For the Confucians, marriage is a very significant aspect of a person’s life as it is viewed as the cultivation of their virtue. This is still very much still the belief in modern-day China. From ancient China until today, giving birth to a baby boy is more widely accepted than a baby girl. This is because boys are viewed as being more responsible and more capable of taking care of their parents as they grow up compared to a girl whereby they will be married to someone else when they grow up.
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Apart from that, Confucians also view marriage as a momentous moment for the family as well as the society. Thus, Chinese women are prohibited from finding their own partner as their parents would want only the best man for their daughter, this would be in terms of money, power as well as family name. The family name is a very important part of most ancient Chinese marriages as the girls’ surname will change to her husband’s surname which is why having a boy would mean more as they would be able to carry on the family name forever.
Compared to the Confucians, Taoists believe that marriage is something more of an emotional adventure, rather than a family or society moment. However, in today’s world, women are becoming bolder against their traditions by picking their own man to marry and marriage is becoming a rather expensive industry in China especially since many Chinese women are drawn to what they watch on television about having a luxurious wedding. However, most recently, Chinese parents have expanded their horizons, thus allowing their daughters to have the freedom to choose their own man, though they still insist on having it in a more traditional way.
In recent times, Chinese women are more conscious not to have kids due to the high cost of having kids and to maintain their body figure. The cost of having a kid in China is going up tremendously; especially since about a few years back due to the rapid development in China as they have only recently opened their market to the world. Besides that, Chinese women have become more conscious of keeping their very slim body figure as they wouldn’t want to lose their man to other more beautiful, slimmer girls.
Going back a few centuries, if a married Chinese woman does not give birth to a kid within a year after marriage, the family would immediately find another wife for their son and this woman will be considered a burden. Thus, having a child those days was viewed as a compulsory measure to stay in a marriage and to be respected by your family, your in-laws as well as by society.
Apart from the above, Taoism respected a women’s role in society many centuries back when it was not acceptable by society. In contrast, the Confucians believed women to be in a much lower position than men, thus, a woman was disrespected and treated in the slowest possible manner.
However, lately women in China have become major idols in businesses worldwide. Chinese women have started taking up their corporate role very seriously and are starting to focus more on building a career with the many multinational corporations worldwide as opposed to being just a housewife. Consequently, this has made the birth rate in China drop drastically over the last few years. The birth rate in China has said to be at a very alarming rate. Thus, the Chinese government is working on giving incentives to families to encourage them to have children.
What’s more, is that education has taken a turn in China in recent years. In the past, families viewed educating a daughter as a waste of their resources as the daughter would be married to someone else and she would live under the husband’s shadows. Thus, only men were educated and given the best of everything. However, this opinion has changed in recent years. Parents have started treating daughters and sons as equals, thus giving the best to both.
This can be related to Taoism where it is believed that both men and women are equal and should be treated the same. In recent years, there are more and more Chinese girls sent overseas just to pursue their studies. The lower birth rates in China have also influenced parents to change their attitudes towards their daughters. They have learned to become more accepting of having girls in their lives.
These days, daughters have become more of an asset to Chinese parents compared to before. However, in most parts of China, most parents still hold on to the belief that sons are more important than daughters. As education is becoming more widespread and more reachable to most people in China, the view of girls is changing. As girls or daughters are becoming more independent and more focused on what they want, parents are starting to trust their daughters more.
Thus, not only can a son look after their parents, but girls are also becoming more capable of taking care of their parents. In my opinion, Taoism has had a major influence on this change in recent years. However, I think Chinese girls will continue to hold on to their ancient traditions, and at the same time cope with this fast-changing world.