In her ethnographic book, Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace, Pun Ngai examines an emergent social body, the Chinese dagongmei, who essentially, are the rural migrant girls who work in the global capitalist industries. While conducting her study at Meteor Electronics Factory she had the chance to experience the recruitment process during which one of the labor recruiters made the following statement regarding the criterion used to determine whether or not the young ladies would be hired: “It depends on her willingness to be dagongmei – working little sister (Ngai 53).”
Pun extricates the power relationships that ensnare this new gendered class of workers. The patriarchal Chinese culture and the requirements of the global capitalist market are particularly the cardinal issues that the dagongmei has to deal with. Accordingly, these young ladies had to master certain transgressive skills to perform collective or individual acts of resistance to the exploitation and coercion they experienced in the factories in pursuit of their ambition to stay in the city and delay inevitable marriages.
On the other hand, the dagongmei are compelled to renegotiate their gender roles and performance in their families which support their migration into the city while at the same time sabotaging their efforts to leave (Ngai 54). Accordingly, there is a complex relationship between resistance and dominance that can barely be dichotomized when analyzing the struggles that this gendered working class has to face in their rural family settings and in their workplaces in the urban centers.
It is based on these tough realities that the dagongmei has to brave that the labor recruiter believes that willingness is critical to determining whether or not the lady is hirable. Indeed, without a strong will, young ladies are likely to be subdued by the strong patriarchal culture that pre-defines the role of the woman and the coercion of the global capital factories. Imperatively, the lives and experiences of the dagongmei project future formations of social resistance and the emergence of a quiescent social revolution.