Chapter : 2. The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China

The Nation And Its Heroes

The Nation And Its Heroes
(i) Women as Rebels : Women in Vietnam enjoyed greater equality than in China, but they had only limited freedom to determine their future and played no role in public life. As the nationalist movement grew the status of women come to be questioned and a new image of womanhood emerged. Writers and political thinkers begun idealising women who rebelled against social norms.
(ii) Heroes of Past Times : A play was written on the base of the Trung sisters who had fought against Chinese domination. In this play the writer depicted them as patriots fighting to save the Vietnamese nation from the Chinese. After Phan’s play the Trung sister came to be idealised and glorified. They were depicted in paintings, plays and the novels as representing the indomitable will and the intense patriotism of the Vietnamese.
Another woman was Trieu Au who was orphaned in childhood. She lived with her brother in the jungles and organised a large army and resisted Chinese rule. At last when her army was crushed, she drowned her self. She became a sacred figure, not just a martyr who fought for the honour of the country.
(iii) Women as Warriors : In the 1960s photographs in magazines showed women as brave fighters. They were shown shooting down planes. Some stories spoke of their incredible bravery in single handedly killing the enemy. Nguyen Thi Xuam, was honoured to have shutdown a jet with just twenty bullets.
Between 1965 and 1975, of the 17,000 youth who worked on the trail, 70 to 80 percent were women. One military historian argues that there were is million women in the regular army, the militia, the local forces and professional teams.
(iv) Women in Times of Peace : By the 1970s, as peace talks began to get under way and the end of the war seemed near, women were not represented as warriors. Now they are shown working in agricultural cooperatives, factories and production units rather than a fighter.

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