Chinese Women Essay

1418 Words 6 Pages
Chinese Women

Traditional Chinese society was patriarchal, patrilineal, and patrilocal. In this male dominated society, sons were preferred to daughters, and women were expected to be subordinate to their fathers, husbands, and sons. Because marriages were arranged, young women and men had virtually no voice in the decisions on their marriage partner, resulting in loveless marriages. Once married, it was the woman who left her family and community and went to live with her husband’s family, where she was subordinate to her mother-in-law. In some cases, female infants were subjected to a high rate of infanticide, or sold as slaves to wealthy families. Men were permitted to take as many wives as they wished and bound feet, which
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I would sell this girl for you – to take you back to the land” (Buck 118). Bearing much emotional suffering, O-lan offers to sell her daughter into servitude, which she had been forced to endure, to help her husband return to his homeland in the north (Buck 65, 118-120). In General, Chinese marriages were arranged by a go-between overlooking love as a requirement. In most cases, the bride and groom met for the first time on their wedding day. The purpose of marriage was to provide a male heir to continue the family line. Hence, men and women were thrown together without consideration for their desire to join in matrimony (Major 131).

In China, the practice of taking a concubine was fairly common. This custom was originally introduced to increase the population, and was the excuse used by Chinese men to alleviate tension between themselves and their wives. Wang-Lung’s wife is ugly so he searches for love and beauty elsewhere. He finds it in his concubine, Lotus (Buck 202-210). Some men take concubines because their legitimate wives do not provide them with a son. In this case, the man will dismiss the concubine as soon as she bears him a male child. However prostitution and concubinage were rampant due to the lack of love and romance in arranged marriages (Grosier 25-26). It was considered socially acceptable for a man to keep mistresses. Keeping one or more mistresses symbolized wealth, high status and authority. This institution probably arose because
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