Ban Zhao and Fu Hao Comparison

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The social rank of women in medieval Chinese history is generally seen through common glass throughout today’s uninformed students. But there is a stark contrast in this social position between Fu Hao and the ideal women described by Ban Zhao. The imperial historian Ban Zhao has constructed or at least compiled a set of rules, or doctrine, for women. Within this doctrine, is the appropriate manner and guideline for which women to follow and abide by. These rules do not give much to the women save for unrelenting humility and servitude. But, on the other end of the spectrum, is our lady-general Fu Hao. Through archaeological evidence, it is maintained that Fu Hao must have been a woman of extreme power and stature. Relying solely on relics and artifacts from her tomb does not hinder in any way the interpretation of her divergence from Ban Zhao’s code of conduct. The disparity of these two images is easily noticed, and rendering their definition in relation to each other is comparable to the clarity in a zebras stripes.

Ban Zhao’s precept of women in society is not too uncommon with that of other phenotypical representations from women in other ancient societies. That is, the aspects of humility and the duties from a husband and wife relationship were, and even still are common to this day. In her culture, and many others, the wife is seen as a nurturer, as well as servant. This servitude can be even seen in today’s culture. The stay-at-home mom works and lives in the house walls and performs the same duties as her archaic counterparts, and this is true despite the major advances in technology and science. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry can be considered all main functions of this ideal mom. It is safe to assume that in Ban Zhao’s time, more women if not all had to assume this homely position. But, at the beginning of her paragraph of “Husband and Wife” is a subtle religious connotation. “The Way,” she wrote, “is intimately connected with Yin and Yang.” The...
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