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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

The Logic of Female Suicide

The Logic of Female Suicide

(p.192) Chapter 9 The Logic of Female Suicide
Disgraceful Matters

Janet M. Theiss

University of California Press

Many cases of adultery or assault at every level of society started with the fact of the husband's long-term absence from the household. If improper interactions were common, so too was illicit sex. Indeed, the case record contains at least as many instances of women responding to flirtation by assenting to an affair as of women resisting harassment. Others hoped to get money, free lodging, or food in exchange for sex. It was not uncommon for husbands to tolerate or even encourage such affairs, assault, or rape. In the context of an intense politics of chastity fraught with contradictions and conflict, women's suicides in the wake of sexual assault or harassment became profoundly assertive, public, and political acts that placed women at odds with state, family, and community authorities and the dominant gender orthodoxy they represented.

Keywords:   adultery, flirtation, sexual assault, rape, women's suicides, gender orthodoxy

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