Women and the Family in Chinese History

2480 Words10 Pages
Women and the Family in Chinese History

By Patricia

The price paid by women in ancient china: Foot binding and Concubines

Georgiana Grecea

WHO 2001

Professor: Peterson

November 1st, 2013

When it comes to traditions, customs and beliefs, one of the most mysterious civilizations in the world is considered to be ancient China. Through their values and cultural lifestyle they have succeeded for many years to make us wonder and want us to know more about their beliefs and traditions in their lives. Many of the traditions of this culture are not fully understood even today. In ancient China, women lived in the shadow of the men such as: their father, husband and even their son. Traditionally, the women in China were expected to obey. There were expected to obey blindly the male presence in their lives.

As part of their tradition, and as early as Song period (960-1276) , was the practice of foot biding. Having perfect feet assured families that their daughter will be able to marry. In many cases some women were married by their families for money. Money played an important role in society in ancient China when it came to women, marriage and social status. Some women also choose to live their lives as a concubine in order to secure a better life and position in society.

Zhou Guizhen is 86 years old and she is one of the survivors of foot binding. She says that she regrets doing it and that at the time there was no choice, because no one would marry you if your feet weren’t small. She also talks about the fact that young bones are easier to manipulate because the bones are softer and they do break easily.

Foot binding was banned in 1912.

The ancient Chinese women were extremely well educat...

... middle of paper ...


16. —. Emperor Ningzong of Song. March 13, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Ningzong_of_Song.

17.—. Empress Han. September 23, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Gongshu.

18. —. Empress Yang (Song Dynasty). September 23, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Gongsheng.

10.—. Foot binding. November 9, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_binding.

3.—. Four Beauties. November 15, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Beauties.

20. —. The Traditional Chinese Family & Lineage. June 3, 2000. http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/chin/familism.html.

8. WGS Presentation on Women's Bodies- Chinese Feet Binding. Performed by N/A. N/D.

12, 13. Peter. 15 pictures of traditional Chinese clothes in Song and Tang Dynasties. November 29, 2012. http://www.chinawhisper.com/15-pictures-of-traditional-chinese-clothes-in-song-and-tang-dynasties/.
Open Document