Reflecting on Female Oppression in Society with Harper’s “A Double Standard”
As insinuated through her poem’s title, “A Double Standard,” Frances Harper examines a double standard imposed by societal norms during the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the different effects this standard foisted upon those of different genders. Harper’s poem is narrated by a woman who has been derided by society for her involvement in a sexual scandal, all while her male counterpart experiences no repercussions. By describing how her situation involving the scandal advances, delineating the backlash she receives for her participation, and reflecting on the ludicrously hypocritical nature of the situation, the speaker discloses the lack of control women had over their lives, and allows for the reader to ponder the inequity of female oppression at the turn of the 19th century.
Harper begins the poem by detailing the start of the speaker’s relationship with a man, developing it through the use of metaphor and concrete diction. From the first few lines of the poem, the reader learns that the relationship was destined to be futile through Harper’s use of metaphor: “If when standing all alone/ I cried for bread a careless world/ pressed …show more content…
As she does this she makes some new realizations regarding the situations outcome in the grand scheme of life. Throughout the entire poem, Harper begins multiple stanzas with some variation of the phrase “Can you blame me that…”. In each of these lines, the speaker is posing the question of whose fault the scandal was to an unknown audience. However, in the eight stanzas that begin with the variations of this question, the speaker only questions the man’s role in the situation once. Her repetition of the word ‘me’ in these stanzas indicates that she was immediately
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The text begins with the speaker musing about how her lineage is related to that of an album cover with one solid identity. In an album, each song forms an idea that is encapsulated in a large pool of its sister tracks to form one singular unit containing an idea or focus. By referring to her family as an album, Harper has directly stated that her family is deeply connected. Above the poem is the subtitle “for my father,” which means that Harper’s message is connected to her father the most. This metaphor strikes even further into the
Both Vanity Fair and A Room of One’s Own explore and challenge the idea that women are incapable of creating a name and a living for themselves, thus are completely dependent on a masculine figure to provide meaning and purpose to their lives. Thackeray, having published Vanity Fair in 1848, conforms to the widely accepted idea that women lack independence when he makes a note on Ms Pinkerton and remarks “the Lexicographer’s name was always on the lips of the majestic woman… [He] was the cause of her reputation and her fortune.” The way that a man’s name was metaphorically “always on the lips of the majestic woman” and how he was the source of “her reputation and her fortune” expresses this idea, especially through Thackeray’s skilful use of a sanguine tone to communicate that this cultural value, or rather inequality, was not thought of as out of the ordinary. From viewing this in a current light and modernised perspective...
However, while embracing the often axiomatic freedoms of today, women everywhere should take time to acknowledge the struggles of previous generations. If one were to delve into the history of early American society, they would surely discover a male-dominated nation where women were expected to tend to their kitchen rather than share the responsibility of high government. During this time, a woman was considered the property of her husband, and was to remain compliant and silent. Nevertheless, two brilliant writers, Lydia Marie Child and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, resolved to confront and address the oppression afflicting America’s women. Although these two women have different styles of writing, they both advocate similar contentions.
Like the Good Other Woman, the Evil Other Woman often spends much of her life hidden away in the castle, secret room, or whatever, a fact suggesting that even a virtuous woman’s lot is the same she would have merited had she been the worst of criminals. The heroine’s discovery of such Other Women is in the one case an encounter with women’s oppression-their confinement as wives, mothers, and daughters-and in the other with a related repression: the confinement of a Hidden Woman inside those genteel writers and readers who, in the idealization of the heroine’s virtues, displace their own rebellious
Society continually places restrictive standards on the female gender not only fifty years ago, but in today’s society as well. While many women have overcome many unfair prejudices and oppressions in the last fifty or so years, late nineteenth and early twentieth century women were forced to deal with a less understanding culture. In its various formulations, patriarchy posits men's traits and/or intentions as the cause of women's oppression. This way of thinking diverts attention from theorizing the social relations that place women in a disadvantageous position in every sphere of life and channels it towards men as the cause of women's oppression (Gimenez). Different people had many ways of voicing their opinions concerning gender inequalities amound women, including expressing their voices and opinions through their literature. By writing stories such as Daisy Miller and The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Henry James let readers understand and develop their own ideas on such a serious topic that took a major toll in American History. In this essay, I am going to compare Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” to James’ “Daisy Miller” as portraits of American women in peril and also the men that had a great influence.
illustrates the discrimination against women and the issues that arise from a gender double standard society.
Women in the Romantic Era were a long way from being treated as equals; they were expected by society to find a husband, become a typical housewife, and a good mother. So what happens when women get tired of being treated horribly and try to fight back towards getting men to treat them as an equal? Both Mary Robinson’s, “The Poor Singing Dame” and Anna Barbauld’s “The Rights of Women” show great examples of how women in the Romantic Era were disrespected and degraded by men, whereas all they wanted was to be treated with respect and dignity.
One of the best ways to judge the different political arguments in Canada from the early 20th century, is by reviewing the different political cartoons that were released. These were an effective way of educating the masses because it did not require an advanced education or vocabulary to understand where each side was debating. One of the more popular conflicts that were ongoing in the first years of the 1900’s was the fight for women’s equality. This included the right to vote and the right to participate in government. By comparing political cartoons from before, during, and after the First World War the changing context of Canadian society also affected the public opinion and the power balance towards the evolution of Women’s equality.
From the moment a woman is born, she is automatically expected many things from her. Wear a dress, have no body hair, be with a man, don’t be too loud, etc. The list of “norms” that a woman is anticipated to uphold to goes on for days. And often times, women that decide to branch out from those “norms” are viewed as less valuable or obscene. In Robyn Ochs essay, “Bisexuality, Feminism, Men and Me”, she discusses the revolutionary moment when she realizes that living up to the assumptions of what it means to be a woman systemically limits us from our true potential. As presented in the movie “Frida”, a brilliant artist is often times overshadowed by her promiscuous relationships with women and men. A woman’s life does not dwindle down to the
Writers throughout time have all sought ways to point out flaws in their society. They use their work as a way to present to the reader that the culture they live in isn’t as pretty as they assume. The double standard is an example of flawed human logic that decides to hold women and men to different standards when it comes to their way of life. The most obvious double standard in the text was the punishment for each sex when they committed adultery. One of the best examples is Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The mere fact that Stiva isn’t punished for cheating on his wife Dolly is one thing, but to follow with her considered to be wrong for wanting to end the marriage depicts how c...
In France Ellen Watkins Harper poem, “A Double Standard” the theme is gender wars/battle of the sexes, the genre is a poem, media is audio and literature, and the author is France Ellen Watkins Harper. The poet used repetition, the stanza is quatrain and anaphora were utilized in the in beginning. In society, there is an abundance of double standards for men and women even though we are all human beings. However, women just seem to cannot get a break towards gender equality. Everything that some men do there is always this phrase of exculpating that boys will be boys, but now it is time to hold men accountable for their actions. Society perceptions of women are that they should not cheat, it is their fault if the man leaves, and are emotional.
These women authors have served as an eye-opener for the readers, both men and women alike, in the past, and hopefully still in the present. (There are still cultures in the world today, where women are treated as unfairly as women were treated in the prior centuries). These women authors have impacted a male dominated society into reflecting on of the unfairness imposed upon women. Through their writings, each of these women authors who existed during that masochistic Victorian era, risked criticism and retribution. Each author ignored convention a...
Indisputably, roles and characteristics of opposite genders have been ubiquitous, since historical evidence proves so – dating back to when the practice of oral tradition was favored over written language. This historical evidence is especially apparent in literature from previous time periods. In these works of literature, men and women often have very different social and economic positions within society. Particular duties, or tasks, are practiced depending on the gender of these individuals. However, in the advancing world we are currently living in, these duties are beginning to intertwine in an effort to allow equal rights amongst opposite genders. This effort to break the sexist barrier, which encompasses our world, has already begun rattling the chains of politicians and the like. However, with the progressions made thus far in retaliation to sexism and unequal gender privileges, the United States of America is heading in a positive direction towards gender equality. Nonetheless, the female gender is perceived as a lesser entity in society while the male gender is dominant and controlling. The masculine individuals in literary works usually govern, or direct the feminine individuals. These characteristics are often evident in various literary works – including “Hills Like White Elephants,” and “A&P” written by Ernest Hemingway and John Updike, respectively. The slow and steady transformation from a sexist society to one that allows inferior genders to perform similar tasks, if not the same as their superior counterparts, may disturb the ideological mindset of figures with authority; however, it provides inferior genders with the opportunity to branch out socially, economically, and politically.
“Girls wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it is okay to be a boy; for a girl it is like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading” (McEwan 55-56). Throughout the history of literature women have been viewed as inferior to men, but as time has progressed the idealistic views of how women perceive themselves has changed. In earlier literature women took the role of being the “housewife” or the household caretaker for the family while the men provided for the family. Women were hardly mentioned in the workforce and always held a spot under their husband’s wing. Women were viewed as a calm and caring character in many stories, poems, and novels in the early time period of literature. During the early time period of literature, women who opposed the common role were often times put to shame or viewed as rebels. As literature progresses through the decades and centuries, very little, but noticeable change begins to appear in perspective to the common role of women. Women were more often seen as a main character in a story setting as the literary period advanced. Around the nineteenth century women were beginning to break away from the social norms of society. Society had created a subservient role for women, which did not allow women to stand up for what they believe in. As the role of women in literature evolves, so does their views on the workforce environment and their own independence. Throughout the history of the world, British, and American literature, women have evolved to become more independent, self-reliant, and have learned to emphasize their self-worth.