Women vs. Culture

The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, shows many different arguments and themes. However, there is only one argument I will be talking about and that is The Oppression of Women in Chinese Culture. I am a type of women who is strongly for women’s rights and when I read this book it made me mad most of the time. God made women to serve men, but not to be treated like property. Culture has a huge effect on people, but does that mean it is right? Sometimes culture is not always the right thing when it comes to human being’s fate.

One culture of the Chinese is to have women’s feet bound at very young age. This in their culture is a sign a beauty and so that women would not run away from they husbands when they were married. I am not really sure why they think it is beautiful, for me it is not that pretty. In The Good Earth, at one point Wang Lung complains to his wife that she is not beautiful for not having her feet bound. However, later on he realizes that if she had her feet bound, she would have not been able to work so hard for him. When the foot binding begins, it cripples the feet so that later on in the years you cannot walk. Wang Lung daughter starts to complain to her father when she starts to get her feet bound. At first Wang Lung didn’t even know that his daughter was having her feet bound. Later on he finds out that it was his wife, O-lan, doings; for he had called her ugly for not having her feet bound. This is not very healthy for women back then, because sometimes the women would be beaten for not working hard enough. How are they suppose to work if it hurts for them to even walk?

Back then; women were also sold as slaves or to men. One Chinese man sells his daughter to a soldier; however, he did this because he was low on money and he did not want his daughter to suffer. Another man sells his seven year old daughter to Wang Lung because he also was low on money and did not want to see his daughter suffer or to be sold to an untrustful wealthy man. Back then, young beautiful women who were sold to wealthy men were most likely raped or sexually abused. At one point O-lan is willing to sell her oldest daughter for her family to make their way back to Wang Lung’s property, for they were living in the city during the famine. In these few little incidents we see how women were thought of. Women were more of the back up plan, or the supply for money if it was needed. There were some situations when the fathers were thinking of their daughter’s well being; however, women were treated more like property. Some men just had no respect for women. It’s like us women are here to have children, work, and be treated like trash. That is not they way things should be, women should be shown the same amount of respect as we give men.

The last point of women in the Chinese culture is their status. At one point when there is a famine that hits the little village they live in, and O-lan gives birth to a baby girl. Out of love for her family she strangles the child, because it would starve them to death and also would just cause the baby girl to suffer from malnourishment. One on hand O-lan is thinking of her family, not wanting them to starve. Also she knows that the child will just suffer if she lets it live, so in the end she kills her. Now if she had given birth to a son, then it is most likely that she would have not killed him. Men in Chinese culture are much more valuable, because they can work and make money. I am actually surprised that there are enough Chinese women for the men, because so many are abused and killed.

Chinese culture has changed much today from their old traditions. However though, I do believe that some of their traditions may be still followed. Women have suffered so much in this world. There are many other cultures where women are abused and taken for granted. I believe that God created women for a better cause. Culture is not always correct. There are cultures out there were they make human sacrifices and that is not right in any culture. I believe that when it comes to humans, culture should be very careful. The decisions or things that happen to us at a young age (like being beaten over and over or foot binding), can help us shape us when we are older.


~ by Katie on March 11, 2010.

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