Maggots In The Rice

What is your value?  What is my value? Are we equals? What makes one life worth more than another?

Photgraphed by Carina Reimers

Maggots In The Rice by Sarah Whyte

I am a maggot in the rice

 

That is my name

 

My name refers to the burden of girls and the preference for sons

 

I am a burden because my parents feed me but

than I am going to marry off and take care of the husband's family

 

But if I am not married by the time I reach 25 or

older than I will be considered a leftover woman

 

Of course my parents in China would want both a son and a daughter but for a long time there

was the one child policy which was strictly enforced through fines or in ways that we may consider inhumane like forced abortions

 

So here I am a maggot in the rice

 

Or should I say less than a maggot

 

Because I was abandoned

Photgraphed by Carina Reimers

What is a Maggot? 

 

Dictionary Deffinition:

1. maggot(Noun)
A soft, legless larva of a fly or other dipterous insect, that often eats decomposing organic matter.

2. maggot(Noun)

A term of insult for a 'worthless' person, as if a bug.

Maggots in the Rice video collaboration 

Abdullah Quick: Director/ Cinematographer, Sarah Whyte : Actor/Narration/Writing, Levi Demettteo: Sound Design

Pictures from the live performance of Maggots in the Rice, the value and the act of hand sewing  thousands of grains of rice to a cheongsam

Phtographed by Jeremy Subewski

Phtographed by Jeremy Subewski

Phtographed by Jeremy Subewski

Phtographed by Jeremy Subewski

The dress currently has over 1,500 hand sew grains of rice attached to the dress

Materials: Rice, Thread and Cheongsam

Maggots in the Rice is an ongoing project started in 2017 and was last updated in 2020

Research/Resources:

Video

1995 Documentry The Dying Rooms, 38min: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd_nptd2q0M

2015, From 'Iron Girls' to 'Leftovers' - Independent Women in China, 31min+41sec:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QarOjjKfseo

2016, SK-II: Marriage Market Takeover, 4min+16sec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irfd74z52Cw

Reading

Banister, Judith. “SHORTAGE OF GIRLS IN CHINA TODAY.” Jstor Journal of Population Research, Springer, 2004,

www.jstor.org/stable/41110780.

Branigan, Tania. “China's Great Gender Crisis.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2 Nov. 2011, www.theguardian.com/world/2011/nov/02/chinas-great-gender-crisis.

“China's Leftover Women: A Case Study.” Theories of Global Cultural Studies Fall 2013, 23 Nov. 2013, blogs.stlawu.edu/gs302fall2013/2013/11/23/chinas-leftover-women-a-case-st/.

Coonan , Clifford. “China's One-Child Policy: Doctors Discover 23 Sewing Needles in Womans.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 17 Sept. 2007, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/chinas-one-child-policy-doctors-discover-23-sewing-needles-in-womans-head-5329247.html.

Evans, Karin. The Lost Daughters of China: Adopted Girls, Their Journey to America, and the Search for a Missing Past. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2008.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/348506/the-lost-daughters-of-china-by-karin-evans/9781585426768/

Johnson, Kay Ann. China's Hidden Children: Abandonment, Adoption, and the Human Costs of the One-Child Policy. The University of Chicago Press, 2017.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26153676-china-s-hidden-children

Johnson, Kay, et al. “Infant Abandonment and Adoption in China.” Population and Development Review, vol. 24, no. 3, 1998, p. 469.

 doi:10.2307/2808152.

Joyce, Kathryn. “The Truth About China's Missing Daughters.” The New Republic, 1 June 2016, newrepublic.com/article/133845/truth-chinas-missing-daughters.

Larson, Christina. “The Startling Plight of China's Leftover Ladies.” Foreign Policy, 2012, foreignpolicy.com/2012/04/23/the-startling-plight-of-chinas-leftover-ladies/.

Liu, Jihong. “Factors Affecting Adoption in China, 1950-87.” Factors Affecting Adoption in China, 1950-87, Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on Behalf of the Population Investigation Committee, 2004, www.jstor.org/stable/4148245.

Oleck, Joan. “'Leftover Women' Documentary Chronicles the Story of China's Attack on Unmarried Professional Women.” Entrepreneur, 30 Apr. 2019,

www.entrepreneur.com/article/332975.

Singh , Ajay. “Why Educated, Professional Women in China Aren’t Marrying – New Book Explores the ‘Leftover Women’ Phenomenon.” South China Morning Post, 3 Mar. 2018, www.scmp.com/culture/books/article/2135413/why-educated-professional-women-china-arent-marrying-new-book-explores.

Thakur, Ravni. “Women's Studies in China Today.” Jstor, Economic and Political Weekly, 21 Oct. 2006, www.jstor.org/stable/4418836.

Thurston, Anne F. “In a Chinese Orphanage.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Oct. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/04/in-a-chinese-orphanage/376563/.

Usher, Pip. “Unmarried and Over 27? In China, That Makes You a ‘Leftover Woman.’” Vogue, Vogue, 26 May 2017,

www.vogue.com/article/sheng-nu-leftover-women-sk-ii-viral-video.

Waley, Arthur. The Book of Songs. Grove, 1978.

https://books.google.com/books?id=sJVlJScXU00C&source=gbs_similarbooks

Yang, Yang. “Chinese Couples Want Boys - Trust Me, I'm a Fertility Doctor.” Sixth Tone, 14 Apr. 2018,

www.sixthtone.com/news/1002092/chinese-couples-want-boys-%E2%80%94-trust-me%2C-im-a-fertility-doctor.