In this novel, Julia Alvarez manages to capture and express the true feelings of women which deconstructs the stereotypes through Yo. Feminism is defined as “a political movement that works to achieve equal rights for women and men” (Hirsch 113). For the past ages, women were seen in the society as inferior to men and were greatly excluded from education and the right to property ownership. A British feminist named Mary Wollstonecraft argues, “educational restrictions keep women in a state of ignorance and slavish dependence” (Blake 117). The shattering of classifications and stereotypes, and the subversion of traditional gender roles, and the concept of sisterhood or unity among women are among the main tenets of feminist criticism.
(Habegger, 1969) What is missing in this portrayal is men post feminist movement and the effects it has had on them and women who wish to live by their feminine roots. In looking at the text however there are three major gender attitudes to be covered. The chauvinistic male, the feminist female and the directionally challenged woman. This is the basis for the message portrayed by ‘The Bostonians’. In order to understand the implications of this message, the three main characters can be analysed in terms of their particular role in society both in the time in which the novel was written and today’s society.
She lived in a time period where “radical ideas that had seemed impossible to realize only a generation earlier swept throughout Europe with astounding force” (Austin 35). Her thesis reinforces the idea of not only equality between men and women but equality in duties as well. Wollstonecraft mainly focuses on co-education and its spiraling demise that women are going through because they are not co-educated. She says, “Women have been allowed to remain in ignorance, and slavish dependence, many, very many years, and we hear of nothing but their fondness of pleasure and sway, their preference of rakes and soldiers, their childish attachment to toys, and the vanity that makes them value accomplishments more than virtues” (Austin 37). The negative impact of not having women educated with men is illuminated when she describes women from a man’s viewpoint.
As an example two influential short stories will be discussed in depth in order to shed light into the lives of the two authors and their stories. The short stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935) and Angela Carter (1940–1992) both sideway the same idea; the confinement of women in particular roles and positions in both personal and professional lives, posed on them by patriarchal figures. Toril Moi quotes in her examination of feministic criticism, Sexual/Textual Politics (2002), Elaine Showalter’s idea that “women writers should not be studied as a distinct group on the assumption that they write alike, or even display stylistic resemblances distinctively feminine” (Moi, 2002: 49), which comes across when reading the two stories which are stylistically already very different. It might be so that a feminist reader of both times (there’s some 80 years difference between the two stories) did not only want to see her own experiences mirrored in fiction, but strived to identify with strong, impressive female characters (Moi, 2002: 46), and looked for role-models that would instil positive sense of feminine identity by portraying women as self-actualising strong identities who were not dependent on men (Moi, 2002, 46). The two stories bring out two female characters, very different by position and character; the other a new mother, scared and confused of her own role, and the other a young newly-wed girl, still a child, being fouled by a much older man, mainly as a mark of his authority over women in general.
June is another victim of patriarchal oppression just like Connie’s mother, a typical “house wife”. Both the mother’s and sister’s roles fully reflect how women were treated at that time. They were controlled by males, displayed a lack of confidence and did not have their own independent self-consciousness. Oates used Connie’s independent identity and rebellious behaviors to represent women’s dissatisfaction with patriarchy, but had no courage to make a change. When Oates starts the story by introducing Connie without a last name, Oates created a character with a clear independent identity, while at the same time rebelling against the patriarchy.
These experiences include the strong attachment between author and book which is also hinted at the beginning with the possessive pronoun ‘Her’. However, if the context of Bradstreet being a female writer and the period of time in which the poem is set in is taken into consideration, the use of ‘Her’ and a female persona could also be interpreted as the poet’s attempt at an egalitarian approach to literature. This is subtly suggested towards the end of the poem when the speaker states, “If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none;” The poem begins with the archaic pronoun ‘Thou’ and it immediately sets up the historical context of the poem. Recognition of the archaic form is vital as it helps modern readers gain a clearer picture of the predicament at that time and
The Discrimination against Women Identities Throughout history, female were considered lesser beings and nothing more than the property of their husband. In the short story, Blank Spaces by Joanna Cockerline, the acknowledgment of female being inferior creatures in comparison to men is highlighted. Struggle against misfortunes, Elizabeth is oppressed by the social inequality due to the fact that she is a girl. In Blank Spaces, the social inequality implied by the narrative severely impacts Elizabeth’s career hierarchy, character traits, and life experiences. Like many feminist writer, Cockerline focuses her emphasis on how social norm discriminate women by inhibit their job opportunities.
History 201 Professor Studebaker “Her-Story of Women’s Suffrage” Makyla Pittman Imagine living a life filled with all forms of discrimination where you have no voice in the government under which you live and in the equality of social life where you are a chief factor. It is a difficult scenario to visualize and before the 19th century that was the reality of a women’s position in this world. With limited access, a young wife and mother was expected to manage a household, train her children, keep her friends and sustain the affections of her husband. In a world filled with patriarchal constraints women were forced to fall back on their instinctive resources of common sense, wisdom, diplomacy and knowledge of human nature. Education, employment, and politics are all barriers where women were held back from the full development of their faculties.
Women’s opinions are silenced by the rules, norms and perspectives of the dominating patriarchal society. They have lost their individuality as a human being. This story is about a very unusual day in the life of an extraordinarily virtuous woman who, having otherwise sacrificed life and limb for her family for years had enough self-respect and self-esteem left to take advantage of a fleeting fortuitous circumstance and temporarily break out of the box of her usually studious and exemplary way of life. The story takes place in the early 1890s, when the society was dominated by patriarchy. The role played by men and women in the society were poles apart.