Filial Piety Analysis

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The Chinese character for ‘Filial piety’ is xiao (孝). This is the combination of the characters lao (老) which means old, and er zi (儿子) which means son. As the word itself, filial piety implies the male virtue in traditional Chinese society. In this article, Shi explores that the valuation of sons over daughters in rural north-eastern China was shifting toward an obvious preference for daughters as the primary caretakers of natal family. The author discusses the transformation of the gendered practice of filial piety by quoting “A daughter is like a little quilted vest to warm her parents’ hearts” (p.348). Shi further mentions that the change in preference is not based on conventional obligations, but rather, “reinterpreted intergenerational…show more content…
It entails a strong respect and loyalty to one’s parents. According to the Classic of Filial Piety, the fundamental principles of filial practices are being respectful towards one’s parents, offering financial support, and performing ancestor worship after the death of parents. However, due to a weakening of parental power and the influence of China’s market economy, a younger generation less practices “traditional” filial piety. While the general younger generation shows the decline in filial practices, daughter tends to take the main filial responsibility. Shi argues that the change in preference does not mean that the society is feminized. Instead, many elderly parents tend to emphasize an emotional bond, particularly with their daughters. One of the reasons for the increase in the importance of the emotional bond between parents and their children is the transformation of post-marital residence from “patrilocal to neolocal among newly-wed couples” (p.351). Unlike the marriage and residence form in the past, now, most of the new couples are living with neither groom’s family nor the bride’s…show more content…
One of the interviewees states that frequent visits is the best way to show intimate care. As Shi conducted the interviews, the author realizes most married sons who lived in the village does not visit their parents as frequently as does married daughters who also lived in Lijia village. Compared to traditional China, the transportation has become more comfortable and convenient, so distance is no longer a barrier to visit their natal parents. When they visit, daughters express concern for their parents and help with domestic chores while men feel shy about expressing their intimacy for fear “of leaving people with the impression that they were woman-like” (p.353). Daughters are often called as a little quilted vest because of their care, love and intimacy with their parents warmed the hearts of

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