Volume 13, Issue 4 p. 619-631

the named and the nameless: gender and person in Chinese society

RUBIE S. WATSON

RUBIE S. WATSON

University of Pittsburgh

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First published: November 1986
Citations: 75

Abstract

Personal naming provides an insight into the construction of gender and person in Chinese society. The process of naming marks important social transitions for Chinese men; the more names a man has the more socialized and also, in a sense, the more individuated he becomes. By contrast, married women in rural China are essentially nameless. If personhood is a process of social growth, judged against the standard of men, the evidence presented here suggests that Chinese women do not, indeed cannot, attain full personhood.