Virginia Woolf Male-Female Divide

1054 Words5 Pages
Virginia Woolf in her essay, “In Search of a Room of One’s Own” is astonished by the scarcity of women authors the Elizabethan period and is thus determined to find the causalities of this enigma. She makes clear the deficit of literature produced by female writers is an outcome of the male-dominated culture of the time, which entailed considerable difficulty for women to accomplish anything more than of those roles prescribed by society. I find Woolf 's arguments to be credible to the fullest, albeit it would have been preferable if she spoke of the male-female divide in more detail. On a related note, Anna Quindlen 's "Between the Sexes, a Great Divide" is a formidable choice for exemplifying the complexities of this bisection. In her essay,…show more content…
'See what Mr. Oscar Browning says, ' he would say; and there was not only Mr. Oscar Browning … there was an enormous body of masculine opinion to the effect that nothing could be expected of women intellectually” (Woolf 528). The quote provides a statement: masculine opinion alleged women to be intellectually inferior. This is not fact, just opinion. Having never broken the boundaries of male belief, women could not excel, as the patriarchal way of thinking forbid this. I see this as a matter of difference, and since Anna Quindlen is well versed in female-male relations, being a wife and mother to two boys, her view is studied. On one occasion, she details what the males in her life thought of her planting an amaryllis bulb, saying “A look flashed between them, and then the littlest boy, too. Mom. Weird. Women” (Quindlen 73). It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss why men and women think differently. However, what I see is both cases supporting the claim of a divide between the sexes, whether this is regarding the opinion of intellectual abilities or the planting of a flower. I suggest it is an important fact to consider that, if the idea of women being intellectually inferior to men is perpetuated, it is easy just to give in and agree with that false way of thinking,…show more content…
However, her character embodies the struggle of a real woman. Despite being equally gifted, Judith would be held from achieving the greatness her brother would go on to accomplish, as “it would have been impossible, completely and entirely, for any woman to have written the plays of Shakespeare in the age of Shakespeare.” (Woolf 523) While one could argue the shortage of famous, impressive literary works by women proves they are less capable than men, I can distinguish what Woolf truly implies. Essentially, the playing field is unequal. Fortunately, today we have less of this imbalance. As Quindlen says, “women should not be only permitted, but welcomed into a variety of positions and roles only men occupied.” (72) However, this was not the attitude in Shakespeare’s time. When regarding the treatment of women of her time, it would be impossible to have rivalled men in literary achievements. Virginia Woolf invents the character of Judith Shakespeare to explain because she is a woman, her talent leads to a vastly different end. Judith illustrates the improbability of women 's prosperity in writing literature at the time of
Open Document