Construction of Womanhood in Confucian Texts for Girls

Xiangshu FANG


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


Confucianism; Moral education; Chastity; Filial piety; Gender


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