Location

Council Chambers

Start Date

11-10-2013 10:00 AM

End Date

11-10-2013 12:00 PM

Abstract

In East Asia, Confucian philosophy is the dominant value system, especially its prominent doctrine of filial piety. Filial piety is a requirement of life, and being filial is an essential approach to acquire public recognition as an individual with integrity. The most unfilial and unforgivable behavior is being unmarried or sonless.[1] However, there are more and more Asian women who are immersed in this social milieu yet are choosing to embrace their singlehood. The liberation of Asian women is one of the momentous outcomes of Western modernization. This is also a trans-cultural trend that spans nations, societies, and ideologies. What reasons impel Asian women to choose a generally acknowledged difficult lifestyle? Why would they rather be stigmatized as a social outsider than have a reputation of virtue as a member of a collectivist society? This article will analyze the factors that impact these Asian women’s decision-making processes and the forces which lead them into an unconventional lifestyle in East Asian society: singlehood. These arguments will be embodied and compared through specific case analyses from women in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan.

[1] Mencius, The Works of Mencius, Book IV, Part I, Li-Lau, Mencius said, “There are three things which are unfilial, and to have no posterity is the greatest of them.”, 372-289 B.C.

Comments

Presentation is included in Panel 1: Changing Family Relations in Contemporary East Asia

 
Oct 11th, 10:00 AM Oct 11th, 12:00 PM

The Emergence of Singlehood in the 20th and Early 21st Century: Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan

Council Chambers

In East Asia, Confucian philosophy is the dominant value system, especially its prominent doctrine of filial piety. Filial piety is a requirement of life, and being filial is an essential approach to acquire public recognition as an individual with integrity. The most unfilial and unforgivable behavior is being unmarried or sonless.[1] However, there are more and more Asian women who are immersed in this social milieu yet are choosing to embrace their singlehood. The liberation of Asian women is one of the momentous outcomes of Western modernization. This is also a trans-cultural trend that spans nations, societies, and ideologies. What reasons impel Asian women to choose a generally acknowledged difficult lifestyle? Why would they rather be stigmatized as a social outsider than have a reputation of virtue as a member of a collectivist society? This article will analyze the factors that impact these Asian women’s decision-making processes and the forces which lead them into an unconventional lifestyle in East Asian society: singlehood. These arguments will be embodied and compared through specific case analyses from women in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan.

[1] Mencius, The Works of Mencius, Book IV, Part I, Li-Lau, Mencius said, “There are three things which are unfilial, and to have no posterity is the greatest of them.”, 372-289 B.C.