4 March 2013
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, born in 1860, was a female theorist who was called a utopian feminist. In the sense that she imagined a world for women in which they had power and were free to be their own person. While many theorist personal lives are not always important to their ideas, Gilman’s very much so is. After Gilman married her husband, and had a child, she went into post partum depression. The social milieu in this time period was that women were not equivalent to men at all. They weren’t as stable and they were very emotional and unreliable. When Gilman claimed post partum depression her husband, who was a doctor, ordered her to be confined to a room, to try and cure her, which did not work. During this time period that was an acceptable prescription for a women, and for a husband to do such a thing wasn’t frowned upon, it was more so encouraged to help the women to become sane again, as they were seen as crazy. In later years she divorced her husband and that’s when he writing and theory career really began. During her time period it was rare for women to divorce their husbands, and was not done often. Women didn’t really have a voice and weren’t warranted an opinion during this time period. Men had a right over women to treat them how they wanted and to do with them how they pleased; Gilman defines that as sexuo-economic relation. While women may have been smart they were constricted by the male dominate power in society. This time period was far from a time when women had a voice, and could express how they felt, and do as they wished.
Gilman’s theory was that women could rise up in society, and she was going to prove that. She felt that women needed to have a place in the structure of society, or more so that they already had potential to be, but men were suffocating them. She felt that society was almost forgetting about women. They weren’t allowed to have most jobs, they couldn’t voice their opinions, they had no way of moving up. Her theory was that if she could look at every aspect of life, biological, social, ethical, all aspects of life that she could figure out a way to help women move up in society. One of her main focus was on the idea of sexuo-economic relationships. In there relationships it was seen that women were binded to men, that they were their property and men could do what they wished with women. They could tell them what to do and how to act, and in cases like Gilman’s even keep her locked up. The main issue she sees is that women are not free, they cant do what they want and they cant get away. They need to be free and be able to express themselves. She claims that the lack of freedom and expression and will is hindering women in every other aspect of their lives. It hinders them physically, by being kept inside or not allowed to go out of the house. Socially, women have no stand in society because of their lack of expression. With men keeping women locked up and controlling their every move they cant have a social life, or so what they want to with their social surroundings. Emotionally these women are being strained and deprived by the men in their lives. By looking at all this Gilman looks to find a way to help these women. At which time she write the book “Yellow Wall Paper.” In which she goes into detail about the story of a women kept in a room by her husband, and her doctor, who claim she needs rest because she is crazy and mentally unstable. Her book gives light to the restraints on women and how extreme they are. The women in the book was forced in this room until she was “not insane anymore” which was exactly the wrong prescription for her. Gilman explains that situations like this happen all the time and they are only hindering women's rise even more.
Many theorist claim that women play no role in the coming of society, but Gilman focuses in on the fact that they haven’t because men have shut them down. She discusses her...
Cited: Kessler, Carol Farley., and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Her Progress toward Utopia with Selected Writings. New York: Syracuse UP, 1995. Print.
Ritzer, George. Classical Sociological Theory. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996. Print.
Rudd, Jill, and Val Gough. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Optimist Reformer. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1999. Print.
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