Sexual Violence and the Victorian Era: Oppressive Social Forces in Robert Browning’s Printable Version By Christine Utz Robert Browning’s poem “Porphyria’s Lover” is a social representation of the Victorian era, which supported the creation of dominant and sexually abusive men. During the nineteenth century, Victorian ideals determined the guidelines for social etiquette. A traditional regime of patriarchy flourished under the strict gender stratifications of the time period. However, tensions grew between the sexes in both the political and domestic realms and gender violence surfaced in response to the heightened conflicts. Robert Browning was born into this conservative time period, but was able to employ expressive freedom through literature.
The mother-woman role is another form of men control, because it dictates how women should idolize their children, worship their husbands, and honor their isolated but inferior positions. Kate Chopin bravely exposed an attitude of feminism to an unprepared society in her novel The Awakening. Her brilliant work of fiction was not recognized at the time because feminism had not yet become popular. Chopin defied societal assumptions of her time period and wrote the novel, The Awakening, using attitudes of characters in regard to gender, changed in the main character, imagery and Edna’s suicide to illustrate her feminist position. Society during Chopin’s time period believed women to be a weak, dependent gender whose position lay nothing above mothering and housework.
A feminist theory approach might have one interpret “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” as a clarion to the sexual ambiguity in the text. As Marilyn French points out re: the witches, “They are female, but have beards,” in itself pointing to the gender ambiguity in the play. (91). French goes on to suggest deeper issues with regard to gender roles in a male dominated society when she notes of women, “They are aggressive and authoritative, but seem to have power only to create petty mischief.” This all seems to suggest that the witches represent members of a society, (read here: women) characterized as having no true power, and with a penchant for wrongdoing. Lady MacBeth’s wish to shed her sexual identity, as seen through the “unsex me here” line, stamps an even greater importance on the notion that traditional male qualities alone are of any
Shaw viewed social inequalities between the classes and the lack of women’s rights as morally unjust. In defense of his play “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” Shaw claimed the need to “draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together.” Shaw argued that “starvation, overwork, dirt, and disease are as anti-social as prostitution.” Shaw illustrates these crucial social issues such as circumstance, necessity, knowledge, and “male licentiousness” in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.” Synopsis Vivie felt empathy for the difficult circumstances her mother was born into. She was moved by her mother’s tears and hardships.
Secondly, Atwood critiques the social structures and attitudes surrounding femininity. She does this by exposing the contradictions of expectations of women within the patriarchal regime of Gilead. However, Atwood does criticise feminism for its tendency to alienate people, with the example of Offred’s mother. This essay will argue that these criticisms don’t stop the novel from being a feminist work. In order to express her feminist ideas, Atwood uses criticisms of Offred and Janine’s complacency juxtaposed with positive feminist role models like Moira.
Caryl Churchill has explored such issues in her works mainly pertaining to the position of women in male-dominated societies. Indeed, some of her works utilize various plot structures to harness support for the improvement of the position of women in society while some attempt illustrate women’s vain struggle against oppressive patriarchal agents. The main concerns of the play are the empowerment of the upper class patriarchal agents as well as the repression of women which is everlasting in the societies ruled by patriarchs. Here, Churchill’s mission is to make an attempt to dismantle the patriarchal ideas which has made women’s repression commonplace. Keywords: Women’s oppression, Stereotypical witches, Patriarchy, Capitalism, Different class levels “A society is patriarchal to the degree that it promotes male privilege by being male dominated, male identified, and male centred.
An early 20th century literary critic by the name of David Daiches responded to Woolf’s essay by stating that her work is feminist. He continued to articulate that Woolf’s feminism highlights not only women and their relationship to fiction but also the people who have not had the opportunity to use it because of their lack of money and privacy. Similarly, Martin Luther King Jr. speech I’ve been to the mountain top is one that is viewed as an act to stand up for unity, economic actions, boycotts, and nonviolent protest . The matter at hand is injustice and inequality whether it is due to gender bias, racial discrimination or social economic class. This is a very sensitive topic and so to properly tackle this issue one most recognizes that this inequality is rooted in what shapes today’s society.
Although, it has been disputed that Duffy's poetry is misandrist due to her dismissive persona towards men. This dismissive persona that Duffy adopts may be used as a vehicle to place significance on the autonomy of women as Deryn Rees-Jones argues that she moves beyond 'a straightforwardly feminist poetry' and show the difficulties that patriarchy presents to both men and women.' Therefore, Duffy can be said to explore the gender restrictions for men as well as women through her depiction of male power. Duffy's reversal of gender roles in Little Red Cap challenges the view of the woman as 'cute but essentially helpless' through repositioning the reader’s understanding of feminine qualities, separating females from their male counterparts. Initially, Little Red Cap takes a domineering role throughout the poem, adopting the cultural stereotype of an 'immoral and dangerous seductress' which successfully reverses the socially constructed gender roles of woman as being 'naturally timid' and subverts the reader's expectations of the typical damsel in distress, 'a pursued maiden'.
In fact, the social perspective towards women was based on submission and passivity. As time progresses, Victorian scenario of men’s empowerment over women has changed and equity between sexes as a human right has gained significance. However, remaining sexist attitudes within contemporary societies could be taken as a reflection of sexism towards womanhood existent in Victorian Era. First of all, both the psychological phenomenon of the double standards and a high level of sexual repression in our societies catch the attention. Indeed, those concepts of sexual behavior have different views according to the historical context.
Pope used various tools to convey his satirical views on society, such as the formatting of the story as an epic, hyperbole, and comparisons throughout the story to battle. Pope also wrote The Rape of the Lock specifically to diffuse the tensions between the family of Arabella Fermor, who is portrayed as Belinda, and the family of Baron Robert Petre, who is the real-life counterpart of the Baron. In addition, Pope intended to call attention to the main flaws of women during the 18th century and to the fact that society itself was setting uncomfortably high standards for itself by using the epic form when they were not, in Pope’s eyes, worthy of epic poetry and the intensity and seriousness that is involved with those poems. Alexander Pope used several important and prominent tools of the 18th century to achieve the satirical tool that is conveyed throughout The Rape of the Lock. The first tool Pope used to convey the use of satire was the format in which it was written.