Confucian Values In Imperial China

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Traditional Chinese culture has historically been male-centred. In Imperial China, politics and business were almost entirely the affairs of men, while women were typically restricted to the home. Patriarchal values were even reinforced through religious experiences and ancestral worship, as the ancestors to whom an imperial emperor would make sacrifices to were almost exclusively patrilineal ancestors (Ebrey 18). When women were recorded in the early Chinese historical record, it was generally because they were considered to have caused problems for their male counterparts. For example, in Gender and Sinology: Shifting Western Interpretations of Footbinding, the author recalls a story recorded during the Zheng dynasty when the daughter of…show more content…
The rise of Confucian values in imperial China led to the segmentation of gender in terms of yin and yang. Women were equated with a soft and passive yin, and men were associated with a dominating and assertive yang (Hong 25-27). The theory of yin and yang that dominated the writing of the period conceptualized a natural division between men and women, which supported a sense of segregation between men and women (Holmgren 27). In Images of Women, Meng Zi’s mother was quoted: “That is to say, a woman should not determine affairs for herself but instead, should be guided by the three followings: When young, she follows her father and mother; when she enters into marriage, she follows her husband; when her husband passes away, she follows her son. This is proper decorum,” (Wang Robin…show more content…
With the growth and development of new social forces in that period, a powerful camp made its appearance in the bourgeois-democratic revolution, a camp consisting of the working class, the student masses and the new national bourgeoisie.” Together, these two movements sought to confront traditional Chinese values and began to introduce new values to China such as freedom and equality. In terms of women’s empowerment, these movements provided a new social environment in which women had the opportunity to begin the process of removing themselves from the historically male-dominated Chinese society into one that allowed for their development both intellectually and physically. The firm stance against footbinding during this time arguably held a huge rule in the achievement of this newfound female freedom. The New Culture Movement of 1915 and the May Fourth Movement of 1919 played an instrumental role in inspiring Chinese women to fight for their rights in the new

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