Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Areeya Hutinta

Publication Date



The Concept of the ?Perfectly Virtuous Woman?: Constructed Identity of Khmer Women for the Nation aims to explore Khmer women?s constructed identity as it has changed throughout Khmer history. The concept of the ?Perfectly Virtuous Woman? (RsI RKb; lkçN_) refers to the practices of women: proper manners, roles according to their social status as the perfectly virtuous daughter, wife and mother, and how to live free of sexual denigration. The concept does not have a single or fixed meaning. It has been interpreted, adjusted and added to, thus creating new meanings throughout Khmer history from Pre-Vietnamization until the present time. The concept began before Vietnamization through role models in the oral tradition and literature influenced by religion. During Vietnamization, the concept was used to save the nation from assimilation. Then, the concept was adapted to be the role and duty of Khmer women to save their race. During the French Protectorate, the concept was modified by the Civilizing mission of the French. Under the Khmer Rouge, the concept was replaced by the equality of men and women as the children of Angkar. After liberation from the Khmer Rouge, the concept was revived to rebuild the country. In the post UNTAC phase until the present, the concept has been re-introduced to understand Khmer society. Throughout Khmer history, the concept has been constructed by the ruling class. Therefore, the concept contains hidden political objectives and has been applied to force women to perform various kinds of state assignment without question. The concept of the ?Perfectly Virtuous Woman? discusses what a Khmer woman should be and what in fact she is. Whether the concept of the ?Perfectly Virtuous Woman? will survive in the twenty-first century or not, is the main question for Khmer women.

First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.