Equality In Sarah Hall's Daughters Of The North

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In a world where male-dominance is the standard for societies, there will always be a group of the subdominant gender that is looking to change the way that society functions, to achieve equality. However, opposers to the form sometimes head towards the extremes and surpass equality, only to achieve dominance. In Sarah Hall’s novel, Daughters of the North, she follows the protagonist, Sister, on her journey away from the dystopian, patriarchal society of England to an off-the-charts, female-only commune, named Carhullan. Sister dreams of a matriarchal, utopian community that is far different than the city she had left; however, what she finds is that Carhullan is not necessarily better, but simply ruled by a different, dominant gender. All…show more content…
Whenever Sister would criticize how the women are treated in her society or how awful it felt to have the uterine regular inside of her, Andrew would brush off the comments as an unimportant, woman’s-only issue. Sister would further try to explain to her husband the oppression herself, and many women, dealt with every day, “but he could not comprehend such petty complaints in the face of greater issues” (Hall 33). This brushing off of feminist and women's issues is similar to how our own patriarchal society disregards women’s issues. This is due to male privilege, a social issue that allows men advantages in life solely based off of their sex, and is prevalent in every aspect of life. In Allan G. Johnson’s article, Patriarchy, The System he states that “manhood and masculinity [are] most closely associated with being human and womanhood and femininity [are] relegated to the marginal position of ‘other’” (74). This demonstrates how, in our own society as well as Hall’s post-apocalyptic society, men view women as objects, as others, and therefore, do not need to see their issues or acknowledge them at all. Through male privilege, men see women’s issues as less important; thus, disregarding woman’s emotions and experiences. Similar to Andrew, our patriarchal society believes there is much more important issues at hand than feminist…show more content…
Despite Sister’s dreams that Carhullan was a sanctuary from oppression, it is, in fact, the invert of the outside world. Similar to the government in the outside world, whom hid Carhullan’s existence for fear of losing what was left of their people, Carhullan also rarely discussed news from the outside world. In fact, one of the commune’s members was born and raised at Carhullan and had never “been exposed to a world of inferiority or cattiness, nor male dominance. She was, in a way, an idealised female” (Hall 109). In other words, this daughter of Carhullan has never experienced male dominance - she has only ever known female dominance. This is the antithesis to the outside world as well as our own world, where males have never experienced a society where they were inferior. This proves that there is truly no change between the worlds other than which gender is dominant. Furthermore, men and women in our society, as well as within the outside world, are, fundamentally, kept separate. From work life to family life, males and females are expected, and often adhere, to different roles based on their gender. In fact, in the article The Social Construction of Gender by Judith Lorber, she states that in our society “one gender is usually a touchstone, the normal, the dominant, and
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