They both critique our culture’s misogyny and rigid standards of beauty. In “Losing Bodies”, Susie Orbach argues that modern Western beauty standards have a profoundly negative impact on women, encouraging women to take drastic measures to conform to the mainstream ideal of beauty. Duhamel refers to this in her poem, “The Limited Edition Platinum Barbie”. Orbach also claims that gender roles dictate what behavior is acceptable for women (248), as does Duhamel in her poem, “One Afternoon When Barbie Wanted to Join the Military”. Although these works express similar concerns, they are presented very differently.
In a male dominated society, women are forced to conform to the moulds that have been prescribed for them. When they do not fit into the categories that have been defined for them, they face ultimate rejection and suffer the consequences of non-conformity. This male dictated view of women is evident in the writings of 19th Century women writers who unconsciously view society through the perspectives that have been imprinted in their minds by society. A case in point is Kate Chopin through her work, Desiree’s Baby which chronicles the tale of an abandoned baby that is raised by a wealthy couple, the Valmonde’s. They were childless and raised her lovingly as their own.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a critic of Swift’s beliefs and the standards placed on women at the time, published letters and poems demonstrating her knowledge and spunk. One such poem, “The Reasons That Induced Dr. Swift to Write a Poem Called the Lady’s Dressing Room,” was written in response to Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room.” Swift’s disgusting poem goes into grotesque detail about the objects in a woman’s dressing room. Montagu’s poem fights against Swift’s assertion that women are disgusting by nature by discussing their disgusting habits as a sort of power play. Montagu, as a non-traditional woman, serves as the underdog seeking power for herself and women in
Girl with a Pearl Earring, written by Tracy Chevalier follows the story of Griet, an unlikely house maid. While The Piano directed by Jane Campion follows the story of muted woman named Ada. Collectively, these texts follow two assertive and creative female protagonists struggling with individuality within an oppressive patriarchal society. Both authors therefore aim to condemn this social system through the objectification of women, society’s expectations and the controlling and confinement in which both protagonists are subject to. Chevalier and Campion’s similar distaste of the patriarchal society aims to inform the reader that the same patriarchal dividend, although improved, is still prevalent in today’s patriarchal
In “The Story of an Hour,” the main character faced patriarchal oppression by not being able to liberate herself and her desire for freedom. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman portrays patriarchal oppression through the narrator’s stream of consciousness. The women of these texts reflect on the patriarchal oppression and have had an impact on women’s ability of self-expression, cultural roles, resistance of patriarchal oppression, and recognition. Throughout history, patriarchal advantages has taken a toll on a woman’s ability to express themselves and their daily lives. Donald Hall claims in his feminist analysis “Literary and Cultural Theory” that throughout centuries, patriarchal oppression of women has been impacted on a woman 's ability to express themselves (Hall 202).
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison uses the insecurities of the female characters to demonstrate that beauty standards are a danger to society, as they perpetuate racism and self-hatred. Pecola and her mother, Pauline, see themselves as ugly because they hold themselves to beauty standards in which light-skinned people are the ideal. Pecola and her mother have a brutal home life due to the drunken violence of Cholly Breedlove, and the constant pressure of beauty standards only adds to their misfortune. Morrison explains this pressure by asserting that “[i]t was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they
O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” This sharp lexis exposes the depth in which he despises their marriage. Gertrude still recoils back to the stability of Claudius even after Hamlet accuses and exposes his mothers fickle disloyalty and moral standards in Act 1 Scene 2, “Frailty thy name is woman” furthers her inability to support and think critically herself responding to Alchin De Botton take on marriage, that ’we don 't understand ourselves’, Gertrude dependable manner suggests her moral compass and
As a writer during the Great Depression, John Steinbeck impacted an audience who found consolation in his famous literature, during a time of desolation and despair. Through the means of his writing, women have a perpetual role of trying to deviate from their societal roles, but are inhibited and rejected by society. The female characters in Steinbeck’s writing all are depicted as inferior in relation to their male counterparts. This observation brings about a new query open for deliberation. Was one of the most preeminent writers in history prejudiced against women?
The protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper anthropomorphizes the floral elements of the yellow wallpaper, wherein wallpaper is typically a feminine floral decoration on wall interiors. These elements signify the scrutiny Victorian society makes of lives of its womenfolk, particularly of women who are creative and insubordinate to their spouses. The protagonist is one such woman; her writing denounces her imaginative character and the surreptitious persistence of her writing denounces her matrimonial and feminine disobedience which were considered radical in her contemporary society. Gilman expresses the suppression felt by women from societal scrutiny to be one of “strangling”, through the narrator, who in one instance describes the wallpaper pattern like so: “it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads… the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!” Her anthropomorphizing of the pattern of the wallpaper adopts a grimmer facet when she writes that “when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide.” It is also significant to note that the narrator describes the pattern as suicidal because it again emphasizes the narrator’s desperate, almost suicidal, need to flee the imprisonment of the nursery and from the oppressive, male-dominant society that the room and its wallpaper represent. Asides of the pattern, there are many probable connotations of the yellow colour of the wallpaper, for instance with jaundiced illness, and also the rigid oppression of masculine sun.
Grace Nichols effectively utilises idiomatic language, word choice and various aesthetic features to show westerners the struggles which outsiders of society face. There have always been marginalised groups within society, and it can feel horrible to be in that position. Nichols has really struck a chord with this poem, as it really speaks out about what it’s like to be an outsider. She uses the fat black woman not fitting into the clothes as a metaphor for her not fitting into society; not just for her size, but for her race and colour as