Traditional beauty of Vietnamese women

Do the women of today need “Cong, Dung, Ngon, Hanh” (“Harworking, Beautiful, Well-spoken and Well-behaved”)?

In the old times, talking of women, our society usually used “Tu duc” (“Four traditional Vietnamese women’s virtues”): Cong, Dung, Ngon, Hanh as a standard for identifying and evaluating their personal dignity. Nowadays, is this concept of “four virtues” backward in the industrialization era?


In reality, any society, whether highly or lesser civilized, needs to develop and live by virtuous standards.Each person is a cell of the society and must abide by its social or civil standards. Therefore, each individual must train his/her self to have a virtuous way of living, to inherit from their forefathers’ long-standing tradition. However, does the traditional concept of “Cong, Dung, Ngon, Hanh”, in our current time, need some new features?.


“Cong (Hardworking)” is the first of 4 mentioned virtues that the ideal women should have. To be more specific, women need to be both skilful in managing household affairs and clever for maintaining a happy family atmosphere, providing good health, educating their children and teaching them correct behavior. In addition, many women of today are not o­nly expected to practice good house keeping, but also have a stable job. The modern ideal women are those who live for the family without neglecting social work.


“Dung (Beautiful)” – another virtue demanded of good women includes their physical and spiritual beauty. Without a noble soul and altruism, women will not be considered beautiful, even if they are very charming and fashionable. In our day, physical beauty must always appear together with good health, thus being graceful is no longer the o­nly standard used to define women’s physical beauty. Being healthy, women will be able to work effectively and take good care of their families and themselves.


“Ngon (Well-spoken)” meaning soft and lovely expression is also another character that women should have. Nowadays, the term “Well-spoken” means that apart from possessing soft and lovely expression, good women should be also elegant in social communications, frank, forceful and dare to fight against inequity and inequality in family and social relations. Women should always be clever and knowledgeable to behave well in the family, in the work place, as well as in society.


“Hanh (Well-behaved)” is another sweet character showing Vietnamese women’s love for their husband & children and their consideration for the humanness of people. Women’s dignity includes their faithfulness to their husband; their sincere love and firm commitment to marriage in the face of a range of seducements caused by the current competitiveness of society.Women nowadays should be a good, industrious and thrifty citizen, having their own dreams, being conscientious & ambitious in their work, altruistic and generous to people. In addition, they should be responsible for their country, their family and themselves.


In conclusion, modern women cannot lack the traditional virtues: Cong, Dung, Ngon, Hanh. These are 4 attributes forming the beauty of women living in the industrialization era
Hong Van