The Chinese Woman (selected)
From the Spirit of the Chinese People, by Ku Hung-Ming, 1915
… … For the womanhood in a nation is the flower of the civilization, of the state of civilization in that nation.
But now to come to our question: what is the Chinese feminine ideal? The Chinese feminine ideal I answer, is essentially the same as the old Hebrew feminine ideal with one important difference of which I will speak later on. The Chinese feminine ideal is the same as the old Hebrew ideal in that it is not an ideal merely for hanging up as a picture in one’s room; nor an ideal for a man to spend his whole life in caressing and worshipping. The Chinese feminine ideal is an ideal with a broom in her hands to sweep and clean the rooms with. In fact the Chinese written character for a wife (妇) is composed of two radicals – (女) meaning a woman and (帚) meaning a broom. In classical Chinese, in what I have called the official uniform Chinese, a wife is called the Keeper of the Provision Room – a Mistress of the Kitchen. Indeed the true feminine ideal, — the feminine ideal of all people with a true, not tinsel civilization, such as the old Hebrew, the ancient Greeks and the Romans, is essentially the same as the Chinese feminine ideal: the true feminine ideal is always the Hausfrau, the house wife, la dame de ménage or chatelaine.