It is often said that the status of women began to decline in the Song period, just when Neo-Confucianism was gaining sway. The two signs of this decline most frequently mentioned are the pressure on widows not to remarry and the practice of binding young girls’ feet to prevent them from growing more than a few inches long. Foot binding seems to have steadily spread during Song times, and explanations for it should be sought in Song circumstances, but widow chastity had very little specific connection to the Song, the idea predating the Song and the exaggerated emphasis on it developing much later.
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The First Woman in the Republic Carolyn L. Karcher - TheFirst Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of LydiaMaria Child. New Americanist Series. Durham, N.C. andLondon: Duke University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8223-1485/ISBN0-8223-2163-7.
Indeed, obstetrics was the domain of women.
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Maintaining a physical separation between the worlds of men and the worlds of women was viewed as an important first step toward assuring that yin would not dominate yang. The Confucian classic the Book of Rites stressed the value of segregation even within the home; houses should be divided into an inner and an outer section, with the women staying in the inner part. One poem in the Book of Poetry concluded: “Women should not take part in public affairs; they should devote themselves to tending silkworms and weaving.” A similar sentiment was expressed in the Book of Documents in proverbial form: “When the hen announces the dawn, it signals the demise of the family.”
Women took on many roles in the Revolutionary War
By the early Qing period (1644-1911), the cult of widow chastity had gained a remarkably strong hold, especially in the educated class. Childless widows might even commit suicide. Young women whose weddings had not yet taken place sometimes refused to enter into another engagement after their fiancé died. Instead, they would move to their fiancé’s home and serve his parents as a daughter-in-law. Although most Confucian scholars and government officials disapproved of widow suicide and chaste fiancées, they often expressed great admiration for the determination of particular women they knew, thus helping spread the custom.
Women in Mongol society - Welcome to The Realm of …
At the same time that widow chastity was becoming more prevalent, more and more women were learning to read and write. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a surprising number had their poetry published. Women with poetic talents figure prominently in the great eighteenth-century novel, The Dream of Red Mansions (also called Story of the Stone). Although the male hero, Baoyu, is a young man of great sensitivity, several of his female cousins are even more talented as poets. Some women in this large fictional family have considerable power—especially the grandmother who can force her sons and nephews to do what she wants, and the daughter-in-law who handles the family’s finances. The young unmarried women, however, may have been able to acquire literary educations as good as the boys, but they had even less control over their fates than he had.
Victorian women and roles of women in the Victorian Era.
While notdirectly discussed, the stories imply that rape of women took place as part of thetypical violence of a battle or raid. On the other hand, contemporary histories (such as the)suggest that Vikings were much less likely to commit rape during their raids than other European raiders of that time, such as the Carolingians.