Females in Imperial China: Learning & Limitations in Ancient Times - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1800 Words
Date:  2023-06-21


The continued western learning influence on the development of modern feminists and literature has undergone various transformations compared to the traditional ancient period. Women during imperial china were limited from taking part in several realms through social conditions by remaining indoors while men participated outside businesses. However, constrained by policies that prohibited them from possessing property, holding office, and taking examinations, their limitation encouraged the enhancement of female-specific occupations while investing certain in particular areas of political influence. During the Qing dynasty, the social position of women has been characterized as subject to Confucian principles of division of labor, village exogamy. Women had no legal rights to belongings and were limited to work that could be performed within the home, such as weaving. Also, the frequent exercise of foot-binding prohibited women from walking or standing. Besides, the Qing attempted to end the practice of binding feet but proved impossible.

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Women in China have suffered due to their low status in society. Most established and ideologies in china initiated from the beliefs of Confucius filial piety. The filial piety components required that women must submit to their men, young must respect the elderly, and citizens must comply with their ruler (Ebrey n.p). For many years, the regulations of these three obedience aided to preserve the masculine social rule in china. The foot binding practice in china of the young women is one of the utmost fierce and extensive customs to human history. It began in imperial circles in the tenth century, where the emperor was captivated by a dancer who had small feet. Later on, individuals considered little feet an aspect of female beauty. Five or six years old young girls in china had to forcibly bend their toes with fitted and long cloth bound to remain for their entire lives. Eventually, their feet could become malformed and restricting them to the home setting hence relying upon men. The practice was almost worldwide in china and was outlawed by the Qing Dynasty imperial edicts. However, it took many spans before the discontinuing of the foot binding practice.

Similarly, the courtesans and prostitutes during this period acted as entertainers and possessed the status of jianmin (mean individuals), making those exiles and pariahs. Prostitution was an open area of city and town with traders and representatives visiting houses where prostitutes practiced their trade for the aim of business entertainment. Also, the courtesans have deliberated a class of entertainers, and they obtained knowledge in the art of engaging intricate and sophisticated banquets for vital officials (Hu 288). Similarly, women lacked education, and bound feet prohibited them from bearing and nurturing a robust and robust future Chinese people hence causing an education gap. In this case, women's liberty had to be attained to save china from dismay and shame. The reformist movement that began during the 19th century was one of the essential factors that aided to put an end to the dynasty and the rituals. The change happened through the exposure of western ideas and society by some intellectuals.

Moreover, China is well known as a nation of rites and poetry. In ancient China, there were numerous females well-known for their literary works, and their writing works passed to generations. For example, after the Qing dynasty, there were a substantial number of ci writers and poets in the south of the river Yangtze. The role of women in writings in the previous periods has been told from a misogynistic perception. The literary history of women has described the paper works in a very conventional and domineering method. In imperial China, women presumed a comparatively inferior position to men. The idea of female playwrights in old retro was relatively uniform, mostly concentrated on concealed affection and love such as boudoir adoration affairs, female parting sorrow, autumn thoughts, and spring longings.

Boudoir lament is a unique subgenre of traditional Chinese poetry. In the sixth-century "palace style" poetry was initially popularized. Male writers used the inner chambers as a setting to celebrate the beauty of a woman, to lament the solitude of isolated women, and to function as a political symbol for the outcast of devoted and decent male ministers rejected by the imperial court. Similarly, the culturally authorized prostitution and concubine institutions permitting and inspiring men to seek numerous forms of sexual entertainment. Fictional celebration of the sexual petition of beautiful young females emaciated with the imperial cult of passions. Also, connoisseurship comprising the beauty appreciation was so dominant to the passions cult enabling the capability to express an individual's taste became an essential part of self-expression (Hu 287). The male gaze turned to be so normative in a fictional language that females embraced sexualizing linguistic when illustrating other female's charms. Male writers visualized on unstigmatized female sexuality accessible for their consumption in both sentimental fictitious and pornographic erotica works. The iconic beauties convenient for sexual consumptions like the Du Liniang of Mudan ting occupied the landscape of the late imperial literary.

In ancient China, only a small number of female writers existed during those periods. These female writers applied a range of methodologies to their literary works. Li Qingzhao revealed a miserable and homeless living in her Ci poems and poems. She poured out disasters caused by conflicts to women and wrote down a relatively better deal of courageous and unimpeded partisan lyrics that personified Chinese women's braveness and integrity. Her books, such as calligraphy and painting works, were damaged in wars. However, after she died, she developed a new path for the comprehensive archeological research for later generations. Also, Wu Zao in the Ming paly Qiaoying playwright cross-dresses and paints herself a small scale in official robes stating that her times restrict her from fully utilizing her talents. She says that 'that is why a few days ago, I drew a small picture of myself outfitted in male attire' (Li 139). In this case, she regarded herself to possess equal rights to male poets. Gu Taiquing inclines to pursue transcendence in the worldly life as she observes herself as a floret goddess who was evacuated from the divine world and temporarily lives in the human domain. She has a stouter aspiration to escape from ordinary society and go back to the place where she initially feels comfortable. Only she stays in the human world in search of worldly pleasure. Also, most females were writers during ancient times and were known as Guixiu, identifying them as women form a scholarly family (Kathryn 30). These Guixiu females were born from financially stable families and possessed various characteristics.

1) They lived a contented and wealthy life and did not have to question about day-to-day life requirements and had pleasant surroundings for learning.

2) They obtained training mostly in family-based tutoring or family school. The type of education they acquired was mainly modern, while others received a traditional form of education.

China, during the ancient periods, experienced hundreds of wars that ended through military performances. However, conflicts in china, just like other societies, is a masculine activity. Women were not allowed to participate in a war during these periods. However, Mu Lan Hua, during the Han dynasty, proved to be the earliest mythical woman warrior in pre-modern times. Hua's deed encouraged a more significant number of artistic and literary works about Chinese heroines. The fidelity of the ancient women militaries is accentuated in creative works where they display firm constancy to their families. They view dignity through loyalty to the society through their contribution to military actions during disasters in group existence motivate similar actions for Chinese women in the present period.

On the perception and value life, a relatively sum of recent knowledgeable women had changed from the typecast model idea of adulthood to feminine citizens with sovereign views and character. The modification in style and approach of the current writers can be credited to the present education structure. When they obtained the opportunity and walked from boudoir to civilization, widened their life significance and literature idea, these variations were deliberated in modern woman literature and awarded with personal implications and aspects from those traditional female writings. Similarly, the ancient female literature was categorized by prose, poems, and odes. The utmost artistic model of the pre-modern Chinese poetry was uprightness and gentleness and accorded with the moral values for females. In modern china, due to the social modifications and advancements, revolutions in the literary idea, and the impact of western value, numerous females began to write novels. Gu Taiqing was the initial female author from the man ethnic group as medieval literati and bureaucracy opposed women to transcribe books. In the ancient period, due to their narrow living paces, female writers mainly concentrated on the subject matters such as boudoir life, autumn thoughts, and parting sorrows. Subsequently, the Ming and Qing dynasties with the societal expansions and advancements of their social intercourse theme of female literature had transformed. The present women's literature themes have advanced from pure marriage and love to business, ethics, and social life, thus enhancing the aesthetic scope and artistic style.

Also, the improvement of the modern schooling of women in late Qing China is an advancement that concurred with china's transformation and countrywide self-strengthening program after the demeaning conquest of the Opium conflict. Numerous women activists mainly exposed their fundamental conceptions regarding male rational on female's privileges. Still, they held intensely diverse opinions than their manly peers due to the distinct social characteristics restricting from their various involvements and hypothetical footing. There raised debates on whether women are the mothers of a nation, but Lin Zongsu claimed that females should contest for their authentic rights, which she thought comprised women's proclamation of privileges compared to men. Female resistance occurred was the ideal educated heroines of the new women about late Qing feminist literature purpose as it simulated illustration of reconfigured gender responsibilities. During the early republican period, the new female existed, establishing a developing social group. Despite the partisan hindrances faced by the planned feminist program in the republican periods, especially on the concern of female suffrage, dynamic transformation determinations brought women better access to education, such as higher learning institutions.


In conclusion, the transformation of female literature and heroines have played a significant part in modern society. The literature writings in contemporary society have improved compared to the ancient period, where the themes of the novel have tremendously changed to education, business, and law. The transformation of the female heroine from the classical period to modern time has encouraged women to take a more significant role in society by fighting for the nation. Thus, there is a substantial impact on the transformation of the female character in the community.

Works Cited

Guo, Li. Women's Tanci Fiction in Late Imperial and Early Twentieth-century China, pp. 137-157. Purdue University Press, 2015.

Bernhardt, Kathryn. "1 A Ming-Qing Transition in Chinese...

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Females in Imperial China: Learning & Limitations in Ancient Times - Essay Sample. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/females-in-imperial-china-learning-limitations-in-ancient-times-essay-sample

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