How Does Behavior in Traditional Chinese Society Reflect Traditional Beliefs?

Essay by XordaxJunior High, 9th gradeA, May 2006

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Behavior in traditional Chinese society reflects three main traditional Chinese ideological beliefs. These beliefs can explain a lot about the actions and customs of traditional Chinese families. The beliefs being that, one, women are not equal to men, two, children should obey their parents and put the family's interests before their own, and three, people should follow the Confucian idea of the five relationships.

Women in Chinese society are not seen as equals to their male counter parts. This is shown throughout Chinese history by actions such as foot binding, the family roles of a women, and females not being able to carry out the ancestral rituals. Foot binding started somewhere around A.D. 950 the Chinese started binding women's feet to keep them small. "Having crippled feet makes a woman helpless and unable to run away"(Namioka 122), crippled feet may have been a symbol for women inferiority. A Women's roles in the family further prove the belief in woman inferiority.

"They (the Chinese) valued girls for their work and for the children they would bear. They did not celebrate the birth of a daughter, however. (Iftikhar 335-336)" this shows that women were seen as a way to produce sons and there for prosperity, not as the individuals they were. Another point is that women were not allowed to carry out the ancestral rituals. "Throughout the year, the family offered food and clothing to the ancestors. A family must have sons to carry on such rituals. (Iftikhar 335)" This shows that men were seen to be greater in importance to the family because they alone were allowed to carry out the rituals.

The Chinese believed that children should obey their parents and put family interests before their own interests. This is known as the filial piety, a Chinese idea. The filial...