Women in ancient China

Topics: Marriage, Family, China Pages: 2 (453 words) Published: May 31, 2014
Ancient China- Female roles
Women in ancient China lived oppressed lives under the constant pressure to live and work by the rules and expectations set by the society around them. Women in ancient China were given no right to have a say in anything; not how much work they had to do, why they had to bind their feet, who they had to marry or why men were so superior. Nothing. Women were expected to do all the household jobs such as cleaning, cooking, preparing the ancestral offerings and child rearing. Confucius taught that “a woman’s greatest duty is to bear a son”.

Ancient Chinese women’s marriages were arranged by her family, without any of her input, to advance themselves socially, politically or financially. The final decision of who the daughter married was always left up to the father as males were considered far more intelligent and superior to women. Once the girl was married she served tea to her mother-in-law as a sign showing that she now belonged to her husband’s family. From there women were treated as slaves in the family for the rest of their lives.

Women in ancient Chinese society were seen as servants of their mother-in-laws as they were forbidden to disobey her orders. In peasant families where women worked to gain more respect, and where they were most respected, women helped harvest the crops to produce the community’s food alongside their husbands. This meant that they were treated with higher respect than the women in richer families, where they were just seen as entertainment to men. Although women were treated with higher respect in peasant families they were still at the very bottom of the social society, especially when compared to men.

Another way women tried to improve their position in ancient Chinese society was by binding their feet. Foot binding was a symbol that a family was wealthy, as girls with bound feet walked with difficulty so they would definitely not be able to work, which girls in richer families didn’t do...
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