According to the Confucian understanding of gender, [a] woman is only virtuous if she is untalented. They key to this postulate is the word virtuous.' Virtuous, unlike any other synonym that the author could have chosen, indicates a sense of purity, specifically, purity in a religious and sexual context. This then reverts the question to first ask what in this society is considered of value. Additionally, the question is posed to ask, what is a woman's primary role in East Asian society of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries?
[...] “Propagating Female Virtues in Choson Korea.” In Women and Confucian Culture, Ko, Haboush and Piggot, eds. (University of California Press, 2003.) Ebrey, Patricia, Walthall, Anne and Palas, James. Modern East Asia: From 1600, A Cultural, Social, and Political History, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton- Mifflin Company, 2009.) Ko, Dorothy. “Pursuing Talent and Virtue: Education and Women's Culture in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century China.” Late Imperial China, Vol No (June 1992), pp. 9-35. Walthall, Anne. Life Cycle of Farm Women in Tokugawa Japan.” In Recreating Japanese Women, 1600-1945. [...]
[...] What girls and women were taught and, consequently, what these women in East Asia did with that education deserves a more careful study. Most merely used the skills that they were taught to write to other women, or within their household duties. Throughout the centuries in question, the seventeenth and eighteenth, there is little documentation to prove that women were permitted or even sought to use their education in a public setting. This behavior is derived from the Confucius teachings, which upheld the traditional belief of a separation of gender roles. [...]
[...] On a whole, both men and women of East Asia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries prescribed to this school of thought. While it has been shown that women were far less involved in the public sphere, they nevertheless engaged themselves, taught each other and remained actively involved in education, albeit not in the formal sense of male education. East Asian males, on the other hand, were also active learners and studiers, their area of study, however, focused primarily in the public sphere. [...]
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