Drugs and Social Transgression: Women and Opium in Canton in the 1930s
Xavier Paulès. Drugs and Social Transgression: Women and Opium in Canton in the 1930s, CCJ Occasional Papers January 2016, 3 https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/CCJ-OCCASIONAL-PAPERS/halshs-01259893
In the 1930s, Cantonese society paid less attention to the women who smoked opium, than to the yanhua 煙花 («flowers of smoke»), the young and pretty waitresses, of modest social pedigree, who prepared pipes for patrons in opium houses. The anxiety about the yanhua had to do with fears of social disorder. Because of their beauty and the effects of the drug, these girls were accused of being the cause of inappropriate downward and upward mobility (respectively, that of the male customers ruined by their immoderate consumption and that of the yanhua who succeeded in seducing and marrying rich patrons).
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