Patriarchy Virginia Woolf

1055 Words5 Pages
“A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf explores the concept that the power of patriarchy is an illusion that may be nurtured or destroyed. The patriarchy of Woolf describes has been constructed through men projecting themselves in women. ‘Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size.’ Women are complicit in constructing the illusion of the patriarchy because they know and are offered no other way of life. The looking glass is symbolic of the distortion that has been constructed, in which the perceived superiority of men nurtures the inherent patriarchy present in Woolf’s society. Men may have enforced the oppression of the female gender but it could not have been done without the aid of women in upholding the illusion that the patriarchy is based on. If the truth of this illusion could be found, ‘if she begins to tell the truth, the figure in the looking-glass shrinks,’ the strength of this patriarchy would suffer. Inevitably, Woolf demonstrates that women and men are inextricably connected, as the men cannot function without the misconceptions of women. Ultimately the patriarchy remains because it is a constructed reality that is accepted as norm and thus exists unchallenged by society. ‘England is under the rule of a patriarchy. Nobody in their senses would fail to detect the dominance of the professor.’ Woolf uses high modality and an authoritative tone to stress the fact that there is no way to question the patriarchy because it is infallible. The professor is a metaphor for the patriarchy and acts to represent the dominance of the male sex. The men are able to control everything in society as ‘his was the power and the money and the influence’ whilst the other ‘half the human race indeed, are by nature inferior.’ An anaphora of ‘he was’ is used

More about Patriarchy Virginia Woolf

Open Document