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Women, Marriage, and Family: Comparing China and Europe

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Henry Le

on 12 February 2015

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Transcript of Women, Marriage, and Family: Comparing China and Europe

Women, Marriage, and Family: Comparing China and Europe
Karina Perez, Becky Richer, Amanda Sallade, Henry Le, Joseline Ruiz, Emily Fogelsanger
family and filial piety were key points in the family dynamics
each member had their duties
men had to pay attention to farming
women had to watch their spending with extreme frugality
children had to be loyal and obedient to their parents, who become the most important thing to them
women were given strict boundaries with what to do and what not do to; they were given very little powe
Miu Lineage
born in Qing China and passed a low-level civil service exam
spent most of his life tutoring and gathered stories for a collection; among them is a story called "The Lady Knight-Errant"
tale about courtship, not marriage
a young woman, left unnamed, takes care of her elderly mother across the street from Ku, the protagonist, in Chin-ling
the young woman shows no feelings for Ku while he develops intense admiration for her and her sense of nobility
start an affair of sorts, the girl gives birth to a baby
eventually, the girl says she was out for revenge for her father and kills an enemy, eventually leaving
Mrs. Ku and Ku are both left with a sense of admiration for the girl
Pu Songling 1640 - 1715
nearly 600 pages only about laws of marriage
very strict, specific laws
divorce could be justified for:
disregard for her husband's parents
thievish propensities
envious and suspicious temper
inveterate infirmity (mental weakness)
divorce could be countered if:
the wife has mourned for three years for her husband's parents
the wife has no living parents to take her back
the family became rich if they were both poor before the wedding
Qing Law Code on Marriage, 1644-1810
Flemish nun who lived in Belgium
taught in a Catholic school; heavily criticized Protestant Reformation
helped to shape the Dutch language
wrote "Unyoked Is Best! Happy the Woman without a Man" in 1567
very extreme view on marriage and what it does to a woman
like the Miu lineage, this is just one example from the time
describes the very restricting roles in a marriage, setting apart men and women; marriage was a trap to Bijns
compared to the Chinese, this opinion was distinctly European; the significance of marriage in China (even marrying in childhood) wasn't always matched in Europe
Anna Bijns 1494 - 1575
Alice Thornton, 1626 - 1706
unlike the opinion of Bijns, Thornton's opinion of marriage fit the time period
her marriage stemmed from her mother's care to preserve the family
because her father died and left a large amount of money, she could not marry for love; instead, she had to marry out of social and familial obligations
her marriage bore five children; four, however, died from childbirth or at a very young age, and only one survives
infant mortality is very high in Europe, and Alice Thornton is not a different case
compared to the Chinese, Alice Thornton's story follows theirs in the same sense that marriage is derived from family, not from free will
Diary of the Countess de Rochefort,1689
unlike most of the other stories, the Countess de Rochefort was an aristocrat
her husband, Comte de Rochefort, was typically away on military campaigns
because of the cost of military campaigns, the countess was typically on a budget, forcing her to keep business and production moving as he's away
Countess de Rochefort was very busy, even as her husband was away; almost every one of her diary entries involves money, whether it be collecting debts, buying or selling goods, or even returning outstanding debts
in her last entry, Countess de Rochefort details her depression; even though she has been out for a long time, she still must do her duty to economize because she is carefully running the house
Court Case on Marriage in High Court of Aix, 1689
the marriage between Joseph Cabassol and Anne Geniere had been challenged by members of the Cabassol family
Cabassol came from money; Geniere, on the other hand, was a widow who was convicted of prostitution and pimping
less than a month after the two get married, Joseph's uncle, two brothers, and sister all petition to have his marriage annulled
Joseph's reason was because, past the age of thirty, he could choose his own wife, stating that no one was entitled to attack his marriage
the family stated that there were two reasons for the attack on their marriage
firstly, it was celebrated without publishing the banns
secondly, it was not celebrated by the parties' own parish priest
because of Geniere's low-standing social status, the court allowed the petition of the marriage, and the two must donate money to each of the hospitals in the town and to never see each other again
Mary Jo Maynes and Ann Waltner, Women and Marriage in Europe and China 2001
female marriage in Western Europe occurred late or sometimes not at all
between 60 to 80% of young women remained single at the age of 20
15 to 25% of women at 30 were still single
a majority of postpubescent men and women left their home in the teen years for a period of employment
females have always married universally and early
in the 19th century, all but 20% of young Chinese women were married by age 20
only 1 to 2% of women at 30 were unmarried
Shaping of Marriage Patterns
tradition, religion
the pattern of female marriage and residency held implications for patterns of economic development
Mary Jo Maynes and Ann Waltner, Women and Marriage in Europe and China 2001 cont.
Marriage in European History
Marriage in Chinese History
married later in life for a solid standing in society
this gave women the opportunity to work outside the household before getting married
men often have sex out of wedlock, but women must be pure
started having children immediately after marriage -- frequently every 2 years
arranged marriages
married young -- the bride lived with the groom and his parents
"household division"
focus was on marrying off daughters
women practiced foot-binding for men
men were allowed to have both a wife and concubines
wife: divorce was almost nonexistent
concubine: could be dismissed whenever
they had children almost immediately after marriage
Marriage Patterns: Differences and Similarities
in Europe, newlywed couples moved into separate households; in China, the couple resided with the groom's family
China had much higher rates of infanticide -- especially among female infants -- as well as different beliefs about child care and sexuality (i.e., women in China breastfed for longer than women in Europe)
this later became a pattern related to the domestic location of women's work
both expected to have children as soon as they get married
even though women in China got married sooner and thus had more time to have children, both European women and Chinese women had around the same amount
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