In the late 1800s, nearly all women were viewed as subservient, inferior, second class females that lived their lives in a patriarchal and chauvinist society. Women often had no voice, identity, or independence during that time period. Moreover, women dealt with the horrors of social norms and the gender opposition of societal norms. The primary focus and obligation for a woman to obtain during the 1800s was to serve her husband and to obey to anything he said. Since women were not getting the equality, freedom, or independence that they desired, Kate Chopin, an independent-minded female American novelist of the late 1800s expressed the horrors, oppressions, sadness, and oppositions that women of that time period went through.
After marriage, women did not have the right to own their own property, keep their own wages, or sign a contract. In addition, all women were denied the right to vote. “The cult of true womanhood ideology extended middle-class ideals far beyond the middle class and affected marriage, female education, and employment choices, as well as strategies for obtaining women’s rights…”(WOMEN). American women of the late 1800’s struggled with no rights in the government, considered inferior, and married women had no separate identity from her husband. One reason American women were treated poorly is because of their rights in the American government.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s contribution to this cause was monumental to the start of this movement. They, along with plenty of other women and rights activists, fought for equality for women in society. Not having the right to vote made women feel as if their opinions and political views were trivial and not equal to those of men. However, men felt as if women were too emotional, less educated, and were unable to evaluate political issues that did not pertain to a group consisting of mostly stay at home mothers. Obviously, as history has now demonstrated, exactly the opposite is true.
The Victorian era was also defined by a rigid social structure. Members of the upper class tended to look down upon the lower class because of their lack of education and sophistication. Marriage primarily took place within social classes. Those who married outside of the class went against societal norms and were ostracized. Through writing Jane Eyre, Bronte wants the reader to stand up to the rigid gender and social standards to create a society with equality of rights for all.
The Yellow Wallpaper is considered to fall in the genre of realism because it represents the way life was for women during the nineteenth century. Gilman intentionally tried to make Jane a typical woman of the time period. She is economically dependent on her husband, as she does not work out of the house. She is not allowed to make her own decisions, John will not let her out of bed, even though she wishes to do so; and she is often treated like a child, John gives her a dirty look when she expresses that she is still not well when he believes that she is getting
During the Puritan times gender roles in the society were very anti-feminist. Women were required to act as housewives and do womanly duties such as cook, clean, and take care of their children. Women had very little freedom as far as their rights were concerned also. Puritan writers, Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson both experienced the struggle of the anti-feminist movement. From their writings we see that they both were against anti-feminism and they tried their best to abandon the whole idea.
In the renaissance period, the status and the presentation of women was oppressive and restrictive. Women were allowed to enjoy very few economic and political rights and acted submissively in front of their fathers and husbands. They were forced to remain in the domestic part of their society. Their roles as daughters, mothers and wives were considered significant in the renaissance age. Their reproductive capabilities was extremely important for inheritances and for maintaining the family line.
Throughout the book, Moody narrates the difference between and her mother’s way of thinking which signifies their generation gap. Anne mood’s mother, Toosweet Davis (Mama) led a challenging life of inequality and suppression. Just like many African Americans of her generation, Mrs. Davis fears to protest for justice and equality. Similarly, Toosweet lacked the confidence to stand up against her husband family. After witnessing this, Moody showed the lack of respect for her mother’s actions of belittling herself.
There is a social hierarchy in a place where women are inferior to men. Being born a woman lead to a life of order and minimal room for error. Ironically, the women are at fault because they are women, and they pay the price for it. Knowing that she lives in a patriarchal society, it is possible that she chose to commit suicide because she didn’t want to live such a miserable life any longer. Neither did she want that life for her child, especially if that child had been a girl.
A Doll’s House, a play written by Henrik Ibsen was an interesting read and practically a glimpse of how women were treated in the 19th century. Ibsen’s play portrayed women whose inner nature was strongly in conflict with the role the 19th century woman was called on to perform in the society (Ibsen, 2017). The daily life of women in the 19th century was that of many obligations and fewer choices, women were always being controlled by men, first by their father, brother, uncle and then their husbands. For instance, Father’s would not educate their daughters or they would rather get a special kind of education such as those in sewing, catering or housekeeping in order to prepare them as “Dolls in the house”; with the sole idea that they would eventually become properties of another man, therefore, there