Power & Women - Sample Essay

Women are further considered to be polluting during certain stages of their life. One such stage is obviously that which pertains to a woman being pregnant. When a woman is pregnant she is believed to be responsible for polluting the people and environment around her. Pregnant women are believed to cause illness in a family especially that of children becoming sick and pregnant women are believed to be unlucky and give brides ill fate, “Because of the danger pregnant women pose for brides, in Ch’i-nan a ceremony called Sifting Four Eyes is performed befre the bride’s dowry is sent to the groom’s house.

All items in the dowry are passed over a large sieve so that pernicious influences, including those of pregnant women, can be sifted out. ‘Four Eyes’ refers to the two being in on that a pregnant woman represents – two eyes fro her and two eyes for the fetus” (Ahern 1975; 211). In the concept of women as polluters the ideas behind the rituals of the cleansing and the transition of women into unfamiliar territory during her marriage are conjectured to add to this outside status with which women are associated.

Since the line of descent of kinship is strongly tied to the male progeny women are braced from an early age to behave with deference to this ideal. Women are treated as outsiders because they are intruding upon the ground of a new world of tradition with their new family. The bride is considered unclean simply under the notion that she is new, as Ahern states, “It is because the kinship system is focused on male lines of descent that women are depicted on the boundaries, breaking in as strangers.

It may be events that are polluting rather than women per se, but polluting events are events that intrude new people or remove old ones in a male-oriented kinship system” (Ahern 1975; 213). Since these powers are associated with women it stands to reason that women are thought of as powerful. Since the menstrual blood and the connotations of blood having the ability or choice of becoming good or bad (Ahern 1975; 198) women too become a dangerous or powerful commodity in Chinese society.

In Chinese society women marry into their husbands family and as such they are looked towards as having the ability to produce offspring and thus produce a continuous line of the family thus ensuring that the parents’ spirits are worshipped after they have passed, “Although this capacity means great potential advantages for her husband’s family, it is also potentially threatening…A woman not only bears children, she also strives to form close, affectionate bonds with them so that she will be assured of a secure place for herself in the alien environment of her husband’s family and security in her old age” (Ahern 1975; 199).

Thus it becomes apparent that the woman’s role in her changing life and role is the severance of her uterine family from the ‘families of her sisters-in-law (Ahern 1975; 199). The woman’s role becomes centered on obtaining the trust of her own growing child thereby ensuring strength in that relationship and building up her own domination in her own uterine family (Ahern 1975; 199).

When is a woman is first married she is thought of as an intruder, an outsider and thus she is initially ostracized from family traditions. She must have the strength and ability to carrying herself through this trying and difficult phase. The woman may accomplish this by undermining her husbands authority and wishes simply to execute and flaunt her own strength enabling her new family to witness her power. Thus, the wife is able to disrupt the ties between husband and natal family.