Women’s Role in China
"The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: 'It's a girl.'"
Women have had changing roles in every society for centuries. Depending on the country, some women have had a harder time achieving equality. One of these countries is China. These women have faced such obstacles as foot binding to concubines. Until the twentieth century women were not considered equals in their society.
Many cruel things were done to women in ancient china that are considered unfathomable in other countries. According to Confucius women weren’t equal to men because they were unworthy or incapable of literary education. This was as much as he mentioned women because it was such a natural idea to him that there was no need to mention it, as other early Chinese writers and theorists thought. Women were only considered property and had to obey their brothers and fathers no matter what. Fathers also despised their daughters to the point where instead of being named they were considered daughter number one and daughter number two, etc. Once the woman was married instead of being property to her brother and father, she was now property to her husband and mother in law, whom also despised the girl. It was also common for a husband to have three or four wives. If a woman’s husband were to die she was unable to remarry, sometimes causing women to commit suicide due to no food or income. If a woman were to remarry then her skin was peeled of her bones until she died.
Another cruel act that was practiced in ancient china against women was foot binding. This tradition started around 1000 when an Emperor believed his concubines small feet were beautiful. This process began when a girl was between three and eleven. “Her toes were turned under her feet and pressed against the bottom of her foot. The arches were then broken as the foot was pulled straight with the leg, a long narrow cotton bandage would then be tightly wound around the foot from the toes to the ankle to hold to toes in place” (W., Jacob 1). The bandages would then be tightened everyday. This would cause the foot to be around 3 inches long, called lily feet, and sometimes making the toes fall off for lack of blood flow to them. A girl would be considered unacceptable if her feet were ugly and would not be considered for marriage. The foot binding process also prevented women from wandering, because it was impossible for the woman to walk without assistance and even then it was very painful for her. This is just one of the many horrible things that were done to women.
The low status of a woman was even shown only three days after her birth. At this time, the girl baby was placed under the bed given a piece of broken pottery to play with. This meant that the girl was a second class human, her parents would have preferred a boy, and that her duty was to be humble. The broken pottery showed that she...