Leisure Recreation and the Arts

In general, men have more leisure time than their female counterparts. However, region and age intersect with gender to shape patterns of recreation. Urban men of working age socialize with friends and play cards or mah-jongg in their leisure time. Drinking is a unique aspect of their culture, and men often visit pubs where young women, dressed in a highly sexualized manner, serve food and drink. Women, when they have "spare time," shop, participate in community service organizations, and visit temples. Both men and women frequently join relatives and friends in restaurants and visit night markets, a ubiquitous feature of Taiwan's cities and towns, where a variety of traditional food and inexpensive commodities are available. While the elderly may be included in meals with relatives at restaurants, most primarily interact with their contemporaries. Both women and men commonly walk or exercise in parks. Older men also gather in parks or temples to play chess and/or to drink tea and chat. Older women may volunteer to help with chores at local temples, but many care for grandchildren in their homes or do industrial outwork to earn "pocket" money.

In the rural area, married women take care of domestic work and do industrial outwork in their "leisure" time. Men, in contrast, watch television, gather at a local venue to chat, or occasionally visit local pubs with friends or business associates. Older women often chat with friends or play cards during the day, if they have no grandchildren for whom they care. Often, however, like their male counterparts, they farm because young people no longer wish to do this. Regardless of gender, the rural elderly tend to spend their evenings quietly at home.

Young people also spend their leisure time differently. Boys and girls in elementary school occupy different spaces when engaging in extracurricular activities (Yang, 1999). Boys tend to play sports or other physical games outdoors, while girls mainly stay indoors and engage in passive activities. This gender difference is carried into adolescence and early adulthood. Nevertheless, male and female youth share similarities that reflect adolescent culture; "internet caf├ęs" are a favored place to spend leisure time. Given the highly competitive examinations that teenagers must pass to attend senior high school and college, however, the majority spend their "leisure" time at tutoring classes organized to prepare them to surmount these barriers.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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