Having taken a lifelong vow of chastity, it became the
role of the mother to make her daughter a “self-combed woman.” The daugher would then dress in the red clothes of traditional brides. In addition, to the vow of chastity, the
zishunü women also swore to support their families for the rest of their lives.
Many zishunü women lived in female communities with other zishunü. One widow joined a community and supported her children. This leads me to wonder if many of these women were lesbian.
Some zishunü women collected funds together to build group homes. In 1950, the Bingyutang courtyard, which now hosts the museum, was built in Jun’an, funded by more than 500 zishunü, including 400 having worked in Singapore.
The courtyard used to house over 30 zishunü at one time. But as many passed away or chose to live with their relatives, the Bingyutang has become a site for those still alive to meet and care for the memorial tablets of all their fellows who have passed away.
Samsui Women (Singapore)
These are zishunü women from Guangdong Province who between 1920-1940 emigrated to Singapore. They wore red cloth hats as recognition. They also lived in communities of Samsui women. This again, makes me think that many were lesbians.
Let’s Look at these Happy Women