Jemimah Steinfeld is the Literature Festival Manager at the Asia House and author of ‘Little Emperors and Material Girls: Sex and Youth in Modern China’. She started her career in Shanghai, where her interest in Asian culture began. Since then, she has worked at the History Channel in London, gained an MA in Chinese Studies at SOAS and spent a year in Beijing writing for a series of outlets including CNN, Time Out, Vice and The Telegraph.
When was the last time you openly discussed sex with a group of people? Did you ever have that conversation in China? Sex remains a sensitive subject. Chinese authorities and even families would just prefer not to discuss the topic. However, behind China’s economic growth, a once-in-a-generation sexual and cultural revolution is taking place – all in the bars, cafes, and streets of China’s growing mega-cities. This may still remain a taboo for the Chinese authorities but – we need to talk about sex.
Steinfeld spoke in London about this revolution, based on her studies of modern China, especially China’s youth and their attitude towards sexuality. Drawing on individual interviews and scholarly research, her book introduces some of the nation’s young movers and shakers, from single women above the age of 27 who are labelled ‘leftover’, to the nation’s pick-up artists, a man trying to sell sex toys to the rich, an actor trying to make it in “Chollywood” and many more. What drives this new group of people? Love, sex, money or more?