The Promise: Love and Loss in Modern China by Xinran
"These were a set of moral principales that dictated how a woman should act, began in ancient times and continuing right through until 1949. Confucian in origin, they set the moral standart both for how women were required to act and how men must choose their wives.
The Three Obediences dictated that a woman must obey her father as a daughter, her husband as a wife and her son as a widow. The Four Virtues were feminine morality, physical charm, propriety in speech and efficiency in housework.
These "life principales" allowed no space for women to be themselves or have control of their own lives and needs. I always believed that love, true love between Chinese women and men pre-dating my parent's generation might have only have existed in art, in those beautiful paintings, statues and works of fiction. They could only "talk love", and never display their feelings physically, educated as they were according to the Three Obediences and Four Virtues"
"Sometimes, I really want to ask the young people of today what's so interesting about their love lives. To me, modern relationships just seem like a series of glorified trade-offs, as if people see love as a means to gain the upper hand in some way. I cant't make sense of it anyhow; I thought the human race was supposed to have advanced."