The Position of Chinese Women Throughout History

4 April 2015
A paper which discusses that despite the severe limits placed on Chinese women throughout their history, they still managed to demonstrate tenacity and courage and the power of decision within these restrictions.

The paper discusses how women throughout Chinese history have experienced the oppression their tradition and culture exert as well as the power only members of their sex can attain in their chosen domains. It shows that although readers have been exposed to historical anecdotes relating foot binding and Man’s superiority to women, there are also many stories relating their freedom and tenacity, whether they are wives, concubines, courtesans or prostitutes. The paper discusses how the history of Chinese women is not necessarily limited to persecution and being dominated, it is also peppered with inspirational stories of women who have been able to find happiness, success and fulfillment within the parameters Chinese tradition and culture dictate.
The girl split from her first family with the understanding that she was never going back to them nor even allowed to communicate with them unless she had the permission of the man. On the surface the procedure is very much like a father marrying off his daughter, making the same arrangements as if it was a legal marriage. However there were a few things that distinguished the wife’s status over that of the concubine. Legally, a Chinese man can only have one wife but could possess innumerable concubines. So the status of wife was more special than that of the concubines. Wives were also allocated property upon their marriage while concubines were not. Concubines did not have dowries and their first family did not receive any presents from the man upon losing their daughter.
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