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How does Confucianism and Daoism view women? To answer that question, one must first compare and contrast the two religions by taking a close look at the two individually.

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Introduction

How does Confucianism and Daoism view women? To answer that question, one must first compare and contrast the two religions by taking a close look at the two individually. What is the place of women in Confucianism? In Daoism? How are they different? How are they similar? To begin with, Confucianism is a religion that is named after the philosopher, Confucius. He was an almost deified and impossibly wise man. He believed that to regain social order, people must act the role that society gave them. The father was to act the father, the son was to act the son, etc. The process of becoming that of which one is supposed to be is called "Rectification of Names." The society should be founded on five relationships: 1) The ruler and subject; 2) The father and son; 3) The husband and wife; 4) The elder and younger brother; 5) The friend and friend. This proper behavior was required to create a calm, enduring, and beneficial society. In terms of the third relationship, husband and wife, the concept of the Yang and Yin come into play. ...read more.

Middle

Women who did not marry were not accepted in the Confucian society. Divorce was also not accepted and was allowed only under strict circumstances by the husband. These circumstances include incurable sickness, no male heir, talking too much, stealing, disobedience, promiscuity, and jealousy. The husband could have several concubines of which the wife was supposed to be kind and courteous to. On the same level, women could talk to other women about their husbands if they drank too much alcohol, neglected their duties as a husband, or became abusive. The other women would then tell their husbands who would act accordingly. This all seems rather harsh, but the fact that women are the only ones that could give life; they were respected and considered necessary. On the contrary, women in the Daoist society were treated a whole lot better. Daoism puts an emphasis on nature and the feminine qualities of nature. Seeing as how women create life and Daoism is" that which creativity flows from," women hold the up most respect. As a matter of fact, Dao means "Great Mother." Unlike in Confucianism, the role of women being passive and flexible comes natural and unforced. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perfectly bound feet meant that the girl was marriageable, she was obedient, submissive, and could endure great amounts of pain. This also controlled her sexuality because it was hard for the girl to "get around." The tiny feet also became an erotic fetish for some men. The girl's shoes were sent to her mother-in-law-to-be for inspection. The Girls' new mother would inspect for size, shape, and craftsmanship. Since the girl made the shoes herself, the explicit details gave a clue to what type of worker she was. This creativity was often the only creative outlet for the young girls. So to conclude, there are many differences in the ways women were dealt with in Confucianism and Daoism. In both religions, however, women were not very high up on the social scales, they were supposed to be the calm, passive and obedient counterpart of men, and were ultimately inferior beings. Foot binding became a Confucian tradition in marriage, while in Daoism, women held nearly the heights levels I the religion. I am just glad to say that I am a woman living in America today, and not in the classical Confucian society of China. Michelle Nock Mr. Frank Ferreri Intro to World Religions 2300-002 Monday and Wednesday 12-150pm Fall 2003 Essay Number #5 Topic #1 ...read more.

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