Women's Precepts -- Rules for Life as a Woman


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In ancient china, a learned woman Ban Zhao originally wrote this book for her daughters, but became widely published throughout multiple dynasties. These are based on Confucian principles.

This book describes a woman's role in society, and is a guide for proper behavior, speech, and morals. This book only has 7 chapters and has been memorized by many women.

THe book is divided into 7 chapters:
  1. 卑弱 Humbleness
  2. 夫婦 Husband and Wife
  3. 敬慎 Respect and Caution
  4. 婦行 Womanly Qualifications/Behavior
  5. 專心 Whole-hearted devotion
  6. 曲從 Implicit Obedience
  7. 叔妹 Harmony between younger in-laws

1.the female is supposed to be more naturally demure and subservient to the husband. A woman is supposed to go to sleep late and wake up early in order to do her duties, and she must not refuse her domestic duties. she must live a pure and quiet life in devotion to her duties.

2. a woman must serve the husband, while the husband rules justly.

3. she goes on to write about yin/yang and how men and women are different in behavior. yang is firmness/strength, yin is yielding/softness. and so man/woman must follow this nature for harmony with the universe.

4. womanly behavior have four things: womanly virtue, womanly speech, womanly appearance, and womanly work. a woman is to guard her chastity, avoid vulgar language, speak at appropriate times. she must keep her clothes fresh and clean and bathe her body regularly. no gossip and no silly laughter is discouraged, and following one's womanly duties is virtuous.