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Neither principle is considered subordinate to the other; each complements the other and is capable of expressing both female and male characteristics. Within Taoism, then, women were able to seek spiritual fulfillment beyond their family duties.
Some joined convents, others gathered with men to discuss philosophy and religion, a few became Taoist adepts. This pervasive fear that women could bring chaos by upsetting the cosmic harmony was an obstacle for women who aspired to male political leadership.
Buddhism as practiced in Japan and China also granted women some areas of empowerment. Women went on pilgrimages to Buddhist temples, retreated to nunneries, sometimes gave public lectures, and led temple groups.
Chinese Buddhism was at its height during the reign of Wu Zetian who promoted the religion and even justified her rule by claiming she was a reincarnation of a previous female Buddhist saint.
Lovely Tang era paintings and statues depict women on horseback, and as administrators, dancers and musicians. Stories and poems, like those from the pen of the infamous female poet Yu Xuanji, also attest to the almost ideal essay writers openness of the period.
Written by the female historian Ban Zhoa Han dynasty, ca. Ea reinterpretation of Confucian teaching called NeoConfucianism stratified the position of women even more.
Augmented by ideas of wife fidelity and husband worship brought by the Mongols, NeoConfucian beliefs led to the egregious practices of footbinding, insistence on widow chastity, and the selling of unwanted daughters.
Although footbinding illustrates the perceived need to limit female mobility, the practice did not appear until the Song Dynasty and was not universally followed. Women of most ethnic minorities, including Hakka and Manchu women, did not practice it, nor did some peasants who had to work in the fields, nor did women in Japan.
Within Shintoism women held power as mikos, a type of shaman with divination abilities. Her Great Shrine at Ise, cared for by high priestesses, still plays an important role in the lives of the Japanese today.
The more positive influences of Shintoism were weakened by the samurai culture and spread of Confucianism and Buddhism in Japan. Yet, in the Heian era C. Gender difference in this period favored literate women who were free to write in the expressive, popular vernacular language, while men most often wrote in the more formal, inaccessible, classical Chinese.
Both the independence and the gender limits of women of the pampered elite are wonderfully illustrated in the lively, gossipy writings of Shikibu MurasakiSei Shogonon, and other Heian female writers. The oft quoted Three Obediences dictated their lives: By the late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries, serious challenges to accepted beliefs about gender were mounted in both Japan and China.
A core of educated women in both Japan and China joined the call by speaking and writing in public for the first time. Conservative nationalists and traditionalists in Japan and China at different times reacted by mounting long campaigns against any change in gender roles. Ultimately female activists were labeled unseemly, unfeminine, and too western.
Woodblock prints were even circulated showing previously forbidden views of women in the imperial family attending public events adorned in western Victorian-era clothes. In spite of these efforts, conservative legislators reasserted NeoConfucian family values by passing restrictive laws, codes, and a new constitution.Writing Essays or Personal Statement for Scholarships Financing your college or graduate education is no easy task in today's economic climate.
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