Women and Confucianism in Chosŏn Korea: New Perspectives by Youngmin Kim

By Youngmin Kim

A brand new, multifaceted examine Korean girls in the course of a interval of robust Confucian ideology.

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34 The patriarchal atmosphere was so overbearing that women had to embrace the norms in order to survive. If no alternative ideologies are available, perhaps it would be wise to be willful participants of the Confucian system and then gear it in one’s own direction. Secondly, there are indeed some resources within Confucianism for her to tap: human commonality. 35 In keeping with its revolutionary nature, the reformed Confucian view of human nature possesses many significant implications that other positions on human nature do not share.

29 Of course, the reason for such prenatal care was to give a birth safely and to maintain the family successfully. After receiving the husband’s surname, one should return it to its father. In the meanwhile for ten months, the woman must not act recklessly with her body. She should not see, hear, speak, or even think unless it is with propriety. 30 38 Lee SoonGu This is an expression of a resolute will to maintain the patriarchal family order, in which it is a mother’s role to give birth to a child, receive the husband’s family name by becoming a part of his lineage, and return this favor through the child that will carry on the husband’s family.

41 Through these words we can understand that it must not have been an easy matter for a married woman to visit her natal home in the seventeenth century. Yet, when we see that Lady Chang visited her natal home once a year even after marriage, she can be said to have had a great deal of privilege. This could even have been an object of criticism. 43 When her father passed away he left four children from his second marriage, three sons and one daughter, the oldest of whom was only eight. 44 As mentioned previously, since this was a time after the lineage principle of family order had been settled, it was not easy for a woman to leave her husband’s house for matters concerning her natal home or to bring and take care of her parents’ family.

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