Bound Feet and Western Dress

Topics: China, Culture of China, Song Dynasty Pages: 3 (928 words) Published: March 2, 2008
Traditions in Chinese culture are long-rooted and are taken very seriously from generation to generation. However, there must always be room for modern change in order for society to grow and strive across the globe. In Bound Feet and Western Dress the conflict between Chinese traditions and modern change arises. With this conflict it is important to discuss the different meanings of liberation for men and women and they way in which Chang Yu-I was able to obtain liberation throughout her life. Liberation in China means two different things for a man and a woman because of the gender differences that are prevalent. In traditional China women are treated unequally and are simply seen as a piece of property to their husband. They must abide by his demands and remain a slave to his family and traditions. As Yu-I told her niece, "You must remember this. In China, a woman is nothing." For a Chinese man, liberation means becoming stronger, more powerful, and of higher prestige. While with a Chinese woman, liberation means being equal to that of a man and being able to live a life on her own terms rather than that of her husband's. Liberation for a woman is more about being independent and being treated like she is of importance in this society. Traditionally, women are seen to be child-bearers and that is their main role in any marriage. For example, the woman is really only seen to be useful in that she can bare children for her husband, and even at that, the husband wishes that the child be male so that the family name and traditions may be carried on. If the child born is a female than she is seen to be of no use to their family because she will eventually become the property of her husband, his family, and traditions. A woman's liberation is far different from a man's because of the old Chinese traditions that have been established for generations.

Chang Yu-I understood woman's liberation as the tool for changing the Chinese culture. It was...
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