HO CHI MINH NATIONAL ACADEMY OF POLITICS
NGUYEN THI VAN
CONFUCIANISM “THREE OBEDIENCES AND
FOUR VIRTUES” THEORY AND ITS IMPACTS
ON VIETNAMESE WOMEN NOWADAYS
: CNDVBC & CNDVLS
: 62 22 80 05
Summary of doctoral thesis
HANOI - 2014
The work has been completed at Ho Chi Minh National
Academy of Politics
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. NGUYEN HUNG HAU
Defender No. 1:
Defender No. 2:
Defender No. 3:
The Thesis will be defended in front of Thesis Defense Committee at
Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics
Further information: National Linbrary of Vietnam and Library of Ho Chi
Minh National Academy of Politics
Confucianism was born in Spring and Autumn- Warring States
Period. This is the most turbulent time with significant fluctuations in
Chinese history.In such context, Confucianismfollowers explained social
matters and wished to find out the methods in order to bring the society
frompolitical chaos to prosperity. One of those methods is human ethics
Human ethics education of Confucianismfocused on fundamental
categories such as ThreeBonds (King-teacher-father), FivePrecepts
(Diligence - Temperance - Dignity - Integrity - Fortitude), and
legitimacy theory. For women, the Confucianismeducated through Three
Obediences and Four Virtues.
Confucianism was brought to our country in the Chinese domination
of Vietnam. When Confucianism came into Vietnam, it was modified to
suit the the peaceful nature of the Vietnamese people. In the feudal period,
Vietnam feudal class used Confucianismas a tool to establish the social
stability and order, and to maintain thedomination of ruling class. Among
ethics contents of Confucianism, Three Obediences and Four Virtues were
fundamental ethics education categories for women. This ideology affected
the role, position, and life of Vietnamese women intensively. Besides
positive values, “Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory had many
negative impacts, which bound Vietnamese women into the fedal norm,
and limited the development of women. However along the history, “Three
Obediences and Four Virtues” theory still remains its values which
contributes to the traditional beauty of Vietnamese women.
Nowadays, fedal socio-economic basis no longer exists; however,
the Confucianismideology in general; “Three Obediences and Four
Virtues” theory in particular still existsto a certain extent and affects
Vietnamese women in both positive and negative sides. Its negative
impacts are relected through male supremacyand marriage imposition …
which are the reasons for family violence and gender inequality in our
Thirty years after the Doi Moi (1986), our country gained many
significant achievements in different fields, among which economic
renovation is the foundation. However, the Renovation of the Vietnamese
Communist Party not only focuses on economic field but also on
comprehensive renovation, including the renovation of human and human
liberation. The Communist Party always considers the people as the most
important factor, in which the women account for large proportion and
play an important role in families and the society. The renovation leads to
changes in evaluation criteria of the society and family towards the women
in order to meet new demands of the period. Nowadays, Vietnamese
women must focus on comprehensive beauty andknowledge, be good at
both public and family matters, and participate in social activities
If the rules and norms of “Three Obediences and Four Virtues”
theory are used in an appropriate way, it will become an important factor
to enhance the position and role of women in the Vietmanese modern
society. It leads to the fact that it is necessary to study current status and
impacts of Confucianism “Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory
among Vietnamese women nowadays in order to promote the positive
values and to limit negative impacts on the women’sliberation.
From the theoritical and practical basis above, I choose the topic: "
Confucianism“Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory and its impacts
on Vietnamese women" for my dotoral thesis
2. Objectives and tasks of research thesis
2.1. Research objectives
In order to clarify main contents of Confucianism“Three Obediences
and Four Virtues” theory in China and Vietnam, analyze its impacts, this
thesis proposes some view points and measures to promote its positive
values and to limit negative impacts on Vietnamese women nowadays.
2.2. Research tasks
- To clarify basic contents of “Three Obediences and Four Virtues”
theory of Chinese confucianismand Vietnamese Confucianism.
- To clarifu curent status of positive and negative impacts of
Confucianism “Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory on
Vietnamese women in the past and nowadays.
- To propose some measures for promoting its positive values and to
limit negative impacts on Vietnamese women nowadays.
3. Research objects and scope of study
3.1. Research objects
The thesis focuses on clarifying some basic contents in
Confucianism“Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory and its impacts
on Vietnamese women nowadays
3.2. Scope of study
- The thesis focuses on studying the impacts of “Three Obediences
and Four Virtues” theory on Vietnamese women nowadays
4. Theoritical basis and research methodology
4.1. Theoritical basis
- The thesis relies on the theoritical basis of Marxism and Leninism,
Ho Chi Minh’s Thoughts, guidlines and view points of the Communist
Party, and State policies on women.
- The thesis refers to classic works of Confucianismand previous
4.2. Research methodology
The thesis uses the methodology of Marxism and Leninism, Ho Chi
Minh’s Thoughts; close combination of theories and practice, analysis,
logics, history, statistics, comparision, and pratical summary...
5. Scientific contribution of the thesis
- The thesis give an overview about basic contents of “Three
Obediences and Four Virtues” theory in ChineseConfucianismand
- The thesis further analyzes the positive and negative impacts of
“Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory on Vietnamese women
- From positive, negative impacts and contradictions that exist in real
social issues, the thesis proposes some points of view and measures in order
to promote the positive values and to limit the negative impacts of “Three
Obediences and Four Virtues” theoryon Vietnamese women nowadays.
6. Theoritical and practical meanings of the thesis
6.1. Theoritical meanings
The thesis clarifies “Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory of
Confucianismand its impacts on Vietnamese women nowadays.
6.2. Practical meanings
- The research results of this thesis may be used as reference for
planning and executing policieson women affairs by the Communist Party
and the State nowadays.
- The thesis many be used as reference for studying Confucianismin
Vietnam, role, and position of Vietnamese women nowadays.
7. Structure of the thesis
In addition to the preamble, conclusion, and reference, this thesis is
consisted of 4 chapters, 11 sections.
OVERVIEW ON TOPIC-RELATED STUDIES
1.1. Research work on Confucianism ethics and “Three
Obedience and Four Virtues” theory in Confucianism
Studies on Confucianism ethics in general and “Three Obediences and
Four Virtues” theory in particular: Dao Duy Anh (1938), Confucianism
Essay Reviews,Quan Hai Tung Thu Publisher, Hue; Tran Trong Kim
(2006), Confucianism,Culture and Information Publisher, Hanoi; Phan Boi
Chau (1998), Confucianism, Culture and Information Publisher, Hanoi;
Quang Dam (1994),Confucianismin the past and nowadays, Literature
Publisher, Hanoi; Tran Van Giau (1985),Traditional spiritual Value in
Vietnam, Social science Publisher, Hanoi; Quang Dam (1994),
Confucianismin the past and nowadays, Literature Publisher, Hanoi; Phan
Dai Doan (1998), Some Confucianismissues in Vietnam,National Political
Publisher, Hanoi; Nguyen Dang Duy (1998), Confucianismand Vietnamese
Culture, Hanoi Publisher, Hanoi; Nguyen Hung Hau (2010), Introduction to
philosophy history in Vietnam,National Political Publisher, Hanoi; Vu Ngoc
Khanh (1998), Vietnamese family culture, Ethnic Culture Publisher; Vu
Khieu (1991), Confucianismin the past and nowadays, Social science
Publisher, Hanoi; Vu Khieu (1995), Confucianismand families, Social
science Publisher, Hanoi; Nguyen Thi Nga - Ho Trong Hoai (2003),
Confucianismconcept on human education, National Political Publisher,
1.2. Studies on “Three Obediences and Four Virtues” theory’s
impacts on Vietnamese women nowadays
“Three obediences, four virtues” theory has considerably affected
Vietnamese women nowadays. Therefore, there have had a number of
research works related to this matter. Typical examples for this are the
works of authors Phan Manh Toan (2011)Benevolence and propriety’s
effects on the current ethical lives in Vietnam , Doctor of Philosophy
Dissertation; Phan Huy Le – Vu Minh Giang (chief editor) (1994),
Traditional values and Vietnamese people,Volume 2, State-level science
and technology program KX 07, theme KX 07-02, Hanoi.
Tran Nguyen Viet (2002) is the author of writing titled "Vietnamese
traditional ethical values and ethical all-humankind universality in the market
economy”, Philosophical Journal, (5); Nguyen Tai Thu (2002) is the author
of writing titled "Confucianism and current industrialization and
modernization in Vietnam” , Philosophical Journal, (5); Le Thi Quy 1993) is
the author of writing titled “Confucianism and current family culture”,
Cultural and Art Research Journal, (4-112); Le Van Quan (1997) is known as
the author of writing titled "Lễ giáo Nho gia phong kiến curbing the current
development of Vietnamese women",Cultural and Art Journal, (01-151);
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan(2003) is known as the author of writing titled
"Confucianism and cultural behavior of Vietnamese common people in the
marital relationship and family", Cultural and Art Journal, (04-226).
1.3. Research works specifying viewpoints and solutions for the
promotion of positive effects and limitation of negative effects by the
“Three obediences, Four virtues” theory on Vietnamese present
Disseminating and educating quality and ethics of Vietnamese women
in the cause of national industrialization and modernization- Program 343,
The Ministry of Education and Training; Hard-working, good appearance,
well-spoken, well-behaved nowadays by Le Thi Bung, Nguyen Thi Van
Huong ; Effects of the “three obediences, four virtues” theory on Vietnamese
in ancient and present times- University-level scientific research theme by
Hoang Thi Thuan; Duong Thi Minh (2004) – University of Education , the
Book titled “Vietnamese family and roles of women in present time”, National
Political Publishing House, Hanoi; Le Minh(1997), the Book titled
“Vietnamese women in the family and society”, Labor Publishing House; Le
Thi (2004), the Book titled “ Family, Vietnamese women and population,
culture and sustainable development”, Social Science Publishing House,
The works has clarified basic categories and principles of the
Confucianism: concepts and contents of the “three obediences, four
virtues” theory in the development history of the Confucianism in China
and Confucianism in Vietnam; summarizing some traditional ethical
characteristics of Vietnamese people and specifying remains of
Confucianism ethics required to eliminate in the cause of building
socialism in Vietnam; demonstrating causes of feudal ethical remains and
several orientations for eliminating its negative effects and promote its
positive effects on Vietnamese present women.
Nevertheless, there have not had any independent, systematic and indepth works summarizing and analyzing the “three obediences, four
virtues” theory and its positive and negative effects on Vietnamese women.
Besides, there have not had any synchronizing and effective works
proposing viewpoints and solutions for the promotion of its positive effects
and limitation of its negative effects on Vietnamese people. This is a space
requiring the author to continue studies and clarification.
CONFUCIANISM-BASED “THREE OBEDIENCES, FOUR
2.1. “Three obediences, four virtues” theory of Confucianism in
2.1.1. Origin of Confucianism
22.214.171.124. Socio-economic bases for the formation of Confucianism
Confucianism was founded at the Spring and Autumn and Warring
States period in China. It is considered as the period of the most changes.
This period appeared a number of social conflicts making social orders be
upsetted; therefore, it is required to build a new social model towards a
disciplinary society. Moreover, it also marked the establishment and
development of many philosophical schools including Confucianism. The
Confucianism founded is for establishing a feudalism-concentrated social
126.96.36.199. Political, cultural and ideological premises for the formation
of Confucianism in China
The Confucianism was founded based on inheriting cultural and
ideological premises previously developed at the Spring and Autumn and
Warring States period in China.
Firstly, cultural premises. In this period, China soundly developed
inventions in a series of aspects like astronomy, mathematics, medical
science and political ideologies.
Secondly, ideological premises are the ideologies related to religion,
ethical thoughts of Zhou Dynasty. Zhou Dynasty highly appreciated the
thoughts of “God-worship”, “reception of peoples”, “virtuous’, “dutiful”.
These ideologies have affected the Confucian, as bases for building basic
categories over their theories such as Three bonds – Five Precepts, True name,
Three obediences – Four virtues, etc.
188.8.131.52. Confucius- founder of the Confucianism theory
Confucius (551 - 479 B.C) is the founder of Confucianism. He often
travelled to of preach the methods of national governance. In the upset
socio-economic situations of Zhou Dynasty, he founded the Confucianism
theory in the aim of directing human beings towards their true name.
Thereby, a new society is disciplinary, peaceful and prosperous.
2.1.2. Positions of the “three obediences, four virtues” theory in
Confucianism ethics in China and their relationship
184.108.40.206. Position of the “three obediences, four virtues” theory in
Confucianism ethics in China
Firstly, Confucianism focuses on building gentleman for social
ruling, thereby not discussing women a lot.
obediences, four virtues” theory was still mentioned when integrating it
with other categories such as three bonds, five precepts, true name.
Secondly, Confucianism considers family as a minimized society and
society as an extended family; therefore, the “three obediences, four
virtues” theory in the system of Confucianism ethics has been founded to
stabilize social order.
Thirdly, underlying purpose of the “three obediences, four virtues”
theory is for protecting status of the ruling class.
Fourthly, the “three obediences, four virtues” theory is the most
important standard, the most basic requirement of Confucianism ethics
over women. There is the integral relationship between them, helping
women possess a finished beauty under the Confucianism’s standards
220.127.116.11. Relationship between the “three obediences” theory and the
“four virtues” theory over Confucianism in China
The similarity between the “three obediences” theory and the “four
virtues” theory is rules and standards compulsory for women.
The differences between them are shown on scope and the mentioned
Three obediences (三從) were originated from Rituals and Funeral
Clothing. Tu Ha story wrote: 1. Submission to her father before her
marriage (在家從父): She must submit to her father before her marriage; 2.
Submission to her husband during her marriage (出嫁從夫): she must submit
to her husband during her marriage; 3. Submission to her son when being
widowed (夫死從子): if her husband dies, she must submit to her son.
Four virtues includehard-working (婦功), good appearance (婦容),
well-spoken (婦言) and well-behaved (婦行):
1. Hard working: She is clever for cooking and housework.
Nevertheless, jobs for ancient women include sewing, embroiling, cooking
and trading work. A good woman possesses musical instrument playing,
chess playing, poem composing and painting abilities.
2. Good appearance: A woman must be affable, neat and respects her
3. Well-spoken: Spoken words must be gentle and deliberate.
4. Well-behaved: At home, she must be well-mannered, respects
older people and gives up to younger people, pampers her husband and
loves her children, gets on with relatives of her husband’s family. In the
society, she must be modest, mature and snobbish.
2.1.4. “Three obediences, four virtues” theory in the development
history of Confucianism in China
18.104.22.168. “Three obediences, four virtues” theory of primitive
Confucius and Mercius established the “three obediences, four
virtues” theory to teach women. In terms of four virtues, Confucius
especially appreciated the “virtue” of women. Virtue is the base of
Hardworking- Good appearance- Well-spoken. In terms of virtues for
parents, Confucius especially respects the dutifulness. Mercius also
requested the women to “obey” their husband and human’s family.
22.214.171.124. “Three obediences, four virtues” theory of Confucianism in
In late Warring States period, Qin Dynasty used “legal ruling” to
unify and rule the country. Dong Trong Thu was the person making
considerable contributions to the restoration of Confucianism after
“burning books and burying scholars” by Qin Shi Huang.
In terms of women’s roles, Dong Trong Thu put forward the thought
of “obeying their husband in everything" – the wife must obey anything
that her husband has said regardless of rightness or wrongness.
Confucianism in Han Dynasty became an effective mental ruling tool of
the centralized autocratic state. Therefore, the “three obediences, four
virtues” theory is more strict to women, known as a base with paternalistic
and patriarchal thoughts.
126.96.36.199. “Three obediences, four virtues” theory of Confucianism in
For women, Confucianism strengthens the ideology “Male
Supremacy” (to value men above women)", "Father - Husband - Son".
More unfortunately, Confucianism has the extreme view about a woman's
virginity. Cheng Yisaid that: "starve is the little, losing the virginity is the
biggest." This isthe most typical evidence for the grim and strict Confucian
2.2. The theory of “Father - Husband - Son” (three submissions)
and “Work-Appearance- Word- Character” (four virtues) in
2.2.1. Overview of Confucianism introduction into Vietnam
Confucianism was introduced into Vietnam during the Chinese
domination for a thousand of year. Especially, for each different historical
period and each different dynasty, the position and role of Confucianism
are different. In one thousand year of feudalism, Confucian in general and
the theory of “Father - Husband - Son” and “Work-Appearance- WordCharacter” in particular had a profound influence on the Vietnamese life
and people. Confucian contributed to build the national traditions, ideology
and culture and the image of Vietnam women from traditional style to
The most noteworthy thing is that when it existed in Vietnam,
Confucianism was not completely stereotyped as Chinese Confucian that it
has been modified to fit the Vietnamese tradition.
2.2.2. Factors changing the content of the theory of “Father Husband - Son” and “Work-Appearance- Word- Character” in
First, Vietnamese has had the tradition of respecting the women for
thousands of year.
Second,the practical history of building and protecting our country as
well as Vietnam’s cultural tradition has regulated the receiving way and
changed the theory of three submissions and four virtues of Confucianism.
Third, during the process of Confucianism introduction into Vietnam,
Confucians have received and applied this content in accordance with the
Fourth, during the process of Confucianism’s introduction into
Vietnam, Buddhism and Taoism have been also introduced into our
Fifth, Vietnamese traditional families are very different from the
Chinese patriarchy ones.
The aforementioned fundamental factors have changed the theory of
three submissions and four virtues in Vietnamese Confucianism. Those
were also the foundation to regulate the contents and features of the theory
of three submissions and four virtues in Vietnamese Confucianism.
2.2.3. Overview of the content and feature of the theory of three
submissions and four virtues in Vietnamese Confucianism
188.8.131.52. The contents of the theory of three submissions and four
virtues in Vietnamese Confucianism
The contents of the theory of three submissions and four virtues in
Vietnamese Confucianism have been shown in the family songs, feudal
laws. In general, this content is very little different from Chinese
184.108.40.206. Some fundamental features of the theory of the three
submissions and four virtues in Vietnamese Confucianism
Firstly, the theory of three submissions and four virtues have been
admitted and appreciated by Vietnamese feudal laws.
In the feudal period, most laws had the content relating to women,
especially Hong Duc Law and Gia Long Law. In general, although there
were a lot of advantages in comparison with Chinese, these laws still had
the ideology of Male Supremacy. They had forced women to depend on
men. “Nguyen dynasty” was significantly influenced by Confucianism;
therefore they had the extreme view about the women’s virginity and
appreciated “virginal women”
Secondly, the theory of three submissions and four virtues has been
built by the Confucianism trend and under the form of family songs.
Some people say that: “It is difficult to teach women” and they also
slight women because of their illiteracy, from those, in the feudal period,
Confucians trended to write the theory of three submissions and four
virtues under the form of poems, family songs - those to teach women. In
those family songs, Confucians gave much content to force women to learn
and follow. In addition to those, they also gave the content of prohibitions to
women and all of them related to the theory of three submissions and four
Thirdly, the theory of three submissions and four virtues had been
shown in the regulations of Vietnamese communes
Those regulations were the social conventions of the communes
written by Confucians. In those regulations, Confucians gave the rules of
the family to men and women. If they had done contrary to those
regulations, they would have been fined
Fourthly, the theory of three submissions and four virtues had been
shown in folklore, particularly folk songs and proverbs.
Fifthly, the status of Vietnamese women had "softened" the theory of
three submissions and four virtues.
Compared with China, the status of Vietnamese women has been
raised a lot and assigned the important tasks. In Vietnam, women are
considered "Internal Queen" of the family. The reason for this is that
Vietnamese family model is different from the Chinese family model.
Vietnam family model typically includes two generations; therefore the
wife's status was enhanced. But in China, the family model mainly
includes multiple generations; so it is necessary to have the head man to
direct all the work and maintain order and discipline in the family
Sixthly, the theory of three submissions and four virtues in Vietnamese
Confucianism respected the practice rather than the theory.
Seventhly, during the period from the thousands of years ago until
now, Vietnamese women in all levels have positively participated in social,
cultural and political activities. The Vietnamese history and culture have
always recorded the names of women who contributed to the success of the
nation, such asTrieu Thi Trinh, Duong Van Nga, Y Lan, Bui Thi Xuan,
Ms.Ba Cai Vang, etc. Those good examples are always in hearts of the
people. The noble beauty of Vietnamese women have made the theory of
three submissions and four virtues change in Vietnam and have
fundamental differences with this ideology in China
Conclusion of Chapter 2
As a political, social and moral theory, Confucianism became a tool
to protect the status of the ruling class. Confucianism advocates to educate
the morality for people to bring the society from chaos statement from
peaceful and prosperous statement. The category of moral education of
women is mentioned primarily in the theory of three submissions and four
The theory of three submissions and four virtues gave the moral
standards that women have to listen. Besides the positive values, such as
teaching women to complete their appearance beauty and spirit beauty, the
theory also brought a lot of negative effects that included the idea: “Male
Supremacy” being deeply into social life. Etiology of this thought is that
Confucian would like to educate women under their standards to maintain
family order and more importantly social order and the final aim is to
protect the status of the ruling class.
Confucianism has deeply affected the social life of the East Asian
countries, including Vietnam. It is worth noting that Confucianism in
Vietnam was converted with a number of contents or in other words, it was
"softened" and "refracted" to suit Vietnamese life. Therefore, in Vietnam,
the negative nature of this theory has decreased more than Confucian in
China. In Vietnam, the status of women is respected than women in other
EFFECTS OF THE THEORY OF THREE SUBMISSIONS AND
FOUR VIRTUES TO VIETNAMESE WOMEN NOWADAYS– THE
STATUS AND EMERGING ISSUES
3.1. Negative effects of the theory of three submissions and four
virtues to Vietnamese women nowadays
3.1.1. Negative effects of the theory of three submissions and four
virtues to Vietnamese women in family nowadays
220.127.116.11. The theory of three submissions and four virtues causing
thepsychology: “Male Supremacy”
Firstly, the “Male Supremacy” psychology is expressed clearly
through the theory.
The first thought of three submissions was that women had not got
married; they had to listen their father. The thought still deeply affects the
Vietnamese cultural lives. In the Vietnamese family nowadays, most men
play an important role and all other members must obey them.
Accordingly, when the daughter has not got married yet, they must strictly
obey her father’s arrangements on the issue of studying, career and mate
The negative sides of “her husband as a wife” thought have much
influence on women. Compared with the husband, the wife has much more
Firstly, in some families, the husband remains the decisive role in
issues relating to children
Secondly, the husband holds the financial source in family; therefore
he has right to decide all expenses in the family
Thirdly, there are still many opinions that show the housework must
be done by women and men have no responsibility for doing that work.
Fourthly, in production, the wife often takes on the tasks which are
time-consuming and effort-consuming but less income than men, such as
embroidery, sewing, farming, and cattle-breeding…
Fifthly, in a family, women have less time to rest than men.
Sixthly, there is inequality in reproductive health care and family
Seventhly, there is inequality in accessing to resources and
opportunities for development.
Eighthly, there is inequality in internal and external affairs.
Ninthly, many husbands still have serious paternalism that leads to
domestic violence, gratuitous jealousy, binding the wife with household
chores, prohibiting the wife from expanding her social relationships.
Tenthly, there are some men who are indifferent to academic and
fame career of their wife.
Nowadays, although the Law regulates that if husband is dead, wife
is allowed to get married another man, she still has responsibility for her
children; the negativity of ideology “her sons in widowhood” actually still
has some effects although its influence is not too much high. That is in the
case of husband’s death, the wife is afraid of public opinion so she doesn’t
dare to marry again. Besides that, the woman whose husband died has
lived alone and sacrificed her own happiness to bring up her children but
her children are undutiful to her.
Secondly, the psychology of Male supremacy (to value men above
women) is also reflected clearly in the need of male birth.
The paternalism and male-supremacy of Confucianism have been
rooted in people’s life, therefore, people in families highly evaluate malebirth and find any way to be born a son. These radical thoughts and actions
make our country become one of countries having the highest abortion rate
and gender imbalance rate in the world.
Thirdly, the psychology of Male supremacy is also reflected through
the property division and investment level for children.
Many families focused investing education, property division for boys
more than for girls. The reason of this matter is that the son is considered as
an heir and the daughter will get married and serve for her husband’s family,
thus investment for girls is not as much as for boys.
18.104.22.168. Three obediences and Four Virtues have obstructed the policy of
The psychology of “her father as a daughter” has respected decided
role of father to his daughter. In which, the father has the right to decide
his daughter’s marriage. The daughte’s chance of choosing her husband is
affected by her father. On the other hand, in a marriage, wife is always
dependent on her husband. Today, although the Law proposes the
monogamous marriage, actually in many areas (some locals nearby Hanoi)
there is phenomenon that a man can get married with many wives at once
and the former wives must accept it. This is negative consequence of threeobedience theory and it has still affected until now.
22.214.171.124. Theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues creates
dependent and passive psychology of wife to her husband, which has
obstructed the development of woman today
Firstly, the woman has accepted to live smugly.
Secondly, women themselves have weak reactions to Domestic
Thirdly, women themselves have not appreciated their position and
their role in family and society, so they are dependent, passive and not
trying to overcome difficulties in studying and social work, in fighting for
equal rights on their side.
126.96.36.199. Theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues is one of reason that
Although Law of gender quality was issued and came into force from
2007, as a result of negative influence of theory of three obediences and
four virtues, so our country is still the country with high Domestic
violence, in which mainly are that husband beating his wife, father beats
his children. Significantly, in cases of domestic violence from the husband
to the wife, there are few wives denouncing their husbands because they
are afraid the public opinion that “to be ashamed as husband as wife” or
“air your dirty linen in public”
3.1.2. The negative effects of theory of Three obediences and Four
Virtues to Vietnamese women in society today
188.8.131.52. The theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues has limited
the posibility of participating social acitivities of women
Người The women are affected by the ideology “male-supremacy”,
“women with smug feeling” from their husbands and their relatives, so
they do not get support to develop social activities from these people. On
the other hand, there are many women who are dependent too much, not
trying to overcome difficulties and change their situations, but accepting
the dependent life to their husbands. This has made them create distance in
participating in social activities.
184.108.40.206. The theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues has limited
the posibility of being agencies’ leaders of women
With the main ideology “Male-supremacy”, the theory of Three
obediences and Four Virtues is a barrier not only for women’s social activities
participation but also their being leader possibility.
Affected by the ideology “male – supremacy”, men have disregarded
the position and role of women in social activities. On the other hand, not
only men have improper look to women, but also even women haven’t
overcome ancient prejudices to themselves and others.
220.127.116.11. The theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues is barrier
causing gender inequality in acessing and enjoying social interests
The negativities of theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues,
gender prejudices are the cause of the disparity in opportunities for
employment, income and promotion between male and female. The reason of
this problem is that female labor force have trouble about health, fertility, time
of caring children and families; therefor, they cannot spend enthusiamsm as
much as male labor force. With the disparity of working year amount is 5
years, it helps women to recovery their health but it’s also an obstacle for
women of being in structure of source leading cadres.
3.2. The positive effects of theory of Three obediences and Four
Virtues to Vietnamese women in society today
3.2.1. The theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues has a great
impact on the education of respecting sense for family’s disciplines and
background to stabilize social order.
Today, besides the negative effects, the theory of Three obediences
and Four Virtues also has a lot of positive effects to social life. One of the
positive effects is that this theory plays an important role in awareness
education for women of respecting family’s descipline and background to
stabilize social order. It requires and forms for women how to behave properly
in harmony with her parents, husband and children. This is really important in
the market economy, where many traditional values are turned upside down.
3.2.2 The theory of Three obediences and Four Virtues helps women
perfect outside and inside beauty to meet the requirements of social
Today, the diligent work of women has changed a lot compared with
the previous one. The woman is not confined within the family but also
extended to society. In family, they are major force in housework, raising
children, taking care of the house, managing household economy. In society,
the qualification of women is increasingly improving, they are the large
social labor force, women holding leadership position are also increasing.
This is a new and advanced aspect of modern women.
Nowadays, many women are so keen on working and money that
they forget their duties to their family. They don’t have enough time to
taking care their family, which makes their family unstable, their children
are not got personality-education perfectly. Women should realize that
their natural role as wife, mom and the person building family nest is their
responsibility. They should manage their time suitably to solve work of
family and society.
Appearance according to Confucianism’s concept is understood as
physical beauty, expressed through natural appearance combined with
costumes and make-up that makes a general decency. Nowadays, material
and spiritual life is increasingly improving, women have chance to taking
care their outside beauty. They come to beauty salon, learn to makeup,
dressing. However, there are many women have learned flashy Western
dressing style… which not consistent with Vietnamese traditions.
Therefore, appearance concept of Confucianism is much more valuable
when it help to form modern beauty of women to traditional standards.
Speech is focused on courteous, discreet, sound of soft words,
listening easily. Because of the nature of work, women cannot be too shy
anytime, anywhere as the former women. To meet the increasing demands
of modern society, language in communication is gradually intellectual and
We need to look straight into the limitations of using the language of
women today. That is "slang" language, bad words, or questions with
content lack of transparency. Before the situation above, the speech of
women must be polite, respect and order, which still are the necessary
principles for effort of women in modern society.
This is the foundation of human, the moral of man. Woman's virtue is
expressed including domestic skills, appearance, speech and behavior.
Behavior shows the response of women with other relatives in family,
colleagues, villages and the Fatherland.
Currently, under the impact of the market economy, many moral values
have been turned upside down. Accordingly, the morality of women is also
modified so that four virtues play an important role in educating the women
becoming more complete.
3.3. Factors changing the influence of theory of three obediences
and four virtues for Vietnam women today
Firstly, in the Platform for national construction in the transitional
period to socialism, approved by VII Congress of the Party in 1991, our
Party has taken Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh’s Ideology as the
foundation and lodestar for our country's revolution.
Secondly, the role of women has been supported and honored by our
Thirdly, men and women have been had the thought, role assessment
of women in the direction of progress than before.
Finally, Vietnam women are key factor in contributing to the success
of wars against the French and American and the reforms of the country
from 1986 to present.
3.4. Some of the problems posed by influence of three obediences
and four virtues in Confucianism for Vietnam women today
3.4.1. Contradiction between requirements for promoting values of
three obediences and four virtues for the strong impacts of market
economy and international integration of Vietnam today
Market economy has been strongly impacted on the social life of
Vietnam in both positive and negative aspect. The positive aspect improves
the material and spiritual life of people as well as promotes the dynamic
and creation of people. The negative is the alienation of traditional moral
values and decency and order in the society turned upside down.
In new conditions, the traditional ethic values of women have been
had contradictions, the struggle between progress and backwardness;
healthy honesty and loyalty lifestyle and pragmatic, deceitful, selfish,
battens lifestyle or for money. New ethics of women in the new society
must to struggle with other ethical systems and struggle to innovate
traditional values as well as affirm themselves in changing conditions.
3.4.2. Contradiction between conservative and outdated concepts of
three obediences and four virtues with advanced viewpoints in building
the modern ethic standard of Vietnam women today
Firstly, the conservative and outdated concepts are due to the
negative influences of three obediences and four virtues.
Secondly, in consistent with requirements of industrialization and
modernization of the country, we have been putting out the advanced
modern Vietnam women.
However, when inheriting the traditional moral values of the nation, it
needs to firmly reject the old, outdated or inappropriate traditions as well
as by practice to affirm the new values occurring in consistent with new
development stage of country. The new ethics of women are to struggle
with conservative, outdated viewpoints of three obediences and four
virtues, as well as to self renewal and affirm in new conditions.