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Enthnography - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Culture of the Chinese Women China is one of the nations in East Asia that has a wealth of history on the roles of women in the society and it offers a good platform to see the dynamic change in the roles of women from traditional China to the present day…
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If she does something that is considered bad, let her not deny it. Let her bare disgrace and let her endure when others speak evil or do evil to her…always let her seem to tremble and fear” (Rachel, 301). This audacious statement was put together by a respected man in ancient China whose opinion mattered in the courts of law and exerted great influence on the judge’s decision and judgment served to women. This is a brief peak into the setting of China about 2000 years ago. In ancient China, the girl child was always treated with contempt and referred to with disappointment by the men who would tower over them as though they were gods to be served and satisfied by the women. The women were more often than not looked upon as concubines and no woman would claim right, whether legally or morally to be the sole wife of one man. The men had every right to take to themselves as many women as he would to be his multiple wives. The married women would also fall in a hierarchy based on simple factors as, the maid who was most favored by the master would come top of the list. Other bases would be the order in which they were married. To say that women in Chinese history were treated as animals would almost be an understatement since some of the practices were bordering evil. For example, one of the most common practices in ancient China was that of crippling women which started from their childhood where their feet would be bound (Rachel, 305). The arch of each foot would be deliberately broken and the foot tied to prevent it from growing. This would latter lead to a painful hobbling kind of motion for the women and their mobility would be limited to household chores. In the process of time, wealthy households and the non-aristocratic Chinese could not afford to have their women unable to work due to the crippling so they opted to keep them as slaves. They did jobs such as spinning clothes, processing tea and other labour intensive tasks in the home. During these severe times of inequality, there were individuals who arose to show that women were not as useless as deemed and that they could exert a certain degree of influence. For example, in ancient history, the heir to the Chinese throne was taken by a young boy whose mother; ‘Empress Dowager’ was the true ruler (Rachel, 307). Another interesting area to note as the changes in tradition changed overtime, the role of arranging marriages was handed to an aunt or older female relatives. They decided which families would be allied by marriage and who would pay the dowry to whom. In some regions of ancient China an interesting tradition was developed of having groups of 6 to 7 women who would be “sworn-sisters” and they would even develop their language and system of writing to help them communicate amongst themselves. On the onset of the 19th century, there was an outcry of discontentment amongst the Chinese people regarding the roles of the women. However, it was not until the short lived Chinese republic that there was significant progress in the fight for women rights. The rise of communists under the Mao caused a shift in the long held beliefs and traditions that degraded the Chinese people and they were willing to die for their beliefs and one of their goals was to erase the inequality between the men and women once and for all. In these times women worked outside their home, were educated and involved themselves in political matters (Rachel, 309). With the death of Mao the nation moved towards a ... Read More
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