sex trade. On the flip side, the consistent preference for male children over females is quickly leading to a generation of men who have no wives to marry. Experts predict that by 2020, China will have 40 million more single young men than available women. Contrary to assumptions, this gender imbalance did not result in women being valued and treasured as equals, but simply raised their price as a commodity to be bought and sold.
Why? Because the underlying mindset never changed.
No government law will end the sex trade in China. No agenda will liberate Chinese women from their suffering. No revolution can save Chinese girls from exploitation or death. It’s all been tried. It’s all failed.
How do women gain worth?
The answer isn’t equality. It is imagery.
A person’s worth is not based on the fact that they are male or that they are female, but that they were created in the image of God. It is the divine image that gives worth to a human being. It is for this reason that God says all life is sacred – because it bears His image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”(Genesis 1:27) Raymond Ortlund, Jr. explains, “Line one asserts the divine creation of man. We came from God. Line two overlaps with line one, except that it highlights the divine image in man. We bear resemblance to God. Line three affirms the dual sexuality of mankind. We are male and female.” God created Adam and Eve the same kind (human) but distinct (male and female), displaying God’s glory with equal brilliance.
The only thing that sets men and women apart from animals is this image-bearing quality. Ortlund says, “Man is unique, finding his identity upward in God and not downward in the animals.” So, when God is eliminated from law, government, and society, people become no better than animals to be used and exploited for selfish gain.
Imagery does not mean man and women are themselves little gods, but that humans alone were created to reflect their Creator. According to Rebecca Jones, author of Does Christianity Squash Women, “Our male and female qualities reflect something of who God is. God is the sun in the sky, and humans are the lamp in the underworld.”
Men and women are equal in worth because they equally reflect God’s image to the world. “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.”(Genesis 5:2) Equal in worth does not mean equal in entitlement or in function. In Christ we have no rights, having already been given more than we deserve – the forgiveness of sins. Equal in worth does not mean we all have the same function, rather that our function is determined by God (not sinful humans) regarding how we serve and glorify Him.
Imagery leads to equality. Worth is not based on gifting, talents or the ability to give back, but on the One being reflected.
The only proven cure for the abuse and exploitation of women? Jesus Christ
Jesus instructed husbands to love their wives as He loved the church (Eph. 5:22-33). God names Himself as protector of the husband-less and father-less (Ps. 9:9, 68:5, 146:9). The Lord commands his church to care for oppressed women and children (James 1:27, Deut. 24:17-22). God gave both men and women authority to rule the earth (Genesis 1:28). Christ died to save both men and women from their sins (Romans 5:6-8). God called both men and women to use their giftings in the church (Titus 2:1-7).
The solution to the terrible degradation of women in China isn’t a law mandating equality, an agenda or a revolution to “free women.” To change the mindset, the heart must be redeemed.
What’s a woman worth? The blood of Jesus Christ