Feminism In Herland

1483 Words6 Pages
In the late 19th and 20th century, there were two definitions of feminisms. One definition of feminism was that females were as human as men and not different. The other definition of feminism is that women are different than men and in some cases, superior. In Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, she reflects on these perspectives and untimely chooses the perspective that women are as human as men are, and from her novel, teaches is that women are barred from reaching their true human potential by 20tth century society.
Herland is a great 19th century novel about three men who stumble upon an all women society. Each men have different personalities and perspectives that reflect men in the late 19 to early 20th century’s view on women. Terry
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She portrays the superior potential of women while also showing the human potential that they have that constantly contradict each other to make a point. First, let’s explore the superior side of women. In Herland, the young women are highly athletic and can perform jobs and tasks not deemed womanly by the three men. For example, Alma, Cells, and Ellador could outrun the boys as they tried to grab them. In addition, the girls could subdue and drug the men unconscious. Also, the elderly is filled with wisdom of agriculture, botany and motherhood that keep the society fed and generations continued. In addition, they seem to not need men, to the surprise of Jeff, Terry and Van’s surprise, “to fear and therefore no need of protection. (49)” In a sense, Gilman is saying in her portrayal of Herland is why men? Women don’t need men because they can function without them and if not better. These women can outrun, outsmart and reproduce asexually better than men. So, why are the men in power in the late 19th century refusing rights to women if in fact women are the superior of the genders. To those men, they “do not allow our women to work. Women are loved—idolized—honored—kept in the home to care for the children.” Gilman shows that women are capable of more than that and can exceed the capabilities of means that they can function without them. It also raises the question in every woman reading her novel, that they deserve their rights because they are better than men and can live without them. The functioning society of Herland and the individual’s citizen’s superiority define feminism that women are better than men and ought to have rights just like
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