China in the Classical Era
Dr. George Stone
The gender systems of the Classical era in China can almost be summed up with this phrase: “How sad it is to be a woman!” (Strayer) According to the Chinese traditions when a girl child is born the family is definitely not happy about the birth. The mothers of the girl child must do three things; “first she must make the child sleep under the bed this shows the baby that she is lowly and weak, second she must give the baby a potsherd or a piece of broken pot to play with to make the girl child realize that the only thing in life for her is housework, and thirdly the mother must make an offering to the ancestors when she announces the birth of the girl child.” (Strayer) Chinese women are considered less than men, less than the servants even. She must always humble herself to the man of the family, or her “master”; she is to do whatever the in-laws require her to do as well. The gender system of the Classical era in India is much like China. “In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.” (Strayer) The female in India could never be on her own, her father rules her life as a child, her husband as a wife and if she has male children, she is less than her children if the husband ever dies. She must never be vain, show her face or her body, and woman of India is less than a person because of these rules. The gender system of the Classical era in Rome began very much the same for the females. ”If each man of us, fellow citizens, had established that the right and authority of the husband should be held over the mother of his own family we should have less difficulty with women in general.” (Strayer) In Rome men were expected to rule. This may have come from the fact that in order for Roman men to reproduce they had to pillage other villages and kidnap and rape the captured women. Over that time...
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