Representation of Female Attributes in Chinese Proverbs
The article investigates (a) the inner and outer attributes of women reflected in Chinese proverbs and (b) what images and symbols are employed to express them.
Each proverb was assessed and classified in terms of female attributes (inner and/or outer) and connotation (positive and/or negative).
The sources of the features that underlie the representations of female attributes in Chinese proverbs were found to drawn mostly from traditional (national) culture, cultural symbolism, and social and gender stereotypes. Social beliefs, ethnic and gender prejudice towards women in Chinese society, as well as ethno-cultural information accumulated in the proverbs, were revealed by means of the cultural approach to critical discourse analysis. In detail, inner attributes overweigh outer, i.e., superficial and aesthetic ones, providing a clear moral compass pointing to an ideal female behaviour.