Womens Rights Through History

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HALAC
Whitehead
3/27/11
Women’s Voices, Women’s Lives
Women’s roles through history have changed and stayed the same in many different ways. Based on evidence from historical documents, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman, “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor, “Raising A Son - With Men on the Fringes” by Robyn Marks, “Self in 1958” by Anne Sexton and modern day examples as well. Overall, since 1880, women’s rights have been a controversial topic based on their power, roles and societal expectations to a very interesting extent. First, a strong example of women’s roles in the late 1800’s is represented in the document “The Husband Commandments” by H. De Marsan. It gives a fairly accurate portrayal of how men looked down upon women and how they had a very strict lifestyle given by their husbands in order to be the ideal wife that their husband wished for them to be. For example, it states that women should “Honour Thy Husband and Obey Him”. Women’s roles in this time period were very strict and the wives had no room for error.

However, an example from the late 1800’s on what women’s roles used to be would be from “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Which is about effect of confinement on the narrator's mental health, and her descent into psychosis, and with nothing to stimulate her, she becomes obsessed by the pattern and color of the wallpaper. It shows that women and men did not have equal parts in relationships. The story illustrates the male dominated society and relationship and how it was customary for men to assume that their gender knew what, when, how, and why to do things. For example when the narrator says, “If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression--a slight hysterical tendency-- what is one to do?” (Gilman) Throughout the beginning of the story, the narrator tends to buy into the idea that the man is...
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