Gender Roles In A Midwife's Tale

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Around the late 18th to early 19th century, colonial American New England life was centered on living independently and being finally free from the British Empire after the Revolutionary War. Establishing control of a newly founded government with set functions and a first president, there were progressive changes that America had to act upon post-war. However, behind the political aspects that are greatly highlighted in American history, the roles of women in society, particularly midwives shouldn’t be cast aside. Although women were largely marginalized in early New England life because of their gender, nevertheless Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A Midwife’s Tale is instructive because it demonstrates the privilege of men’s authority in society…show more content…
This shows the absurdity that lies in blaming one gender of the equation since it requires male and female to create new life. However, it was very common to engage in premarital sex and when no charges were made, some people married out of wedlock. From then on, women were sought out to only raise children and their capabilities were limited to do housework. Besides physical strength, the main difference between a man and woman’s genetic makeup is the ability for women to be pregnant which doesn’t correlate to one’s intelligence. In early American life, married women were basically subjected to their husbands with no rights to own land, any amount of income they would make, would be given to their husbands. The so-called “American Dream” to be more individualistic rather than a collectivistic community like the British Empire didn’t follow through with women’s rights. Martha Ballard’s profession is then reduced by William Smellie as “he explained the importance of reassuring both the patient and her “friends”,” (65). This shows that males couldn’t conceive the idea of respecting women’s work and treating them as professionals. However, this also shows the apparent disconnect between male physicians and their patients.
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