Elaine Showalter And The Ideal Woman Essays

Elaine Showalter And The Ideal Woman Essays

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Megan O’niell


Rob Holton

ENGL 3605 A

December 8 2014

Elaine Showalter and the Ideal Woman

Elaine Showalter is a feminist writer who analyzes the oppression of women in psychiatry. Her contributions to British and American literature have brought new insights to feminism and have helped to influence other female authors to do the same. In writing “Toward a feminist poetics”, Showalter does not show women as being multiple women, but as a single “woman”. It is implied that she does not believe that there can be many different types of women, and that there can only be one. Showalter writes in this article about how women cannot become doctors or lawyers and cannot aspire to be anything other than a writer. Showalter argues that women must follow the lead of a man in his writing. Women who take after men to learn to write instead of writing about the issues of women, is wrong. What Showalter is trying to state is how women are capable of writing for themselves and breaking the glass ceiling. What is convenient is to write the ways that they have been taught to write. Women will write what they know. Most of what has been written in history is by a man because women had been unable to get published without either being under a false name or without the help of their husbands.

Feminism is about rethinking the canon about women. It is opening up the perceptions about what it means to be a woman in society and the roles they play. Before feminism there was an exclusion of women from history. Women have been excluded throughout history. It has been an ongoing battle for feminists to fight for their rights. No one seems to know what it means to be a “woman”. Apparently the nerves that connect to the brain are different...

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... reasoning. Women can overcome these barriers if they keep writing. Women are taught to create poetry. (p.5) The sentence of a man compared to a sentence of a woman is very different and we must highlight these differences instead of being offended by them. The novel is usually adapted to the body, and the body should not have anything to do with the way a woman writes. Women should be equal in the way they are perceived by their writing, to men. Men would not have their writing associated to their body because men are seen as being more capable to write than women. Women are always being distracted by their children, and are often stuck with the cooking responsibilities and so the belief is that they need something short to read. The nerves that feed the brain are essentialism. Everything about the concept of women paired with literature is discriminated against.

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