Construction of Womanhood in Confucian Texts for Girls

Xiangshu FANG

Abstract


An investigation in the construction of womanhood in Confucian texts is important to our understanding of the cry for social and economic equality for women in the twentieth century, yet little has been done to analyse the didactic nature of these texts. In pre-modern China, women were expected to demonstrate obedience to male members of the family at every stage of life. As children, girls were required to obey their fathers; as wives, women were required to obey their husbands; and as widows, women were required to obey their adult sons. At no point in her life, according to the Confucian view, was a woman expected to function as an autonomous being, free of male control. This study examines major Confucian texts for girls in order to shed light on their nature of the repressive social hierarchy dominated by males.

Key words: Confucianism; Moral education; Chastity; Filial piety; Gender


Keywords


Confucianism; Moral education; Chastity; Filial piety; Gender

References


Classic for Girls (Nüer jing). (n.d.). (1909). Reprinted & edited by Tunxiju wentang, China.

Feuerwerker, Y. (1975). Women as Writers in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In M. Wolf & R. Witke (Eds.), Women in Chinese Society (pp. 147-168). California: Stanford University Press.

Handlin, J. (1975). Lü K’un’s New Audience: Influence of Women’s Literacy on Sixteenth-Century Thought. In M. Wolf & R. Witke (Eds.), Women in Chinese Society (pp. 13-38). California: Stanford University Press.

Legge, J. (1966). The Four Books: Confucian Analects, the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, the Works of Mencius. Taipei: Wenxin shudian.

Liu Xiang. (n.d.). Biographies of Exemplary Women (Lienü zhuan). Retrieved from http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/chinesebin/lienu.

Wolf, M. & Witke, R. (Eds.). (1975). Women in Chinese Society. California: Stanford University Press.

Wu Hung (1989). The Wu Liang Shrine: The Ideology of Early Chinese Pictorial Art. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Wu Jiayou. (Ed.). (n.d.). Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety for Women: An Illustrated Version (Nü ershisi xiao tushuo). Retrieved from http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~asia/24ParagonsFilialPiety.html




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.sll.1923156320120502.738

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