By Paige Jurgensen
Next year, the First Year class will be reading ‘Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China’, by Leslie T. Chang, which is a book that all Hood students should read.
‘Factory Girls’ is a collection of stories from the migrant workers of China. Thousands of young women, usually girls in their mid to late teens, migrate from rural town to the factory city of Dongguan, China. Factory life for migrant girls is simple: work sunup to sunset, eat, sleep in a dormitory within the factory with a dozen other girls; all for a hundred or so dollars a month. Why? Because for girls in China with little opportunities, factory work offers a chance to better their situation. The migrant girls excel in self reliance in a country that holds preference for sons over daughters.
Unfortunately, some of the migrant girls Chang interviews have chosen a life outside of the factory and within “Karaoke Bars” (which is essentially just a brothel where guest sing.)
Chang captures the factory girls’ bravery and determination in her accounts of migrant life. In addition, Chang includes a few of her experiences as an American of Chinese descent in China and stories from her family’s immigration.
When reading ‘Factory Girls’, it’s hard not to speculate on the difference between the migrate factory workers of China to American girls of the same age. The factory girls, some as young as fifteen, leave home, travel across China (often alone), and set up life for themselves; whereas, American teenagers don’t like going to public restrooms alone.
‘Factory Girls’ is definitely a must read.