Swift's Satire on Women in "Gulliver's Travels"
Attacks on the fashionable vogues and vices of fop, fool, and coquette are common in social satires of different epochs. And as fashion and social trivialities are particularly associated with the world of women, women frequently became a fruitful subject of this kind of satire. In the Augustan Age Swift along with Addison, Pope and Gray satirized social vanity and affectation with emphasis on the weaknesses of women. But, Swift, in directing his satirical edge against/towards women, is more severe and moral condemnation is a distinctive feature of it. Swift's strong and unusual attachment to morality pursued him to treat women in his satire with much severity and it would be a mistake if we look upon him as misogynistic/ a misogynist.
Swift does not lose the slightest opportunity in launching his satirical butt upon women. In Book-I, in Gulliver's short account of Lilliputian manner of writing, there comes a touch of satire upon English ladies when he says that the Lilliputians write in a peculiar manner "aslant from one corner of the paper to the other, like ladies in England." And in Book-II, when the Brobdingnagian farmer shows Gulliver to his wife, she, upon seeing such a diminutive creature as it appears to the giants, screams "as women in England do at the sight of a toad or a spider."
Swift satirizes the ugliness of female body, with which the women generally take a mighty pride, in Gulliver's account of the giant women's breast and Gulliver simply confesses that "no object ever disgusted me as much as the sight of her monstrous breast." To Gulliver, who has a microscopic view of the woman, the breast, which stands prominent six feet and is some sixteen feet in circumference, is a most disgusting sight because all the physical details, such as freckles, discolorations and pones are magnified to his sight - "The nipple was about half the bigness of my head, and the hue both of that and the dug so...
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