A Street Car Named Desire vs the Subjection of Women

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For over a millennia, women have lived in a man’s world. Only during the last two centuries have women finally risen to a status equal with that of men. This was aided by the works and advocacy of many great intellects who challenged the views of their time, specifically John Stuart Mill and his essay “The Subjection of Women” published in 1896 after the industrial revolution. We can peer in to the past subjection of women by examining and analysing the texts of the day, which act as mirrors for the attitude of society. One such text in particular is the play/movie “A Streetcar Named Desire” composed by American play writer Tennessee Williams in 1947, just after WWII and adapted into a film in 1951. Both these critically acclaimed texts make clear comments on the issue of gender, among other things. They explore a variety of assumptions on gender equality and are exceptionally similar in their ideas and representation of men and women despite being separated by over 50 years. One of the shared issues relating to gender equality concerns the idea of the subjection of women; that men have coerced women into a position of subjection where they sit out of fear, or sit complacently out of ignorance. The contexts of both texts clearly mirror this notion. John Stuart Mill’s ‘The Subjection of Women’ was published in 1896, a time where women’s only chance in life to succeed seemed to be in marriage and childbirth. Williams Streetcar was composed in 1947 just after WWII where American men had come home with an air of bravado after winning the war in the Pacific and sought to be served like the kings they thought they were. We come to this conclusion through both texts in much the same way, through the actions and attitude of the women present we observe both complacency out of fear and ignorance. In Williams Streetcar film adaptation we can turn our attention to the ‘Birthday Scene’: Stella shows some opposition to Stanley’s eating habits in an accusatory and...
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