Using Satire to Create Awareness of Gender Roles: Egalia's Daughters

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Egalia’s Daughters and “Sultana’s Dream” both portray examples of what it would be like to have gender roles reversed in societies. They both criticize gender roles and show people how gender discrimination leaves the submissive gender in suppressed conditions. Poking fun at gender role reversal was one way these books helped in educating the readers. “Sultana’s Dream” has a time of setting of the early twentieth century.

The author of Egalia’s Daughters is Gerd Brantenberg, born on October 27th, 1941 and is presently still alive. She was born in Oslo but grew up in Fredrikstad which is the largest city in Norway. Some of her greatest accomplishments are establishing women’s shelters, working in lesbian movements, in 1978 she created a literary Women’s Forum, her drive being to encourage all women to write and publish, and lastly she has also published ten novels and two plays. In 1983 she was awarded the Mads Wiel Nygaards Endowment. Rokeya Hossain was born in 1880 and died on December 9th, 1932. She was born into a Bengali Muslim upper-class family in the village of Pairaband. Her main accomplishments were establishing the Sakhawat Memorial Girls’ School in 1909, in 1916 she founded the Anjuman-e-Khawatin-e-Islam, and even though English was her 5th language she still wrote a book in English to show her proficiency in English to her husband.

In Gerd Brantenberg’s novel she clearly shows that in her society women were put on the back burner just like the men were in her novel. Gerd was born back when women had very little rights. She lived during a time where women were stepping up and rallying against the fact that they were not allowed certain rights that men were allowed and this showed in her book. For example in Egalia’s Daughters the guys or the “menwim” have the “burning of the pehos” along with other “masculist activities.”1 In Rokeya Hossain’s short story she is trying to relate to her readers about the inequality of her society and the dominance of one gender over another. “In ladyland men are a part of the society but are shorn of power, as women were in Rokeya’s India. They live in seclusion and look after the house and the children, again, just like the women in Rokeya’s India.”2 Her society must have had a lot of sins and hatred along with harm because in the short story it says “this is Ladyland, free from sin and harm.”3 In “Sultana’s Dream” women became dominant when men failed to win the war against a nearby country. The women then became the dominant gender by using science and advanced technology to then win the war. At first they were taunted for being smart and into science instead of being focused on military strength like the men. In the end it paid off being smart because “they directed all of the rays of the sunlight and heat toward the enemy. The heat and light were too much for them to bear. They all ran away panic-stricken, not knowing in their bewilderment how to counteract the scorching heat.”4 This was a major turning point in the story because at that moment the men thought that there was no hope for their country which is why they went into the zenanas without protest and were locked in. The men then remained in seclusion and got used to the “purdah system”.4 The women then “rule over the country and controlled all social matters.”5 Since that point there had been “no more crime or sin” and that is how it remained.5 In Egalia’s Daughters women being the dominant gender went a little differently. The women in this novel ruled from the beginning. There was never a time in their culture that males ruled before the females. Spinnerman Owlmoss explained to the boys that “the menstrual cycle in wom was precisely what bound the huwom race to life, to nature’s own great cycle and to the phases of the moon. By virtue of this endlessly recurring rhythm in her body, she was bound in a very different way, to nature, and this contact with her natural surroundings gave her an inner power and...
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