The roles of men and women in this story are quite rigid, therefore allowing women little room to go against society. This is due in part to the economy, which does not permit much movement for neither race nor gender. Therefore, when one is born into a class they must conform to its standards. Women are generally given more rights and freedoms if they provide a direct economic function in society, such as owning and managing property to produce goods. Most of the property was passed down from father to son, though, and women had no rights. That is why the fathers had to decide on a dowry to marry off their daughters. Economically, men fulfill the "important" roles while women work "behind the scenes," raising children and taking care of the household. These "simple" jobs that women perform cause them to be dependent on men, and relegate them into a subordinate position. Society's attitude of women being weak and dependent, while men are strong and in control, stems from the roles they are obligated to fulfill.
Women are restricted to these roles because the idea of what a "good" woman or man should be becomes so ingrained into the culture. Society condemns that which is different, mainly due to fear, making it difficult for anyone to go against its belief systems. In the story, both the men and the women are really against the idea of the footbinding deep down. When asked if it will hurt, Tiger Mouse tells Pleasure Mouse that perhaps "the pain is so great... [continues]
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