Language, gender, and Chinese culture
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The analysis of Chinese characters, idioms, and semantic placements provides the context for understanding the historical construction of gender roles, images, and ideas that inform the oppression of women in Chinese society. We have seen that language was crucial in the creation and perpetuation of the Chinese patriarchal system. The physical structure of the Chinese language testified to the continuing inequalities of gender within Chinese society, the roots of which revert to antiquity. The Chinese writing system that is by and for men serves to maintain patterns of behavior that reflect as well as reinforce gender inequality.
We should recognize that social change creates linguistic and behavioral changes. Linguistic disparties reflect real and sustained social inequalities that can and should be changed. There is no other alternative for Chinese women seeking equality but to change the language and its usages. Once Chinese women expose the falseness of existing male meanings and encode their own language, a more objective social reality can be envisaged and perhaps ultimately achieved.
KeywordsChinese Society Chinese Character Chinese Woman Qing Dynasty Chinese Language
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