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Disgraceful MattersThe Politics of Chastity in Eighteenth-Century China$
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Janet Theiss

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240339

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240339.001.0001

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The Wages of Wanton Mixing: Violation and Gender Disorder

The Wages of Wanton Mixing: Violation and Gender Disorder

(p.133) Chapter 6 The Wages of Wanton Mixing: Violation and Gender Disorder
Disgraceful Matters

Janet M. Theiss

University of California Press

As they worked to carry out the dynasty's civilizing mission, officials contended not only with the fracturing of patriarchal authority but with what they perceived to be the widespread ignorance and wanton violation of the standards of gender separation that defined moral order. The illicit sex statute, the Qing state's clearest defense of husbandly prerogative, assumed an idealized moral universe in which chastity, narrowly construed as absolute sexual loyalty to a present, past, or future husband, was nurtured in the inner quarters of the family. Yet as numerous judicial commentators throughout the Qing period pointed out, the presumed dichotomies of chaste and unchaste, inner and outer, coercion and consent that structured the rape statute were fundamentally untenable in judicial practice.

Keywords:   gender separation, female chastity, patriarchal authority, Qing state, sex statute, rape statute

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