Kavitha Duvoor CM 2182
Modern China – Section 2
From Filial to Freedom
Throughout most of China's history, women where never considered apart of society.
general women were treated as objects and were never asked of their opinions, thoughts or
Due to the fact that as time changes, the human race develops; it is clear that things
would eventually change for them.
Indeed, after the May Fourth Movement in 1919, women
started to gain a better lifestyle and more rights.
It is important to examine the responses of
Chinese women to the changing political and social standings in China.
The books: The Man
Awakened from Dreams
by: Henrietta Harrison, Bound Feet and Western Dress
Natasha Chang, and Lust, Caution
by: Eileen Chang, can be used to exemplify the transitions
different women had towards the drastic modernization China underwent during the twentieth
Under the orthodox Confucian view, women did not have as many rights as men did.
Their role in life consisted of marrying at a young age, giving birth to a son, being a housewife,
and taking care of their in-laws, husband, and children.
Furthermore, a woman was not able to
choose a husband of her own, instead it was the role of the daughter and sons parents, as well as
a fortune teller to see if the marriage would be fit.
Once married it was the wife’s duty to obey
the filial piety.
Classic of Filial Piety
says that of the three thousand crimes that are
punishable by death, banishment, detention, or fines, not one is greater than not being filial.
Dinghai’s wife was not filial to her mother-in-law.
Her sin was great, so it is no wonder she was
executed by Heaven.” (Henrietta 2005). This quote shows how strict the Confucian laws were
towards not only men but to women as well because they believed that if a women did not fulfill