The topic on female gender roles in ancient or modern society has been a complex subject that has many people researching in order to see the difference. This is why I chose this topic to research in order to find out the truth of whether this people have changed or are still following the old traditional ways. The truth is most of the way women in China behave is almost as similar as to how they were in the ancient society. The only major difference that one can find is that the country has been improved by the modern ways. There is a big difference of how the women’s role in China has changed over time. In looking at the roles of women in the modern society, it is very important to look at the history of how they used to be in the ancient times. This comparison will help one to understand the difference of how they are now from the ancient times. The objective for this research is to see the difference of the roles of women in the ancient times and how they have evolved to the modern times.
How have the women’s roles in the modern Chinese society changed?
- How was the role of women in ancient Chinese society?
- How are the roles of women in the modern society?
- Are there any differences or similarities between the roles of women in the modern Chinese society and the ancient?
The objective of this research is to look at how women’s roles in the modern China have changed from the ancient society. The reason for this objective is because there have been reports that some of the roles that used to be performed by women in the ancient society is still being practiced in this day and age.
The role of women in the ancient society
In the ancient china, the men were the dominant people in the society. The women were not given any rights. The women’s main role was to serve men’s every need and desires. They were supposed to be the subordinates for their emperor, husbands, fathers, sons and their brothers. In looking at this, one can see that the women’s status in China at that time was that they were degraded and ranked low in the society. In the ancient society, the male child was considered to be a gift by the people. The girl child endured a lot of hardships a good example is the binding of her feet. The main purpose for binding ones feet was so that they would be crippled in that they would not be able to run.
The binding of the feet was motivated by the Persian dancers. The upper class citizens in ancient china as well as the concubines that belonged to the emperor mostly practised this ritual in the begging then it spread and many people began to do it in the society. According to to the book written by Fan Hong, he believed that it was considered to be a fashion statement to bind feet because it caused the feet to not grow further or be smaller. People believed that having small feet made one look very beautiful. The rulers encouraged this practice so that they could restrict women to stay at home. This also made young girls to do this practice (Hong).
According to Alesina Alberto, when it came to marriages in the ancient China society, the event was arranged in that the girl had no say on the matter. The father usually was the one who had the last say on whom his daughter should be married to in the society. The family of the bride is the one who provided her with the dowry. In the arranged marriage, both of the families end up profiting from the event. There were some instances where the daughters were being sold off most especially by the peasant so that the family can have food at the table. A family that is not well off could sell one of their daughters. The reason for this is because they could not be able to afford to pay the dowries for all their daughters. It is a well-known fact that when these girls are sold they are usually taken to the brothels to be made prostitutes (Alesina et al).
Education and other occupation
In the ancient China, they did not believe in educating the girl child. This therefore, caused most of them to be illiterate except for some of the noble girl children. Their fathers and brothers are the ones who educated these girls. At that particular time, the female scholars did not exist. The only form of education that all the girls had was that of housework and child caring or nurturing. They were taught that this was their work in the society and nothing else. The other things they were educated especially for women from the upper class were about knitting, weaving, sewing and spinning (Alesina et al). There were some women who helped their husbands in the field as farmers. At that time, prostitution was a common thing. These women lived in the brothels. The regular prostitutes were the ones who would sell their bodies to anyone who would pay them. The more talented girls were the ones who were called the courtesan and most of the time they would be paid to sing or perform for people. The influential and rich men were the ones who would take or buy the courtesan and make them their wives or concubines. This occurred because at that time the men were allowed to have more than one wife.
The role of women in the modern society
According to Jinghao Zhou, when China became a communist state, it abolished some of the cultural practices such as polygamy in 1912. This however took longer for it to be implemented by people in the society. In the communism government, it was able to bring about the gender equality and free love when one is getting married. In the 1950s under the marriage law, it was reported that about fifty percent of the people in the rural areas were divorced. This was because of the change in culture where people were marrying without thinking. The communist China wanted to have gender equality but the truth is this never made the women in the society to be respected or made to feel as equals with the men in the society.
Communism made women concentrate more on their jobs rather than their families. To them their work was more important than taking care of their children and husband. During the communism reign in the 20th century the peasant were the ones whose lives changed because before they did not have lands instead they worked for other (Zhou, p.70). They were given some land, which they farmed on. Everything changed for the better for most people even for the women in the society. In the 20th century, that is when women started fighting for their rights. This is because even though communism wanted equality of gender the problem was that most women were still being discriminated against by men in the society.
Education and occupation
In the ancient China, women were not educated but after communism, most women were able to go to school to get education. However, there are still some families in the 20th century who did not take their children to school. Nevertheless, in this day and age most girls are been taken to schools. This is has made the number of literate girls in China to be high. Education has caused women to hold big post in the government and other fields. According to writings of John Bauer, there are still some companies in China that do not employ women or favours the male workers. There are some jobs that are still being male dominated but women have also proven they can do (Bauer et al., p.345). Some of these jobs are engineering and architecture. The economy of China has increased in that now most women concentrate on how they want to be perceived in the society rather than concentrating on the problems, they are facing in the society.
Sharon Wesoky wrote that there are women who are working, as government officials as well as being CEOs of companies and are also able to maintain a family. It is a fact that there are still some women in the modern China who still follow the traditional way of living (Wesoky). The truth is even the society expect the women to still uphold the traditional way of life. This means that women still care for their children and their husbands. There have been many instances where most women give up their jobs in order to be housewives. There are other women who have families that they do not see because of their jobs. This is what brings about problems with the family and some men who continue to believe that women are meant to be at home.
The type of research method to be used in this research is the qualitative research method. In using this method, I will be able to find the exact difference or similarities the roles of women are in the modern china compared to the ancient society. The information for this research will come from the peer reviewed journal articles that have been written. The information will be collected from the library databases and the library catalogues. The citation that will be used in this research will be the MLA citations. The various phases of the research will be completed within two weeks.
The research limitations and problems
The problems will occur when the information provided does not have the current information about how the roles of women in the modern society are in China. This will cause the research not to have the current view of how women have evolved. In not having the information it will cause the research not to tackle the information that is needed in the research. The other problem that will occur is when most information provided in the journals is the same and there is nothing new. This will cause the research to repeat information thus making it not spontaneous and new. This will be like reading the same information provided earlier by other researchers.
In conclusion, the research is about the role of women in the modern China society. The topic is a complex subject that has caused many people to research upon it and provide their different views. In looking at women in the modern society, it is very important also to look at the roles of women in the ancient society. This is because one will be able to see the difference or similarities there are between the two.
Alesina, Alberto et al. On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough. Oxford University Press, 2013. Print
Bauer, John et al. Gender inequality in urban China: Education and Employment. Sage Publications, (1992): 333-370. Print
Hong, Fan. Footbinding Feminism and Freedom: The Liberation of Women's Bodies in Modern China. Routledge, 2005. Print
Wesoky, Sharon. Chinese Feminism Faces Globalization. New York: Routledge, 2002. Print
Zhou, Jinghao. "Keys to Women’s Liberation in Communist China: An Historical Overview." Journal of International Women's Studies (2003): 67-77. Print