essay

The power and pollution of Chinese women

studies in chinese societyStanford, Calif. • Published In 1978 • Pages: 269-290, 362-363

By: Ahern, Emily M..

Abstract
This essay considers the polluting or dangerous powers of women in the light of women's ambiguous social position and Taiwanese notions of ideal family structure. The key problem appears to be not one of popular belief in the inherent inferiority of women per se, but rather women's close association with substances that are ritually unclean (e.g., menstrual blood), and their status as outsiders in a kinship system focused on male lines of descent. Conditions in which women are thought to be dangerous or anomalous, such as during pregnancy, childbirth, and widowhood, are discussed in detail along with more general Chinese notions of clean and unclean bodily substances.
Subjects
Gender status
Purification and atonement
Ethnoanatomy
Menstruation
Childbirth
culture
Taiwan Hokkien
HRAF PubDate
1995
Region
Asia
Sub Region
East Asia
Document Type
essay
Evaluation
Ethnologist-5
Analyst
M. A. Marcus
Coverage Date
not specified
Coverage Place
Ch'i-nan village, Taipei hsien, Hai-shan region, Taiwan
Notes
Emily M. Ahern
Includes bibliography
LCSH
Taiwanese