European Women Identity Analysis

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Everyone has at least one identity or characteristic in which they identify. Identities can aid someone by allowing them to have more opportunities in life, while other identities can limit them. Some common identities that can significantly affect the opportunities and options in one 's life are gender, race, and religion. Throughout history, society has seen certain identities as more desirable than others. In European history, society had certain expectations of citizens and would systematically oppress those that did not fit into the mold of the perfect citizen. One identity that was particularly oppressed and expected to be a certain way were women. European society attempted to mold women into the ideal one by systematically pressuring…show more content…
Society expected women to be married, which affected the possible paths a woman could take in her life. The opportunities and freedoms of married women were different than those of a woman who was single. A single woman could own property and work, as opposed to a married woman whose property belonged to her husband and whose job was to take care of the household (Coursepack, 72). However, the jobs and professions available to women were not exactly desirable and also did not provide enough income to support oneself. An unmarried woman may have the freedom to choose her job, but the available opportunities paid less and were of lower status than the jobs available to men. Barbara Leigh-Smith discussed that women were "occasionally governors of prisons for women, overseers of the poor, and parish clerks," which were not of much prestige or significant pay (Coursepack,…show more content…
The private sphere was the home and household, meaning a married woman would spend her married life ensuring the household was ran smoothly. One duty of a woman in the private sphere was having children. Jean-Jacques Rosseau referred to child bearing as a woman 's "proper business" in Emile, or Education (Coursepack, 53). A woman would also have to keep the house clean while also keeping herself clean enough to not revolt her husband (Coursepack, 56). A wife was expected to be selfless and take care of the household by putting the family 's needs ahead of her
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