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littlekori's avatar

What is a good way to compare women?

Asked by littlekori (676points) January 17th, 2011

I am writing a paper on women in ancient china and medieval europe and i need another way to compare the two. I have compared their household duties, their jobs, and the clothing that they wear. Does anyone have any ideas on other topics that would work?


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11 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

The rights they had in their respective societies. Social class differences in each society.

FutureMemory's avatar

Whether or not they had the right to divorce their husbands.

If they had the right to vote, or hold any sort of political position.

jaytkay's avatar

Could they own land? Could they inherit land from husbands or parents?

mindful's avatar

What was expected from them in that society, culture? What kind of ideology they followed?


Their respective roles in family life, marriage, and education.

In ancient China, women were considered inferior to men. This meant that their entire lives were spent being subservient to men in their families, be it their fathers, husbands, or sons. Confucian ideals taught that the role of women was to look after the men in their families. They weren’t allowed to have ambitions and a life “outside of the home”. Confucius taught that the greatest duty for a woman was to be a good mother and bear a son. He did emphasize, however, that a woman’s role as mother and mother-in-law should be respected.

Marriages were arranged in ancient China. Women were not allowed to have any say in who they had to marry. Their father’s choice was the final decision. Once they married, they had to obey all members of the husband’s family, particularly their husbands’ mothers. A girl would gain greater acceptance and “power” if she bore a son, for sons were always cherished in Chinese culture much more than daughters.

In terms of education, women in ancient China were not allowed to be schooled, unless they came from a wealthy background. So most girls were not educated. But even girls from privileged backgrounds were limited in their lives, because most if not all, had their feet bound at a very early age. The custom of “foot-binding” served a multi-purpose——bound feet were considered attractive because they were small and dainty, and men preferred that. Bound feet also prevented women from venturing too far from the household, and hence further reduced their role in Chinese society. Girls from poor backgrounds, on the other hand, faced a different oppression——because they were born female and were poor, they were considered a liability to the family and were often sold to richer families as servants.

Generally, in ancient China, women faced very oppressed lives. Although those in the upper classes fared better, they still had to abide by the Confucian code and strict customs. So women in ancient China led very sad lives and had very little voice.

Kardamom's avatar

Did either of them have any inheritence rights? Did they bring wealth with them or only partake of their husband’s wealth? Did their own wealth get put into the man’s family’s wealth or did it stay separate? What happened to the wealth (possessions, kinship, custody of children, money, property) when the husband passed away?

What types of behavior was expected of each group of women? Were they separated by the sexes when guests came to visit? Were the women expected to remain silent or act as a partner? Were the women expected to engage in certain behaviors and avoid others? If so, what were those behaviors?

How was marriage viewed in each culture? (In China, women were usually one of more than one wife, not so in Europe, but in Europe, but some men may have had lovers, that went un-acknowledged)

What kinds of friendships did women forge amongst themselves. How were these friendships accomplished in each of the cultures?

How were women in each of these cultures groomed for marriage? Were they educated about sex and where babies come from? Were they shown how to enjoy sex or simply told how to “tolerate” sex? What were the differences between the cultures with regard to females dressing “appropriately” or “modestly”?

Were the women expected to learn how to cook, depending upon their status? Or were they expected to depend upon servants? From whom did they learn to cook (if they were expected to cook)?

Nullo's avatar

Expectations in the two cultures.
Keep in mind that Medieval Europe wasn’t that homogenous.

cheebdragon's avatar

I usually compare us to evil….

Maybe compare the most common social expectations of the time…?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Study their rebellion in each culture.

XxSHYxxGUYxX's avatar

their sensitive angle… ;-)

mattbrowne's avatar

What questions do they ask.

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