Gender Roles In Ancient Civilizations
Gender roles in four ancient civilizations were quite similar. China, Japan, Greece and Rome were the homes of these societies. Although these civilizations existed on two continents, it is quite remarkable that the men and women in all these civilizations had basically similar tasks based on their gender.
Women in China were obligated to balance society’s principles while raising a family and maintaining a household. The relationship among family members was given by Confucian teachings. A philosopher structured the position of male patriarch as the arbiter for the family. Everyone in the family had to subordinate to the oldest male in the family. Marriage was also defined by gender. Marriages benefit …show more content…
“A woman had to obey her father as daughter, her husband as wife, and her son as aged mother” (Friedman, Seth). Women were told to look upon her husband as if she was looking at heaven itself. An example of how women were viewed in this society is shown in the Tale of Genji. Japan’s women escaped the cruel features of Chinese Confucian culture such as foot binding. Japanese women were able to inherit property at a time when they had more right (Strayer 383). As they started to lose power in the twelfth century Confucian pressures were less than with the rise of the warrior culture. (Hooker, Richard).
In Japanese culture, they had haniwas that were figurines that represent men and women. The male figures are vastly differentiated that showed different occupations that included farmers and hunters. While the female figurines showed that they did not have a wide range of economic activities. The figurines do not show an accurate description of how women lived in this time period. In most cultures women had a large variety of economic functions that contributed to the society (Hooker, …show more content…
For example, a Roman man took a club and hit his wife several times until she was dead because she had drunk some wine. Women were not allowed to drink wine in Rome because they believed that it would cause women to have unlawful relationships. This was a common thing because most marriages were for political reasons and not for love (Mason, Moya K).
Women in Rome were forced to marry young because they were responsible for a full life of childbearing, without any effective contraception except the practice of evil and unclean abortion. Many women died in the process of childbearing while war killed most men. The people that did survive, nursed and cared for babies who also died in large numbers. Around fifty percent of children in Rome as well as Greece did not survive the first twelve months of life. For all women, rich or poor, their main purpose in life was to produce children that destined them to a life of danger and sorrow (Beard,