Depiction of Women
By: Charles Cotton
In past generations, women have not been given the respect that they deserve. Sophocles once said, “Silence gives the proper grace to women.” Men were always perceived as the dominant sex; women were just asked to perform in the kitchen, and please their spouse after a long day of work. According to feminist criticism, the roots of prejudice against women have long been embedded in Western culture. The female feminist Virginia Woolf wrote “A Room of One’s Own,” in which she declares that men have treated women as inferiors. She states that society believes that women are intellectually inferior to men. In layman’s terms, the man has control of the house and income, while the woman just sits home. Books from the early period of British literature such as Judith, Wife of Bath, and Grendel’s mom convey the same message. All of them had one objective in common: all protagonists were females who were denied certain rights. The ancient Greeks abetted gender discrimination, declaring the male to be the superior and the female the inferior. In the Bible, Adam and Eve were both tempted by a serpent, represented as the devil. Eve was the one who disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Good and Evil. She was beautiful, but she made the mistake of falling for deception. Throughout the Christian Period, this story provides men with the reason why they should restrict the social, sexual, religious, political, and economic freedom of women (Eve and the Identity of Women, 1). This ancient story holds them accountable for the decisions that they make in mankind. This passage describes the image of women in Western Civilization; independence and freedom of speech. However, after a hard fight for equal rights, women are now allowed to be employed anywhere, with some companies still limiting their abilities. Women in today’s society are choosing the Garden of Eden’s apple every day; free will. Based off of the Fifth Edition of Literary Criticism, prejudice against women began in the Western culture. In ancient Greece, they abetted gender discrimination; demanding that the male is the superior and the female is beneath them (Literary Criticism, pg. 147). Charles Darwin wrote “The Descent of Man (1871), announcing that women are a “characteristic of a past and lower state of civilization” (pg. 147). As the man, one was responsible for supporting the family financially, while the wife stayed at home cleaning the house, preparing dinner, and taking care of the children.
Genesis, the very first book of Scripture, tells us that God created both man and woman in his image. From the very beginning, women were seen and treated as inferior beings and seen as . The scripture read as this: “God created man first in this world out of his image”(Genesis). His creation of man signified their dominance, and their role of “authority.” In those days, females had a bad reputation for being very persuasive when they wanted something from men. For example, Delilah was the fatal attraction for Samson, who cut his hair to please her. His hair was his source of power; without it, he would be defenseless. He was defeated by the Philippines, and his confidence was diminished. Women have been the downfall of men, especially if he has valuable possessions. Century after century, male voices continue to determine the social role and cultural status of women. Feminist critic Simone de Beauvoir’s text asserts that the Western society is patriarchal, which means controlled by males. She says that women must ask them self: “What is a woman?”(Feminism, pg. 149) This is basically stating that women are defined by his social class. The first major feminist critic that challenged the males was author Christine de Pizan. (1365-c1434) She wrote L’E[istre au Dieu d’ amours, critiquing the judgment of Charles Darwin, who stated in his novel “The Descent of Man” , stating that God created both man...
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