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The Attitude of Confucius towards Women

No one would not recognize that Confucius until now has a great impact not only to China and to its neighbors such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam but as well as to other countries that his teachings had traveled through. His thoughts had deeply penetrated into their culture believing that they were the right virtues to do for their daily living. But one of his teachings is now questioned and this is his attitude against women. Looking ahead… The Attitude of Confucius towards Women Introduction

No one would not recognize that Confucius until now has a great impact not only to China and to its neighbors such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam but as well as to other countries that his teachings had traveled through. His thoughts had deeply penetrated into their culture believing that they were the right virtues to do for their daily living. But one of his teachings is now questioned and this is his attitude against women. As change of time goes by, even his descendants had now realized what women should be in this changing society. Biography of Confucius and the role of women in his life

Confucius was believed to have been born 551 BC, at the city of Qufu, of the state of Lu (now modern day province of Shandong). His ancestry is said to have originated from the Royal State of Song, but had fled because of turmoil. It is also believed that Confucius was an illegitimate child because his father had not been given a healthy son by his first wife. According to Peterson (2008), Confucius belongs to the gentry or those who owned a large farm. But contrary to this, it is also believed that three years after Confucius was born, his father died and he together with his mother lived in poverty (Chien, 1978).

Confucius then strived hard to rise starting from being a livestock caretaker, clerk and bookkeeper. At an early age of 19, he married Qi Quan then they had a child when he was 20. At the age of 23, his mother died and he had offered a three years mourning for her. According to the Temples of Confucius, he had became a Justice Minister of Lu at 53 but the sources of Peterson contradicts to this event saying that though Confucius wanted to had a position, he never had at least one and he had only spent his life teaching others who had the same wish to gain position.

These discrepancies about the biography of Confucius is said to have its root to the many legendary accounts being attributed unto him by his historian followers later in his life. His ideas about wives in relation to husbands As a teacher of men who wants to rule, one discipline he had taught unto them is their relation to their wives. To start, he had a perception that women are the lone producers of disorders and this should not be blamed as something sent by the heaven. He regards them as cannot be taught nor instructed thus making them inferior to man.

He also then gave an advice that “husbands should maintain a certain distance to his wife. ” A philosopher from the Han dynasty wherein Confucian teachings had been first widely adopted, Ban Gu had explained that women should not make the initiative before man, because “yin is lowly, and it proceeds to the yang in order to be completed. ” Known women by that time had also supported this idea of Confucius, Zhao had admitted that women are

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weak and lowly, and their primary duty is to serve their husband.

She also says that men could remarry twice, but women could not. But she ended her passage by paying respect to their gender, saying that as “man is honored for strength; a woman is beautiful for her gentleness. ” Another saying pertains to the acts that should be done by court ladies, stating that “A husband is heaven, and Heaven cannot be shirked. ” According to another record from the Han dynasty entitled Ritual and Book of Rites, daughter-in-laws should act as a lower class to his husband’s parents.

Whatever she wants to do, she should first ask permission from them. According then to Nu Lun Lu, this one coming from the Tang Dynasty, says that a husband-wife relationship should be of man’s strength and woman’s weakness, that a wife should just be quiet and blame herself every time his husband is angry, that a wife should not leave his husband especially when he is sick. His ideas about the role of mothers in relations to sons

Speaking of Confucius attitude about mothers, I might suggest that his teachings would had been influenced by his personal experiences with his father assuming that it is true that Confucius is an illegitimate child because his father divorced his first wife because she could not give him at least one healthy son. According to the famous disciple of Confucius named Mencius, “there are only three uncivil acts, the greatest of them is not producing a son. ” But even though a mother could not give a son, he had not excluded her with the respect her child should give back to her.

He had also regarded that mothers are the first source of education of their children. His thinking about contacts with other states, including both trade and war as being affected by his attitude to women As he emphasized that women should be at the lowest level in the human society, his thinking about contacts with other states is that it should only be run by males and not by the inferior females. He strongly suggests that women should only be kept inside the bedroom to serve his husbands after a hard day’s work.

Every work outside the house such as trading then is only of male-concerns, so thus also being a soldier at times of war. Justification As time had changed, people are now realizing that Confucius idea about the inferiority of women in the society had also changed. Basing on my opinion, Confucius had stated those teachings just to stress out the need of his province for men who would rule and protect it at times of war. He then perceived that women are belongings of men and a wife’s main duty is to give him a healthy son that would make sure the continuance of his bloodline.

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