Chinese Philosophy and Woman: Is Reconciliation Possible?
Is a reconciliation possible between Chinese philosophy and woman when taking into account infamous gender-oppressive cultural practices such as foot-binding, concubinage, etc., in premodern Chinese societies? The article tackles the complexity of the subject by calling the readers' attention to texts from Confucian classics that indeed support intellectual equality of the sexes and classless access to education, while noting diverging historical cultural evidences of women's education and their social status in premodern, modern, and postmodern Chinese societies. The article challenges the belief that Confucian philosophy is unequivocally a sexist ideology to be a foregone conclusion. While not intending to exonerate Confucian philosophy from its opponents' charges, the article questions the adequateness of Western liberal feminism as the means to reappropriate Confucian philosophy. It suggests that a more culturally sensitive approach coupling with better historical and contextual analysis would prove to be both helpful and necessary.