“Professions for Women” vs. “Nickel and Dimed”

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Stimulated by the frustration of the masculine control that dominated the Victorian era, Virginia Woolf displayed her genuine feelings of repression in her essay “Professions for Women.” Written in 1931, Woolf discusses the internal struggles many women deal with everyday, and how she was able to overcome these stereotypes of women to become an individual. In Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay, written in 2001, “Nickel and Dimed,” she recounts a time in her life where she left everything behind to investigate the difficulties low-wage workingwomen face. While both were faced with challenges, the way each of them handled these challenges was very different. Virginia Woolf shows her self-motivation to do well and become respected by others for her mind and dedication, regardless of the fact that she was a woman. Barbara Ehrenreich has a difficult time going from middle class, to a low wage cleaning lady living in a world controlled by a male. While on the outside Ehrenreich seems to handle all situations perfectly fine, in her mind she is intensely battling her “above it all” attitude. Woolf felt that for women to rise to their true potential they must wander around what is expected, while Ehrenreich seems to only do what is expected of her, feared of the consequences. Virginia Woolf was haunted by what she describes as the “Angel in the House.” This angel plagued her subconscious; relentlessly embedding into her mind what was expected of women in this time period. “Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own. Above all, be pure (Woolf, 458).” Women of this time period were supposed to be seen and not heard, homemakers, and mothers. Woolf wanted absolutely no part of it. She was her own woman and nothing would hold her back from that. Woolf’s only choice was to kill the voice in her head, “… It was she who bothered me and wasted my time and so tormented me that

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