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Gender issues in asian traditions - Essay Example

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Scholars often present Buddhism and Taoism as “proto-feminist” traditions, as compared with Hinduism and Confucianism, which are viewed as being hopelessly committed to gendered hierarchies. A comparative and contrastive analysis of the four religions convince one that…
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Download file to see previous pages The Confucians viewed the cosmic order as “life-giving, relational, and harmonious in the interaction of its parts” and this gratitude for life was visible in their worship of the ancestors (Kelleher 137). Even though Confucianism considered family life and marriage as sacred, relationships, for the Confucians, were hierarchical in nature. As Kelleher points out parents, rulers, husbands and older siblings enjoyed higher social positions whereas the positions of children, subjects, wives and younger siblings were inferior(Kelleher 138). Wives needed to remain submissive to their husbands. The role of women was identified with the earth: Confucianism held that “the position of women in the human order should be lowly and inferior like the earth, and that the proper behaviour for a woman was to be yielding and weak, passive and still like the earth” (Kelleher 140). In the same way, one can also find similar passive and submissive roles attributed to women in Hinduism. As Young suggests, the role of women and their rituals during this period was limited to maintaining ‘social and cosmic order’. Even though the Vedic women’s role was esteemed as wife and mother, she had to remain as a silent partner in the Vedic rituals. The husband’s role was much prominent as he was the patriarchal head of the family.
In Confucianism and Hinduism women were subject to certain codes of conduct. The role of women in Confucianism was very often limited to the family whereas the role played by men was viewed in the wider social-political order. Women were subject to three types of obedience in the family structure: “as a daughter she was subject to her father; as a wife, to her husband; and when older, to her son” (Kelleher 140). Another crippling factor that restricted woman’s active role was her lack of education. While boys had formal education in history and the classics, girls had to remain at ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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