The sage and the second sex
Edited by Chenyang Li, with a foreword by Patricia Ebrey. Chicago: Open Court, The relationship between Confucianism and sexism, or between "the sage and the second sex," as Chenyang Li suggests in the title of his new anthology The Sage and the Second Sex: Confucianism, Ethics, and Gender , is a complex issue. For one [End Page ] thing, scholars who engage in the field of Chinese gender studies would immediately be confronted with the questions "What constitutes Confucianism? In some sense, the attribution of women's oppression in China to Confucianism is justified, since Confucianism, as scholars generally agree, is the underpinning of the social structure of China. However, by reducing Confucianism to a set of hierarchical kinship and rigid gender roles in its ritual presentation, one also overlooks the dynamic aspect of Confucianism, whose ethical theory of ren as well as its emphasis on self-cultivation, at least on the theoretical level, are akin to the feminist ethic of care and its understanding of the self as socially constructed.
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Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. This volume offers new insights into the role of women in ancient China, their important contributions to society, and their pursuit of personal growth and fulfillment.
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Confucianism has meant many things over the centuries in China. Feminism, in its much shorter history, has also taken many forms, made many claims, and lent support to many different social policies. Not surprisingly, therefore, the encounters between these two complex sets of ideas have been complicated.