The roles in Chinese society have changed drastically as economic development pushes China forward everyday. Traditional obligations no longer apply specifically to men and women, for the tables have turned and each gender’s roles have changed.
The practice of male domination still exists. Since ancient China, the male of the household is responsible for maintaining and protecting his family and even today do men still believe in and follow this practice. Understand that you are expected to be “the muscle,” taking on various so-called “masculine” jobs. Typical roles include serving the army, protecting the family, farming the land, and leading society. Sound familiar? China, unlike like Western nations, is still trying to get used to the idea of a strong, independent woman. Therefore, the practice of male succession and male preference over females is still in place.
However, no longer are men obligated to support the family; women have socioeconmic freedom to earn enough money to support a family of three. The idea of being financially independent even during marriage may be familiar for a female expat but is rather foreign to the average Chinese. A typical Chinese marriage sees the female to be partially, if not completely, financially dependent on the male. The reason for this lies in the reputation factor: if he can support a family of three or more, he and his family are seen as financially capable and economically stable (and we all know in China, money matters!)
Children are supposed to be the obedient little minions of the household. If the child did anything wrong, violent punishments, including smacking their behinds with a slipper, were widely accepted and carried out in the past. Luckily, China has moved past using violent actions as punishments. Being a part of Chinese culture, you will find that locals are fairly strict on their child and emphasize a great deal on excellent grades in order to not bring disgrace to the family. To the people in China, children are the future, not for society, but for family.
Whether in a family or in society, individuals must deeply respect and listen to elders, for this is not just enrooted in the Chinese custom, but also the elders are seen as the wise yet weak ones. Therefore, help and care for the elderly, much like that in Western culture, is strongly emphasized and is considered improper of a person to insult or mistreat elders in any way. However, while the elderly in Western cultures can pursue excellence even during their later stages of life, attempting to do such thing in China would be extremely difficult; for that reason, much of the elderly in China sit in parks to chat with other elders alike rather than staying active and trying to completing a bucket list like those in the West.