These anti-foot-binding associations found in the elite society began a striking revolution: women were challenging the dominant Confucian society with concepts of equality. The social relations and the dynamic paradigm between the man and the woman would also be changing due to the catalyst of these progressing attitudes and it was at the end of the Ch’ing that women saw the road paved toward feminism that was growing rapidly especially after the Revolution which entailed the May Fourth Movement (Rankin 1975: 39).
In rural China women were progressed into a new social understanding through their vital incorporation in agriculture, “…women’s labor has become the major component of ordinary agricultural work. This tendency could be found in earlier collectives where other employment opportunities were available and is not directly related to the collective-decollectivization divide, but is a change characteristic of the greater rural economic diversification of the reform era…” (Judd 1994; 242).
It may be surmised then that women’s roles progressed because of their inclusion in the equality of vocation given through agriculture. It is with the state that further changes of gender role becomes apparent in Chinese society. The state is a system that works through the household registration structure. This is done so that internal and subtle changes to home and family life are arranged. Such issues as population control are designated through the household head.
The wife is designated household head in cases where the husband does not own agriculture nor is in control of any land. The power play in this case is fully within the woman’s control, “Whatever the case in each particular household, the designation of a household head-the person through whom the household normally intersects with local authorities-operates to reinforce asymmetries within the household, and by extension within the family, and to link these with the hierarchy of the state” (Judd 1994; 249).
This redefinition of gender roles and power allows for the expansion of feminism in Chinese society and the subsequent aggrandizing role of women as house-hold heads. It is within the rural activity of women that this statement holds veracity. In rural China the women’s work is just as vital as the men’s work. It is within the custom of rural China that gender roles are reevaluated. With this statement the issues of the work force become the paradigm by which this initiation of equality is structured, “…the gendered dimension of local political economy.
It is also flexible and, because it is not elaborated within the official model, can be adjusted as situations vary or change. For example. The preference for young unmarried women in the work force of rural industry need not prevent a village from starting to employ married women as well, especially if the alternative is more extensive employment of workers from other villages” (Judd 1994; 256-257). Thus, the woman’s role is changing in the view of agriculture and rural areas.
It is not a political situation necessarily but in the difference of gender is made through the necessity of the work force and the need for more villagers to expand their land and thus more workers are needed and the land is not biased towards women since the work has to be done in one fashion or another (Judd 1994; 257). Although traditional China was patriarchal in design it modern society is progressing in view of gender roles and women in society. Men were traditionally thought of as being the head of the household but that fact has been changing rapidly with the advent of the rural society and the country’s agricultural needs.
The traditional Three Obediences, which entailed a woman paying heed to her father, her husband and her son has been changing, though in this matter not as celerity as possible. Chinese society has also been known to harbour darker images of gender such as female infanticide in mass amounts, or the selling of girls to the slave trade to become concubines were each common practices (Eds. Gisken & Walsh; Gallagher 2001; 90). Women were transient in the society moving from one household to the other rooted in neither because of the way she was treated and the connotations of her being unclean.