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Sandy is a professional teacher of English. She has a consistant curiosity in all things that are worthwhile, and she has a very frank nature to her personality, which plays two sides in her life. Studying and teaching English for so many years makes her feel close to and appreciate mainstream western culture. Her spiritual beliefs in this world are closest to being a Buddhist, so she tends to just let things go forward naturally. Among other things she will blog about Chinese women, traditional and not so traditional.
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Traditional Chinese Women 中国传统女性 (1) – Naive and Spontaneous Before Confucianism 儒家思想确立前天性质朴的女性    

By Sandy
5580 Views | 29 Comments | 3/25/2014 4:05:14 PM

Before Confucius traditional Chinese women were thought to be sweet, pure and demure.

In this CLM, I find some guys are curious or sarcastic about what are “Traditional Chinese Women”. I would like to take a try (or challenge) on an introduction of some typical images of “Traditional Chinese Women” in several different periods in our history. Hope it could be helpful to know how “Traditional Chinese Women” have been changing with the passage of time. You would see, deep down even in this modern and westernized world and no matter how open-minded we might be, what is left in our core value, and maybe it could be viewed by Jung as collective unconsciousness. I am not sure how many parts the series might be, and mostly I would let it go naturally.



Where should I start? I picked an image in Shi Jing, the first poetry collection in China from Zhou Dyansty to Chun qiu Dynasty (BC.1100-BC.600). I hope it could help us understand what is the typical Chinese woman image in these period, here the poem goes:



Ode (Kwan ts’eu)      



---Tr. Legge  



Kwan kwan go the ospreys.       



                                                                    For our prince a good mate she.  



On the islet in the river,              



                                                          Here long, there short, is the duckweed, 



The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:  



                                            To the left, to the right, borne about by the current.



Waking and sleeping, he sought her.       



                                         On his side, on his back, he turned ,and back again.



He sought her and found her not,           



                                                         Here long, there short, is the duckweed;



And waking and sleeping he thought about her. 



                                                               On the left, on the right, we gather it,



Long he thought; oh! Long and anxiously;   



                                                       The modest , retiring, virtuous, young lady:



With lutes, small and large, let us give her friendly welcome.



Here long, there short, is the duckweed;



On the left, on the right, we cook and present it.



The modest , retiring, virtuous, young lady:



With bells and drums let us show our delight in her.



The love in this period is naive and spontanious, what other words I could use to describe: pastoral? Sweet? A beauty in a distance? A fantasy? Sensitive? Pure? Unworldly? I think it could be compared by Theokritos’s poetry in ancient Greek:…



The Damoitas kissed Dphins



After had sung, and give him



A pipe, and the other gave him



A lovely flute and Damoitas



Began to flute and Daphnes



The cowherd, to pipe and song



The calves were skipping in the soft grass



Neither won the victory



For they both were unbeatable.



I think the crave for love is almost the same, but ours have much less body touching description: like kisses or cuddles,etc. I would like to call them naive and spontaneous ones in the Garden of Eden, kind of paradise. And then come the ones after Confucianism, an ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, and it is assumed as a set of doctrine expecting people to follow, to feminist it is patriarchy. Since then paradise is lost, in next blog I would like to explore another image under the impact of Confucianism. Hope it could be helpful to understand the concept of Traditional Chinese Women.



中国传统女性(一)---儒家思想确立前天性质朴的女性



在我们这个CLM论坛上,有人提出到底什么是中国传统女性,还有人对此质疑和讽刺,我想这还是很值得研究一下。在此,我想尝试一下通过介绍不同时代的典型中国女性形象来对这个概念及这个概念的变迁进行描述。希望通过这个方式能帮助我们了解在我们这个比较开放和西化的社会,在我们的核心文化中对中国传统女性形象的集体认同,这可能也就是荣格所说的“集体无意识”吧。从那开始哪?我们先来看看《诗经》中《关雎》这一篇吧。《关雎》 出自《诗经•国风•周南》,是《诗经》的首篇,它反映了一个青年对一位容貌美丽姑娘的爱慕和追求,写他求而不得的痛苦和想象求而得之的喜悦。



诗经 关雎



关关雎鸠,在河之洲。窈窕淑女,君子好逑。



参差荇菜,左右流之。窈窕淑女,寤寐求之。



求之不得,寤寐思服。悠哉悠哉,辗转反侧。



参差荇菜,左右采之。窈窕淑女,琴瑟友之。



参差荇菜,左右芼之。窈窕淑女,钟鼓乐之。



这里描述了一个典型的天性质朴的女性,我还能用什么词汇来形容:田园?甜美?距离产生的美?幻想?敏感?纯粹?不世俗?在西方文化中,我想希腊牧歌诗人特奥克利特斯的田园诗可以与之相媲美:



达摩塔斯吻了一下德丰斯



吟唱完之后,给了他



一只长笛



一只可爱的长笛



德丰斯开始吹奏



他们就这样吹着,唱着



小牛们在松软的草地上跳着



他们没有竟赛



因为他们都是不可战胜的。



在这两首诗中,对爱的自然渴求是一样的。但表现方式还是不一样的,在《关雎》中对这位女主角及爱的描述基本上没有通过像轻吻,拥抱等身体接触的方式来描述,而在特奥克利特斯的诗中对此的描述是那么的自然和美丽。我愿意把这个阶段的中国女性称为伊甸园中天性质朴的中国女性。之后,由于儒家思想逐渐在中国占领了主导的思想,这种天性质朴的中国女性就从此受到了父权思想为主线的儒家思想的制约,在下一篇的博客中我会再挑选一个在这个阶段的女性来介绍,希望这能对理解中国传统女性这一概念上有所帮助。


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Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 29) 1 2 3 More...
#2014-03-25 16:16:00 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

First let's welcome Sandy to our blogs. Many of you will recognize Sandy as sandy339, an active and interesting contributor to our forum and our blog comments.

Now Sandy has decided to join the blogs and try at first to explain to us what it has meant to be a "Traditional Chinese Woman" throughout the ages. She is starting here with Chinese women before the time of Confucius.

You're off to a good start here Sandy in enlightening us Western men as to what the ladies mean when they say they are traditional Chinese women. This has been really stumping us as evidenced by many blogs and forum threads trying to get to the bottom of the issue. Hopefully by the end of your series we'll be much wiser.

#2014-03-25 19:23:51 by chengcheng72 @chengcheng72

The western men can't understand what is Chinese culture for ever,so they cann't understand what is troditional Chinese women for ever.They only can know some Chinese history,but history doesn't equal to culture.Yes ,you are reaally right,in the different periods,China has different culture.In the Song dynasty,it was Han nation's culture,Han nation 's the other name is Huaxia(华夏),What's Huaxia (服章之美谓之华,礼仪之大谓之夏means people must wear beautiful and manificent clothes and dresses,people must be very polite )but our sentence translate into English ,The sentenc lost their poetry.What is Han nation people.(衣必精美,物必丰盈,人必礼学,君臣必称吾国吾民,此乃汉也. clothes and dresses must be clean and beautiful ,food must be abundant,people must like read books and very polite and friendly,emperor must call his people my people,ministers must call their country our country,this is Han nation's culture,and this Han people)
It is different with Manchu's culture,In the Qing dynasty,ministers called their emperor master(主子),the ministers called themselves slaves(奴才),so defferent culture ,defferent politics in diferent periods ,but all were in China .(有朋自远方来不亦乐乎! If a friend came from some place that is far away.why not happy? Means ,we welcome western friends come to China,we are not only Chinse women,we are also Chinese people ,Chinese are friendly ,and polite, and brave enough ,one hand hold books to read,the other hand hold a treasured sword to fight,and work hard,do business with any man in the world, and save money,and parents love children,and children respect the grandparents,these are all Chinese culture.
写给姐妹们:永远别指望老外真正懂得什么是中国文化,什么是中国传统女性,许多老外说他们喜欢中国文化,其实他们只是读了点儿中国历史,知道喝茶不喝咖啡,吃饺子不吃比萨饼就以为自己懂中国文化了,以为传统女性就是也许不随便做爱就是传统了.他们很难知道龙井茶是乾隆爷搞火的,我们的汉服是很讲究的,不是旗袍那么简单,我们汉人在古代是英勇和宁死不屈的很讲气节的,但你如果跟他讲宁死不屈,他会理解为脑筋不灵活,不转弯,没必要死掉,所以怎么解释什么是气节呢?怎么解释:人生自古谁无死,留取丹心照汗青呢?翻译完了就变味儿了,我们姐妹永远是传统女性,这和做爱与否没关系.我们的传统指的是爱老公爱孩子爱父母,努力工作或努力参与家政.所以别指望太多的深层次沟通,找个合适自己的,过上吃饭穿衣的小日子,或者非常富有的大日子都非常的好了.

#2014-03-25 20:20:54 by panda2009 @panda2009

@Sandy
表达相思,就直说“求之不得,寤寐思服。悠哉悠哉,辗转反侧。”作者抒发情感的方式是坦率的。
Express lovesickness, just say out, "Seek but fail to get, no matter waking and sleeping, think of you. Missing missing, tossing and turning." The way the author elicits emotions is candid.

#2014-03-26 01:13:16 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

Hi Sandy

Thanks for your blog and I agree with John that we all need to now what is meant by a 'Traditional Chinese Woman'

I myself have written about this because it is often seen on a CLM woman's profile that she describes herself as being 'traditional'

China has 5000 years of culture and many many 'traditions' so your forthcoming blogs should give us poor western men some kind of insight as to the true meaning of 'Traditional'

Welcome aboard and I look forward to reading more

#2014-03-26 13:29:45 by Barry1 @Barry1

@sandy339

Thanks for this interesting glimpse into aspects of what it's like to be a traditional Chinese lady in olden times, Sandy. I look forward to seeing how views on this alter and mature over time.

The Ode you recited to us from the Zhou to Chun Qiu Dynasties presented a rather delicate, innocent view on life. You used the words naive, sweet, pure or sensitive that aptly apply. The same goes with the poem by Theokritos.

My personal preference however goes to more earthy, direct type of poetry. Also known as sledgehammer type, something that hits you right between the eyes. The verses you recited here were perhaps a tad too guileless, simple and unsophisticated for my more onerous and critical tastes.

To illustrate what I mean, perhaps I can share with you a poem I penned on an article by @Panda2009 a while ago, describing a troubled time in the life of a Chinese lady during the period of the Lantern Festival.

Whether the lady in this poem can be viewed as traditional or not is up to the reader to discern. I suggest though, that she was indeed a lovely traditional Chinese soul who finally had given all that she could give - and then some. At last becoming exhausted both emotionally as well as spiritually, she then made the fateful decision that her overwhelming pain could be endured no longer.


The lanterns come, the lanterns go
But where is my love, I do not know
I cry out in vain, oh woe is me
I need dear love, please near to me

The heavens open, the rain does pour
Suddenly see her, my spirits soar
Dear dear love, at last is found
Sitting alone, sleeping so sound

But when I approach, sadness begins
Tears flow, and horror wins
For dear love, sitting beside her cart,
In fact is dead, with knife through heart

The lanterns come, the lanterns go
Why's life so painful, I do not know
I grab the knife, pushing away the cart
and plunge it deeply, into my heart

Without dear love, I cannot survive
I wish to be gone, no longer alive
The lanterns come, the lanterns go
Sad story of life, its ebb and flow

#2014-03-26 15:37:48 by ferlo @ferlo

@Sandy I drink (d) to that. That is a beautiful way to describe tradition, but we are living in a modern world. I don't see many of the girls in CLM to be as traditional as that. Here most of them are divorced and if not they already have child. Of course is traditional for a female to give birth but now is more like the Occidental way of many females are that decide to have a child and not marry. Tradition is when a girl goes out of her parents home in a wedding ceremony and stay married forever. This is the way I saw tradition since I was a child growing up in small Mexican town. And like many Chinese ladies that if the word sex is mention they soon ask to change the topic, in my home town the word sex never was spoken much less for a girl that was single.
I was surprise when first got in this site to find the Chinese girls much more westernized that the same western girls.
But tradition or not I have someone that I don't care is she is traditional girl or not, sometimes she is, and other times she is not. Fernando Lopez

#2014-03-26 16:18:49 by QinQL @QinQL

Sandy, 如果不是John提到您的个人资料名,我还真把您看成了panda,心想着CLM可以更换BLOG作者的相片吗? 宏大的布达拉宫把您衬托得小小的,您和panda都是那种圆圆的甜甜的脸蛋儿。呵呵。现在弄清楚了您就是sandy339,那位平时不会随便说话,一说话就一定是有问题提出或有自己见地的一位中国传统女性了。无论这个世界如何变幻,我依然喜欢中国传统女性,我欣赏敬佩她们,我以拥有一位中国传统女性的称号为荣。sandy,谢谢您和我们分享您的探索和智慧,我会跟随您的博客更好地认识自己。

#2014-03-27 01:00:33 by Grace172 @Grace172

Sandy, Good job.(clap)
For me, I am not interested in the ancient Chinese proses, because they are very difficult for me to understand. So I really admire your intelligence that you can translate this difficult ancient Chinese into English. (y)
Looking forward your next blog to tell us more detail about the appearances and features of the traditional Chinese Women vary from time to time.

@chengcheng72
"我们姐妹永远是传统女性,这和做爱与否没关系.我们的传统指的是爱老公爱孩子爱父母,努力工作或努力参与家政.所以别指望太多的深层次沟通,找个合适自己的,过上吃饭穿衣的小日子,或者非常富有的大日子都非常的好了."(clap)
我完全赞同你的看法! 中西方有太多的不同,生活方式不同, 文化背景不同, 宗教信仰不同, 思维方式不同, 观念不同, 教育和方式不同. 就像一个来自火星一个来自金星. 更何况汉语文字包含很深层的含义. 一个四字成语要翻译成英文就变成四行字都很难准确描述清楚. 就算能描述清楚. 按西方人的思维习惯他们也只能明白字面意思但未必定能完全理解里面的内涵. 所以谢谢Sandy的努力。他们能理解多少就多少吧。我们不要太过较劲。
无论我们怎样接受新思想,无论我们怎样开放,我们还是要有我们自己的原则的,我们的优良的传统美德决不能丢弃。

#2014-03-27 07:47:01 by chengcheng72 @chengcheng72

@Grace172
G姐好,一直很羡慕你的是孩子已经读大学了,你看起来还是个大学生的样子!
我前天在沈阳见了来自CLM的第一个人,美国人。但我的第一次约见不是为了互相能成为男女朋友,但当然,在我一切没确定之前当然一切皆有可能,给别人一个机会也给自己多留一次机会。他随他的沈阳同事一起来中国沈阳,但他同事回家看一堆的亲人,比如爷爷奶奶等,没时间陪他玩。我跟他见面前从没聊过。他到了沈阳,从CLM上约我,给我发完信,就看见我在线,就约能不能喝杯咖啡或者吃个午饭。并说年龄对我来说有点大,我回答你的年龄确实是个问题。但我欣然付约,因为我觉得他初来诈到,我也许可以帮帮他。
当他从楼梯上走下来,他认出我的那一刻,我觉得瞬间穿越了十几岁的年龄跨度,他看起来很好看,比照片漂亮得多,而且看起来很年轻,当我伸出手和他握手时,觉得他那么的绅士风度。瞬间想起了jenifercc姐的那句话,照片不能代表一个人。
喝咖啡的时候,我问他都去了哪里,结果不出我所料,他说这里的人不会说英语,他不会说汉语,这里到处没有英文标识,所以他不能用任何交通工具,所以走去了火车站和博物馆。我觉得这也未免太遗憾了吧,而且觉得他真能走,竟然走去火车站!
我看看时间,觉得时间够用,就提议说我带你去看故宫和北陵。不过因为我还有事情要办,所以中间你还得跟我去办点儿事。他说好,我就说那快喝。我就拿出了我们东北女人的样子,我咕嘟咕嘟一口气喝了半杯咖啡,也催他快喝。之后我们就出发,这三个地方都在地铁口旁边,所以,方便快捷了。
地铁上他不停地逗每一个小小孩,我说如果你有个孙子你会特喜欢,他说不能有了,因为女儿的老公有CANCER,所以不能生了。地铁里有人年轻人发楼房的传单,我拿了一份儿,我告诉他我拿一份他们就能早发完早下班。一会儿年轻 人又返回发,他就调侃我,你要不要再来一份儿,我说如果他们愿意可以都给我。我们就笑。一路上我们互相取笑,我问他在找什么样的女人,他说有钱的,他问我要找什么样的男人,我突然间想到了J姐,就说找个有飞机的。我们就哈哈大笑。之后他说他只想找最适合自己的,不论是哪国人也不论是什么年龄。
故宫门前我告诉他希望我陪他就买两张票,不用我陪就买一张,他问你愿意去么,我说愿意,于是他掏钱我买票。我不会热情到给个陌生人买门票哈哈。如果是朋友我会买。故宫里,他指着英文MANCHU(满族)问我,我说对,这里是满族的,但我是HAN。
到了北陵门前,他给北陵的大门拍照,我说我去买票,他马上掏钱包,我说这次我买,因为便宜,他就一脸无辜的样子说,哦,贵就我买,便宜就你买?我说:对了!之后我们就笑。公园里,老人们热情地和他打招呼,他不停地绅士地跟人家鞠躬致意,哈哈,搞笑,你男朋友一定不会那么做,因为他还不够老,哈哈。他逗每个小孩,人家的祖父母就跟小孩说,跟爷爷说再见,我又突然感觉到了年龄跨度,虽然他年轻的心态,健康的体魄,走多远都不累,把我这个年轻人倒累坏了,但没人会让小孩叫我奶奶,是吧?哈哈!
他问了为什么中国女人要嫁西方男人,我回答了,我又问你为什么不找韩国和日本女人,他说:韩国和日本女人要老公全部的钱。我说那你就都给就好了,他伸出胳膊让我看他的皮肤,他说我是白人,不是韩国人,我要保留我自己的钱。之后问我中国女人怎么样?我说她们会要一部分吧用来建设家庭,应该不会要全部。
姐妹们,你们到底准备要多少啊?我其实不知道,哈哈。
他很记路,很会识别方向,所以我把他送回地铁,他就自己回宾馆了,还好,回去后在CLM上发了个信给我,说名他地铁换车时没走丢,顺利回到了宾馆。
这次约见虽然没有任何目的性,只想作为一个汉人,一个沈阳人尽一个地主之仪。我一路上告诉他汉人是好客的,有礼有节的(有朋自远方来不亦乐乎!)。我给他讲一个在沈阳教书的英文教师39岁要见我,我没见,那个教师很不理解,说为什么不给他个机会,他只要一个机会。我说因为他年轻,从没结婚,而且想要个孩子,所以生活对他来说才刚开始,而对我来说,已经接近尾声了。所以不能浪费彼此的时间。他就问:为什么给我这个老男人机会呢?我就笑了,我说你不同,你可能需要我的帮助,而他在这里工作,根本不需要我的帮助。他就伤感的说,他的年龄适合你,你还能有40年,而我没有40年了,我就笑着说,你也可以有!他不置可否。
这次约见,改变了我们的一个看法,就是年龄与感情的关系。我现在已经能理解翁帆为什么会嫁杨振宁了。他也从中得到了自信,他说自己看来可以交往40岁的年轻女士。哈哈

#2014-03-27 14:21:45 by Grace172 @Grace172

@chengcheng72
我看上去不老可能是因为我没脑吧.(giggle)
"公园里,老人们热情地和他打招呼,他不停地绅士地跟人家鞠躬致意,哈哈,搞笑,你男朋友一定不会那么做,因为他还不够老,哈哈。"
我想你肯定会后悔在这个问题上没有跟我打赌的. 不然你一会赢我一大笔钱. 我真服了你,你看人怎么这么准啊。他是不会向路人打招呼的。不但不大招呼,还会数落人呢。路人不看他的话,他会说他们很不友好。看他的话说他们盯着他看不礼貌。我说那不怪别人,谁让你长出这幅怪兽模样。他们不看你是因为怕你。他们看你是因为觉得你的样子怪。哈哈。这是他的性格问题,不是年龄问题。唉一想到这里我总是感到很难过。我的前男友是个十足的绅士。 不提我啦。 我真的为你感到高兴。你们有个好的开始啦。年龄不是什么问题。最重要的是你心里感到快乐和安全就行。 请大胆继续往前走。希望早日能听到你们的好消息。 (f)

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