History in the Making

Document Type



Confucianism, an ideology that dominated Chinese society for millennia, became a stain in Chinese culture. The youth in China at the turn of the twentieth century were determined to rid their society from Confucian influence. There was only one problem; they did so by taking small steps in ridding Confucianism one piece at a time. The biggest issue, filial piety, became the toughest challenge China faced during the revolutionary period. Authors like Lu Xun and Chen Duxiu used literature to protest against filial piety, influencing many others to do the same. Women like Xiao Hong and Ding Ling also exposed the brutal nature of filial piety from a women’s perspective. They challenged the status quo on sexuality, marriage, and freedom of choice for women in China. Many of the men who wrote alongside them applauded their literary works; however, their efforts would fall short. As the Chinese Communist Party grew stronger, the roles of women in Chinese society were discarded so that the Party could appeal to the peasantry who heavily relied on family hierarchy to work their crops and manage their homes. As the May Fourth Movement set the stage for Communism, making promises of women’s reform, in time the leaders of the movement took on political roles that changed their views of women’s reform. As the Party grew, promises were broken and women’s reform became a façade in revolutionary China.

Included in

Asian History Commons