Prof. Nikita Nankov
February 10, 2013
Feminism in literature
Feminism is defined as a collection of movements and ideologies that are focused on establishing equal economic, political, and social rights for women. This includes equal employment opportunities for women. There is a big misconception of the feminist movement. A lot of people take a radical approach; they focus on a theory that there is a male supremacy to oppress women. The radical feminists tend to strive for greater feminine power and deviate from the original concept of feminism that strives for equality. Feminism was first introduced into literature in the nineteenth century.
The number of published women authors was greater in the nineteenth century than in any preceding century. Women's access to higher education increased exponentially during the century, providing them with skills that they could use to develop their art. The growth of market economies, cities, and life expectancies changed how women in Europe and the United States were expected to conform to new social pressures, and made many women more conscious of their imposed social, legal, and political inequality. Many social reform movements led by nineteenth-century women, such as religious revivalism, abolitionism, temperance, and suffrage; gave women writers an audience and a forum in which they could express their views.
Before the feminist movement migrated to literature women writers were largely confined into writing children’s poetry and literature. Women started migrating and started writing fiction. However the critical reviews of the age pummeled their works for lack of critical judgment and rationality and dismissed their work as being designed for the unrefined taste of women readers. Great novelist like Mary Shelly, George Sand and George Elliot never completely escaped the harsh criticism of their work based only on their gender. The legacy of sexism has...