This is either a feat of marketing genius or one of the most offensive tourist ideas since Hooters. This week brings news (via Ananova) that the Chinese are building something called "Woman Town" -- a place where women make all the decisions and disobedient men are punished. The innovative township will be built on 2.3 square miles inside the Shuangqiao district in the Chongqing municipality. To be carved into the town gates: "A woman never makes a mistake. A man can never reject a woman's request."
Is China creating the town as a radical social experiment? Don't bet on it. Given that women are generally presumed to spend more money in recreational shopping, it sounds more like a calculation to incite shop-till-you-drop mania. As the local tourist director told the Chongqing Morning News, "In any tour group entering this town, female members would play the deciding role, concerning shopping and other items of the itinerary."
The idea of a Disneyland of bossy, credit-card-wielding ladies will no doubt prove unappealing to plenty of women (not to mention men) who imagine that they don't need a tourist trap to experience a little gender parity. But in a country where, as the saying goes, "it is better to have a dog than a daughter," and women are often treated as second-class citizens, it may hold some serious allure.
It may also resonate. Some parts of China actually have a history of real matriarchal culture. Among the Mosuo people on the Tibetan plateau, tradition dictates that women not only head their households and hold the purse strings but choose their sexual partners rather than marrying.
China's "Woman Town" may prove fun in some campy sort of way; the planners have already devised "punishments" for disobedient men, including washing dishes in restaurants. And if we can believe the Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative, which just published a book (thanks Feministing) called "Porn for Women," featuring pictures of sensitive guys cooking and cleaning, letting women see their men perform housework may turn the "Woman Town" into a steaming caldron of unleashed female libido.