Female Role Models in Male Dominant Societies

Topics: Female, Woman, Black people Pages: 6 (2371 words) Published: March 6, 2013
“How do ‘Secret Life of Bees’ and ‘Mother’s ruin’ present strong female role models in male- dominated societies” Throughout the 1960’s society was typically male dominant. The males were the leaders of the society; they obtained all jobs and were expected to be the ones who finically support their families. The women were not born and raised to believe that they were to have a successful career, they were raised to believe that the only way they could truly be a woman is if they fulfill their duties of being a wife and a mother. Women had fewer legal rights, and career opportunities, it was viewed that motherhood and wifehood were the most significant profession for woman. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and Mother’s Ruin by Kitty Neale are two books written by powerful female authors presenting strong female role models in male dominant societies throughout the 1960’s. Kidd and Neale both use the strong characterizations of two women to show their rejection to the social order, to represent strength and independence in females. From slavery to success, betrayals to independence and abuse to courage these novels show all the avenues in which women have overcome difficulties to become strong role models. The children played in these novels are victims of broken homes, and broken emotions due to the abuse of their fathers. The guidance that is offered to allow them to continue with a healthy, happy life and overcome the struggles from the past is given by women. The treachery characterizations of males in these books allow the reader to view furthermore into the positive characterizations of females. The betrayal acted by the males in these novels is an opportunity to show the females strength to be independent, not to rely on a male and to hold their own backbone in creating a successful life for themselves.

August Boatwright (The Secret Life of Bees), Sally and Ruth (Mother’s Ruin) challenge the social order of society by the actions and attitudes they show towards the ‘social norm’. Kidd and Neale use characterizations to represent the strength of women in male dominant societies. These three women arise from harsh experiences and pasts to grow into strong women and fulfill their long term dreams. August Boatwright is an African American woman living in the 1960’s in Tibourn, America. Throughout this time period there was a great amount of prejudice and racism towards the black community, and after being a servant for many years for a white American family August grew into a strong woman, fought the racism and prejudice and became a successful business woman. Once her grandparents left her and her two sisters a beautiful house August Boatwright began her bee keeping, honey making business. Society was shocked about the amount of confidence August had, it was unusual for a woman to be successful in a business, but, for an African American woman, in the time of racism to be a successful business woman was viewed as impossible. August fought the criticism and racism and became a successful woman, to many she was viewed “the living feeling of acceptance and happiness”. August never thought it was necessary that she needed a male in her life to be successful, when asked why she never married and she simply explains that she “…didn’t want to give up her autonomy”. August demonstrates these characteristics of independence all throughout the novel, which allows the reader to relate and understand the capability and strength of a woman.

Ruth (Mother’s Ruin) rejects the social order by being a single mother and re marrying after the death of her husband. Before the birth of Sally, Ruth’s husband was serving at war therefore was never around for her to be loved and comforted; one night Ruth met this “handsome young fellow” Andrew from Scotland who fulfilled Ruth with all of her expectations of love and comfort. Once falling pregnant with Andrew’s baby, Andrew fled back to Scotland and Ruth never heard from him...
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