#4 Female Cautiousness in a Patriarchal Society

Ban Zhao’s “Instructions for Women” suggested that women should stay humble in order to survive. From a sociocultural perspective, the subordinate groups would have to make an effort to accommodate the dominant groups, whereas the dominant groups would not need to understand or care about the subordinate groups.

Also, many gender differences are the results of sociocultural influences. Many studies which contributed to the classic psychological Nature vs Nurture debate found many nurture components for gender differences. For instance, when people get angry, the emotional circuit in the brain is triggered. Then, for men, it is the motor circuit that gets triggered and it is the verbal circuit for women, which indicates men are more likely to use physiological measures to express their anger and women tend to use verbal ways. But the results are not an indication of inherent sex differences. As a matter of fact,  Boys generally are taught to fight back, whereas girls are taught to use verbal ways to solve conflicts, which serves as constant brain training that changes our brain circuits and expression of anger over time. Human brains are wired to change, which means the environment, parenting styles, and etc. would all cause brain changes. It is mostly the sociocultural factors that cause the biological differences, instead of the other way around.

Women are taught to be cautious and humble in order to not get harmed by men. Ban Zhao first gained her reputation among the elite class by adhering to traditional female virtues and not re-marrying after her husband’s death. Then she passed these “survival tactics” that she learned from her process of finding a place in the complex patriarchal system as a woman to others with “Instructions for Women”. Ban Zhao clearly adapted the patriarchal values and was rewarded with her “gender-appropriate” behaviors

Leave a Reply