Women’s Gender Roles: China vs Japan
WOMEN’S GENDER ROLES: CHINA VS JAPAN
Women’s Gender Roles: China vs Japan
The study aims at facilitating the understanding of gender roles in the societies with specific focus on Japan and China. The major areas of focus include
The connection between gender roles between the nations
The nature of customs and beliefs
The underlying change of roles from the ancient days to the present day
The role of women in the family setting
The recognition women earn and their value
How women are supposed to carry out themselves in the society.
Clearly, Understanding of gender roles is an imperative process and practice that helps in establishing the way of life of a particular group of people. It gives clear insights on their key social practices, valued cultural diversity, economic activities and traditional shifts including customs. Many cultures assume that women and men have diverse potentials and capabilities beyond biological connection. The understanding of the assumption assists in identifying the role of each gender in a setting. It also makes a sense of progressive and perpetual appreciation of the difference in behavior within the family setting. Likewise, it also delineates the roles of each gender in the a family by understanding the legal rights boundaries, public status, types of work and education.
This paper discusses the gender roles and beliefs with specific reference to women in the Japanese and Chinese modern society.
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The understanding of the women’s gender roles and social beliefs in the Japanese and Chinese cultures in the modern day
The study of gender roles in various settings is gaining popularity in the modern day. The studies aim at facilitating the understanding of how men and women in diverse cultures cope with life, their way of lifestyle, roles, customs and beliefs. The studies give the clear indication of how human behavior is shaped including the elements that keep societies in coherence. Women as men are regarded as powerful and important people in the society. They are valued in most cultures and designated certain roles. Their input has been instrumental in the development of strong families since the ancient days. The noble work they do still manifest itself in the modern day when they are getting liberated from men’s oppression through empowerment programs.
According to no study can be conducted on the women and their roles in the modern society without touching on the roles of women and their historical development of gender history. He affirms that women and men influence each other with respect to the roles they undertake. In particular, men were known and are still known as the breadwinners in the families. They are charged with the responsibility of providing direction and leading family events, offering of protection and the author of progress.
On the other hand, women have always played specific roles in the families and societies. Their notable roles have included bearing of children, cooking, being obedient and humility. In both Japan and China, gender roles are influenced heavily by the Confucian ideals. The ideals emphasize the importance of family order and practicing of the underlying cultural beliefs. Under the ideals, shaping and transformation of roles is done for both gender. For men, the ideals hold that they are the heads of the house and providers of women or women are expected to depend on them. However, women are expected to get married, produce children and oversee household duties. Under the ideal, marriages are highly recognized and valued as a sacred thing that must be protected. It remains a contract between families to date. This paper gives detailed information about the role of women in the modern Japanese and Chinese setting. It focuses on the functions of women and their significance in the society or family settings.
The underlying roles of women from the ancient day to modernity in both Japanese and Chinese cultures
As noted, the role of women in both cultures has been always influencedalways by the Confucian culture or ideals. The ideals depict women’s’ major role in the society as the executor of household chores and marriage. Under this arrangement, women have been viewed continuously as the cornerstone of families. They are the child bearers, do child care, and take care of their men. The societies recognize that women are supposed to be a full-time parent while men are expected to work full time. Likewise, women are not heavily tasked with additional responsibilities, as they are not entitled to provide much beyond motherhood compared to men who are tasked with responsibilities beyond work. Even though working culture and environment in Japan is different to that of China, women are always required to do household tasks. This is evident given that the Japanese present culture allows women to venture into work and engage in income generating activities.
Noted that women would always remain women especially in the Japanese and Chinese cultures despite their communist and capitalist ideals. He asserts that women’s ordinary way of life in the present day in both settings is still influenced by the ceremonial rites and regulations. Women are ordinarily expected to date to yield to others, offer respect to others, should have the moral authority to put others first before herself and should not do bad things. Other roles and practices that are evident entails late retirement of women to bed but ensuring that she wakes up early to perform domestic duties towards ensuring that the husband is happy.
In both cultures, women have a role to be honest and upright in character to enable them to serve their husbands with dignity. They have a responsibility to ensure that their husbands are satisfied in diverse ways in the house. The satisfaction is achieved when the house is clean, food is available and encouraging words are spoken. Gossip is a character that women are under no expectation to cherish in both cultures. They are expected to carry out themselves with utmost humility and love for others.
Obedience is another character trait that women are expected to uphold in the society. Chinese culture requires women to obey men and adhere to their commands without questions. The culture obligates women to sit at designated areas for women and they should not contribute anyhow before men. They were traditionally expected to submit to male authority in diverse ways that include submission to the father when still young or under age, submission to the husband when married and submit to her sons when old. The submissions were regarded as a clear sign of respect and dedication to the family based on the idea of Shoja that explains the transition from childhood to motherhood.
According to most empirical studies, immense occupational role changes are being reported among the Chinese and Japanese women. The women have become more hardworking in their traditional family settings. For instance, women in the Chinese societies such as the Moso, Pami, Tibetan, Mongol among others are increasingly attending to family matters effectively. They are able to manage family duties with economic activities thereby elevating their status in the society. Likewise, Japanese women have also transformed their remote lifestyle to the modern way of life by adopting conventional life practices. The shift in role development is apparent, as men are seen going to work and participating in decision-making. They are increasingly becoming powerful and opinion shapers in the societies. For instance, Berusaiyu no bara women in Japan enjoy aggression capacity.
They take the lead in various tasks including relationship matters and in transforming social practices. The Japanese system has transformed to the advantage of women as compared to the period during Tokugawa Shogunate in 1602-1868. The family and traditional beliefs of the day have transformed through Confucian family ideal shifts. The changes took place during the period with the largest shift being recorded after the World War II. The revision of the law in the nation in the year 1947 granted women more legal rights through civil code guidelines. The changes granted women the opportunity to own property, inherit family estate, marry and divorce freely, enjoy parental rights and vote in diverse decision-making platforms. The changes in the law have expanded their roles beyond household and family matters to the formal system of operation.
The revolution is also evident in China as its women are progressively getting liberated to access and enjoy various amenities. The women in the nation have been empowered and they can now work, share ideas, attend religious functions and co-provide for the family.
Beliefs on women qualifications
In both Japanese and Chinese cultures, women are highly regarded as the firm holders of families. They are the people charged with the responsibility of creating the conducive social atmosphere in the house. To achieve this, there are certain qualifying factors that men consider before marriage. The qualifications include warmly words, warmly virtue, warmly work and bearing. These qualifications apply to date, as families require those who have warm words and kind in their speech and deed. A woman with warm words is able to welcome guests well, interact and share views effectively. They are also open-minded and outgoing. In their character, they are able to correct worse situations by using the correct words at the right moment in addressing certain issues.
Similarly, warmly virtue revolves around a person’s morality level, principles and social responsiveness to the environmental needs. A god woman must be kind, humble, honest, principled and moral to be considered a good wife. The standard was set in the ancient days and it remains relevant to date. The qualification of hard work is also important as no one is in need of lazy women. The Japanese and Chinese societies currently embrace those who work hard and are bearing fruits. A woman who cannot bear children is not worth according the cultural beliefs of the people in the society. Such women are never valued as compared to the child bearing ones. Therefore, good women who are ready and appropriate for marriage are judged with how they dress, words they speak, cleanliness nature, ability to serve the guest, strong character, respect and ability to prepare food and nurture children or capacity to offer childcare.
The traditional beliefs that has shaped women to adopt various roles
The culture of hard work, respect, humility and obedience among women in both Japan and China has been influenced systematically by the traditional practices. For instance, the Chinese practice known as tisese that was majorly characterized by the Moso community has helped in shaping the character of women. The practice create awareness that the pursuit of happiness is to live in peace and harmony with relatives such as the other and blood kins. The belief is centered on the rationale that happiness is achieved when women create a conducive environment for peace. It is from the house that peace is developed and the person who controls the affairs of the house is the woman. She knows mots things in the house and keeps it tidy to look good.
Tisses practice instills a sense of hard work and dedication towards the realization of peace and harmony that results to happiness. Likewise, the practice has enabled women to understand their household roles as depicted in the household knowledge among the Moso. The Moso believed that marriages begin by engaging a chief called Yama-ah. The involvement off the chief made marrying partners to accord the institution maximum respect. This has translated to date as women in the Japanese and Chinese societies are able to respect the marriage entity by protecting its identity. The involvement of the chief and other designated leaders in the process makes them value the institution and consider nurturing it for prosperity. They have vowed to do everything within their power to fulfill the roles and tasks in serving their husbands including children.
Indeed, women in both Japan and China have clear roles that have been shaped from the ancient days. The roles are not far different in both societies despite the slight cultural, religious and political differences. This is apparent given that both cultures recognize women as critical pillars for family development. Women are recognized for their roles that include the execution of household activities, childbearing, respect to everyone, fair treatment to the husband, hardworking and dedicated childcare givers. Their roles also include cooking, serving family members and cleaning the house.
It is also worth to note that the roles have advanced courtesy of the modernity in both nations. In Japan, women are increasingly being empowered socially and economically. This enables them to assume roles that were previously executed by men. They currently work in offices and contribute in decision-making processes. This aspect is replicated in China where women are currently work and support men in handling some bills.
On the aspect of beliefs, strong opinion still exists that women must be obedient, respectful and cautious in their actions. They must accept and adhere to the orders provided by the husbands in the family. Additionally, the belief that men are family heads and primary providers while women are child bearing, and household keepers still exist. Its existence defines the different roles for men and women in the societies. Strong belief also exists about the relevant qualifications of women especially those eying marriage. Such women must be hardworking, have warm words, good virtues, and be of sound childbearing nature.
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Shih, Chua-Kang. Genesis of Marriage among the Moso and Empire-Building in Late Imperial China. The Journal of Asian Studies, (Vol. 60, No. 2. 2001), pp. 381-412
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