Nineteenth century America was a time when women were expected to follow the cult of domesticity, a widely accepted opinion at the time. While fathers, brothers, sons, husbands and other male loved ones went off to fight in the American Civil War, women were left behind to take care of the remaining members of the family. “It was in the home that woman’s influence was paramount and her position assured.” For some women, this was enough, however, there were others who were not satisfied with this idea, and felt as though they were meant to become something more. However, there were some opportunities for women to step outside of the social customs and gender roles of the time. In fact, “the Civil War dramatically tested those boundaries of
Thrust into motherhood at the age of fourteen Anney Boatwright sets out to prove she is a good caring mother. Throughout a Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, she provides examples of Anney Boatwright as a loving mother of Reese and Bone, but then instances occur that show that might not be true. This essay will show that Anney Boatwright appears to love and care about her family, but fails as a mother because she lacks introspect, puts her daughters at risk, and abandons her family.
When comparing Anne – Marie Slaughter, the author of “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, and Ellen Ullman, the author of “How to be a Woman Programmer”, both possess a strong feminist perspective within their writing. In their articles, both female authors touch a nerve across generations, among both men and women, that has set off a new public debate on women’s progress and work-life balance. Slaughter and Ullman both agree that society still considers the woman to be the primary caregiver within the relationship. Due to these views, both women are combating sexism within the workplace, but, despite this, both are strong, career driven women.
The role of a woman in society has always fit into a perfect box. Women were expected to be the dutiful wife, loving mother and housekeeper for her family. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, in 1963 hoping to unveil the truth behind women’s thoughts about their role in society. Friedan exposed that things were not always, as they seemed for the average mother and homemaker in the 1950s and 1960s. Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening in the 1850’s which told the story of Edna Pontillier and her struggles as a housewife and finding her true identity. These two literary works captured how women really felt about their everyday lives. They displayed that women were often unhappy and felt unfulfilled regardless that they were living the lifestyle
Despite its dull, ordinary setting, “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen is an extremely deep short story covering complex socio-economic issues spanning over two—very eventful—decades. The story shows how economic hardships could physically alter the stereotypical gender roles, while cultural traditions kept them mentally intact. When these two elements contradicted each other, they left women, like Tillie Olsen’s character, feeling emotionally responsible for the consequences. Although her husband left her and she was forced to assume the role of both the breadwinner and the homemaker at only nineteen years old, she blames herself for neglecting what was thought to be her primary duty as a woman: motherhood. As the reader can tell from
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
In her essay “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860”, Barbara Welter discusses the expected roles and characteristics that women were supposed to exhibit in accordance with the extreme patriarchy of the nineteenth-century America. The unnamed narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is seen to conform and ultimately suffer from this patriarchal construct that Welter labels the Cult of True Womanhood. The narrator falls victim to this life of captivity by exhibiting several of the fundamental characteristics that Welter claims define what a woman was told she ought to be. She has been brainwashed by the patriarchal society of her time to worship the man, her husband, and perform her duties and daily rituals as a means to please him. Welter outlines several characteristics that constitute the perfect or true woman; however, the most crucial and detrimental so-called “virtues” exhibited by Gilman`s the narrator are her submissiveness and domesticity. Although the artistic narrator clearly has her own desires to be free and write as she pleases, her desire to satisfy the patriarchal construct of the household by attending
In the pastoralization of housework, woman found a new dynamic in the family system by becoming influencers. Boydston writes, “‘...in which wives were described as deities “who presides over the sanctities of domestic life, and administer its sacred rights….”” With the romanization of housework woman found themselves placed on a higher pedestal, and with this newly found power, women were able to influence their husband’s decisions. Women during the Antebellum period were described as “holy and pious” and they were seen as the more religious being out of the two sexes, so it was customary for women to use their power to help the family stay on the right path. Mrs. A. J. Graves supported this idea and directly connects women’s role of taking care of the home to a station which God and nature assigned her. Not only, did Mrs. A. J. Graves support the pastoralization of housework and gender spheres so did Catherine Beecher. Beecher argued that housework was hard work, but believed women’s work in the home administered the gentler charities of life. Boydston writes, “Beecher enjoyed the new standing afford middle-class women by their roles as moral guardians to their families and to societies, and based much of her own claim to status as a woman on the presumed differences between herself and immigrant and laboring-class women.” For middle-class women, women were given more of an influence in their
In her essay, “The Importance of Work,” from The Feminine Mystique published in 1963, Betty Friedan confronts American women’s search for identity. Throughout the novel, Betty Friedan breaks new ground, concocting the idea that women can discover personal fulfillment by straying away from their original roles. Friedan ponders on the idea that The Feminine Mystique is the cause for a vast majority of women during that time period to feel confined by their occupations around the house; therefore, restricting them from discovering who they are as women. Friedan’s novel is well known for creating a different kind of feminism and rousing various women across the nation.
The concept of motherhood and the role of women have existed since the beginning of time and throughout various points it has differ. There is no limit to what can be considered motherhood. To one person, motherhood might mean the act of raising children and taking care of their family, and to another; motherhood might be what defines them as a person. This is seen in Tillie Olsen’s short story “I Stand Here Ironing” and the “Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In both stories, the main characters were dealing with the struggles of motherhood and being a wife. The main character in the story, “I Stand Here Ironing” was a single, working mother raising five children at the time. She was caring and providing for her children, while back then it was a man’s job to do so. The main character in “The Yellow Wallpaper” was suffering from depression after having her baby. She felt as if she could not care for her newborn as she is supposed to, so it brought her into a deep depression.
In the 1970’s women were expected to stay at home and take care of the household. They were usually not expected to further their education, but instead take care of the children or tend to their husbands’ needs. In 1972 Judy Brady decided to let the readers of Ms. Magazine know how she felt about her “duties”. In her short essay, “Why I Want a Wife,” Brady uses pathos to connect and appeal to the reader’s emotions while explaining why she wants a wife.
Women and the battle to maintain a work-lifestyle balance has been consistently debated and toyed with by society for ages. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Professor of Politics and author of “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” explains the continuous hardship of balancing a career and a family; as well, Stephen Marche, writer and author of “Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life and Income Equality” combats Slaughter’s article and the many gaps present in society. Slaughter and Marche compare and contrast the differences of the leadership gap between men and women, the strategies of maintaining a work-balance lifestyle in regards to family, and the type of dialogue representing men in articles written by women.
Over the past sixty years’ women have made their mark, some decades more drastic than others. Women’s roles in the household, the family life they dreamed of, their rights in society, and their values towards themselves have all made a huge impact and difference on the women then and now. The nineteen fifties had one of the largest impacts with the greatest music, styles, and breakthrough advertising techniques, the fifties have remained to leave a memorable impression on passing decades. The morals and styles of the fifties is known to have left the greatest inspiration on today’s modern culture. The modern two thousand with its drastic difference has re mastered the definition of modern living. The advancement in technology, music, and ways
American poet, Linda Pastan, in her poem “Marks” published in 1978 addresses the topic of women’s roles in the household and asserts that although mothers may be good at their household job, their desire to fulfill other careers is overpowering and necessary to thrive. Pastan supports her claim by using vivid imagery, such as describing the grades she gets from her life job, a repeating pattern in the sentence structure, when listing what each of her family members grades her as, and connotative diction, when describing her feelings about being targeted in such a hardening and impersonal way. The author’s overall purpose is to inform readers that women were and still are being stereotyped, so that they might think about how they treat
During the 1890’s until today, the roles of women and their rights have severely changed. They have been inferior, submissive, and trapped by their marriage. Women have slowly evolved into individuals that have rights and can represent “feminine individuality”. The fact that they be intended to be house-caring women has changed.