Review of “Catharine Beecher and Charlotte Perking Gilman: Architects of Female Power”

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Review of “Catharine Beecher and Charlotte Perking Gilman: Architects of female power”

In the article “Catharine Beecher and Charlotte Perking Gilman: Architects of female power” the author attempts to compare and contrast the convictions and beliefs of Charlotte Gilman and, her great-aunt, Catharine Beecher. One of the most important factors that is seen repeatedly in the article, is the concept that the environment encompassing the home is the center of all commerce for a woman. This thought process continues to build and establishes the idea that what begins in the home continues to radiate out into the lives of the woman and her family. Each female author further attempted to define the roles of a woman directly corresponding with the roles beginning in a woman’s private life and extending into the public life. Although Catharine Beecher and Charlotte Gilman had completely different interpretations of this ideology, the fact that the foundation of the argument was the same purports that the concept, regardless of interpretation, could have some basis on reality. The author of this article, Valerie Gill, very thoroughly cites from not only Catharine Beecher’s books “A Treatise on Domestic Economy” and “American Woman’s Home,” but also from Charlotte Gilman’s book “Moving the Mountain” and several of her lectures and articles including an article titled “Applepieville.” Gill (1998) states, that “Like Catharine Beecher, Gilman links the role of the women to the general health of the social system; the dependent and isolated situation of women in their homes…” (p. 2). Gill (1998) goes on to further state that “In spite of their different strategies for defining and locating women, however, Beecher and Gilman share an interest in the topography of female experience” and that “Both writers conceptualize the identity of women in spatial as well as socioeconomic terms, assuming that the fulfillment of their own sex can be quite literally mapped out.” (p. 2).



References: Gill, V. (1998). “Catharine Beecher and Charlotte Perking Gilman: Architects of female power”. Journal of American Culture, 21 (2). Retrieved from http://ctcdns02.ctcd.edu:2122/search/multiSearch.do;jsessionid=F6C4B68D9202464AFE8BAF1AC27987B8

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