2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Student Research Conference

How Confucianism Affects Chinese Women: Examined Through Chinese Film


Regan P. Bruns*, Mutiara J. Schlanker, Zhihao Jin, Yaoxi Chen, and Ru Xiang
Dr. Zhijun Wen and Gregory Richter, Faculty Mentors

Chinese films such as Raise the Red Lantern and Ju Dou dramatize early 20th-century China, yet still depict Confucian ideologies and the authoritative and patriarchal society resulting from the Chinese system of thought and behavior. Confucian beliefs center around morality, ethics, education, self-improvement, and filial piety, with a prominent emphasis on gender – male superior, female inferior. For centuries, Confucianism was a dominating force in China; its long, impactful history has shaped and influenced people's ideas and behaviors. Confucian cultural and moral requirements – male superiority and the Three Obediences and Four Virtues – impeded ancient Chinese women’s development and greatly restricted their autonomy and freedom. To an extent, Confucian influence continues to affect gender equality in modern-day China. Using Zhang Yimou’s films, Raise the Red Lantern and Ju Dou, and academic literature, we examine how Confucianism negatively impacted women historically in China and how it continues to affect women today.

Keywords: Chinese film, Confucianism, patriarchy, women in China, Zhang Yimou

Topic(s):Chinese
Women's and Gender Studies
Asian Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 204-6
Location: SUB GEO C
Time: 11:30

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