Chinese culture generally designates the man as the bread-earner and the woman as the family caretaker. The Chinese also viewed femininity and virility in complementary terms but also as a hierarchical pair of yin (negative) and yang (positive) (“Yin and Yang”). The long history of Confucian indoctrination and imperial endorsement reinforced these notions that men were strong and women weak, men smart and women unintelligent, and many other comparisons.

 Before the early 1900’s, there was a prominent male domination in the country of China. Women were deprived of all rights and were present to serve men. Marriages were arranged, sometimes preparing a female from infancy to serve her future husband. This can be seen most effectively by the practice of foot binding (Crites). Foot binding became a tradition during the eleventh century (Wikipedia). By the time a girl became three or four years of age her mother would tightly wrap her daughter’s feet in bandages with her toes tucked under the soles of her feet.  In fact, it was preferred that the foot around three inches in length. On top of this excruciating pain, the bandages would be tightened each day. There are many cases that if a woman’s feet were not bound she was considered unsuitable for marriage. (Crites)

There is an old saying that goes, “A woman who lacks talent is virtuous.” This is reflected in the ancient Chinese men who looked down upon women. Women could only stay at home to take care of the housework and nurture her child. Moreover, women were not allowed go out in public and not required to have knowledge, thus women did not attend school. In order to consolidate masculine status, women need to obey the three obediences: obey her father as a daughter, her husband as a wife, and her son when widowed. The four virtues for a woman are morality, proper speech, modest manner, and diligent needlework. We called such morality as "three from the four virtues". Furthermore, punishment is used to suppress women’s thoughts and actions for "offending the seven rules" (disobeying parents, having no kids, lechery, disability, jealousness, gossip, and theft). Therefore women do not have autonomy, being dependent on men forever. (Wikipedia)

 Xiaoxue’s Bibliography


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