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Chinese society

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (800 words)
Categories: Society
Downloads: 31
Views: 1

The woman’s divergent role of wife consists in being married but also procuring her own state within this new family, as such she must in some capacity wield power over this new home, It consists in subverting and disrupting the family form that most Chinese men hold dear—the family that grows from generation to generation without interruption and without division. Sons, their wives, and their children should live in harmony under the guidance of the eldest male.

The goals and desires of young married women conflict with this ideal, and it is largely their machinations that prevent its attainment.

The power women have is their capacity to alter a family’s form by adding members to it, dividing it, and disturbing male authority; the danger they pose is their capacity to break up what men consider the ideal family (Ahern 1975; 200). Thus the yin and yang role of women; their capacity for both great harm and great good is realized in their dual role of provider of progeny and destroyer of homes.

The woman must however exert control through this capacity in order to not be subversive to the husband and in order to be treated if not completely as an equal then feared as a sorceress (Ahern 1975; 199). The woman is a source of strength in her ability to disrupt the home. Women have the capacity even during menopause to continue as Margaret Wolf has defined, to recall the women’s community so that the woman’s own interest are kept in the forefront of the filial home.

Women in this capacity have the uncanny ability to influence the husbands’ decision making capabilities. As such, the women’s community is designed in a loose and convergent group of women who each live in the same village. Within the women’s community the ability of the woman to exchange information is seen quite readily in the social setting of washing clothes. The affairs of men are exchanged at such sites, “Because, according to tenets accepted by everyone, to be talked about is to lose face, women affect men’s behavior merely by talking about them” (Ahern 1975; 201).

Thus, when a husband’s actions are not in accordance with his wife’s wishes she will talk about him enabling the family to lose face. Thus, the chain of gossip is a strong weapon inherent in Chinese society that women use in order to persuade the family affairs to consider her point of view above everyone else’s point of view, “No matter how well-ensconced men are in the established positions of power, they surreptitious influence of women remains beyond their capacity to control” (Ahern 1975; 201).

Thus, even though women’s capacity for power is rather uninfluential during her prepubescent years and during menopause during her stage of life when she is just married she exerts control using her own device of choice (communication, and the ability to bear children). The Chinese woman is able to shape the future of the family by producing a filial line of progeny and continuous male descendents will ensure that the family is remembered and worshipped after they have passed.


It may be best surmised in the transition from one Dynasty to the next Chinese women have metamorphosed into a stronger gender. Their association with sorcery through their control of their own uterine family may be tied with rural culture but the fact remains that Chinese women are redefining their role in an unequal society. The Chinese woman’s power is found strictly in family matters and their provisions with that family. Women have defined their role in Chinese society through their persuasion of the uterine family which is a strong break from traditions of foot binding.

Women have also been ensconced with the paradigm of them being unclean and as polluters. This is counter to their strong role in the uterine family and in fact stands in irony of it. The uterine family is where a woman finds her strength but it is in the process of creating that family of giving birth that the concept of being unclean stands very clear. A pregnant woman has been discussed as having unnatural powers (either good or bad but mostly inclining toward nefarious dealings) and even the child after birth needs to be clean.

In this dual nature of woman both as a figurehead and as a polluter is the yin and yang of this gender as it relates to Chinese society.

Work Cited

An introduction to Chinese culture through the family. (2001). Edited by H. Giskin and B. S. Walsh. Albany : State University of New York Press. Evans, H. (1997). Women and sexuality in China : female sexuality and gender since 1949. New York : Continuum. Freedman, M. (1966). Chinese lineage and society. London, Athlone P. ; New York, Humanities P.

Cite this essay

Chinese society. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/chinese-society-651-new-essay

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