Fa Mu Lan: Equal Rights for Women in China Essay

Fa Mu Lan: Equal Rights for Women in China Essay

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Despite the oppression women were subjected to in China, they still occasionally overcame it and accomplished something extraordinary. Some worked, and helped to earn the family living, some were extremely honorable in their efforts to uphold their chastity or their family's honor, and some accomplished even more influential feats. Fa Mu Lan trained for fifteen years in order to become a woman warrior. She became as strong as a man, but swifter and more graceful. After saving her father from the draft by dressing up as a man, she assembled an army. Her army never lost, because Kuan Kung, the god of war and literature, would always ride before her into battle. Interestingly enough, another of the more extraordinary feats was that of women writing and studying literature, also apparently under the god, Kuan Kung. Writing women worked around the rules. Men thought that women had no real use for writing, and so writing to the detriment of the household duties was greatly frowned upon, a problem easily solved. Both woman warriors and writers were amazing achievements, but one had some benefits the other did not.

In the case of the woman warrior, Fa Mu Lan overcame many disadvantages of women. Biologically, women are disadvantaged from the start when it comes to physical strength and limits. Men are built more for hunting and killing than women. Male hormones force the growth of more muscle than female hormones do, and due to this women are often weaker. This is one of the great many barriers Fa Mu Lan overcame on her way to becoming a warrior. She trained hard enough that she was just as strong as a man.

Mann says, "Through reading and writing, elite women developed new spheres of influence," which empowered wome...

... middle of paper ...

...ving it all to your elders, which just serves to perpetuate the mistreatment of women, with the justification of Confusion thought.

The pleasantries of the tales of Fa Mu Lan are quite interesting and fun to read, but they lack much significance. The lives of women in China were not improved through the tellings and re-tellings of folk lore. It is for the women writers unto whom the real respect can be given, as not only did they receive the same education as men at that time, but they excelled with the knowledge they gleaned from it. Women writers embraced their femininity and used it to their full advantage, creating better works of art and literature than their male counterparts.

Works Cited

Kingston, Maxine Hong. Woman Warrior. (1975), New York: Vintage International.

Mann, Susan. Precious Records. (1997), Stanford: Stanford University Press.

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