Society, Gender Roles and Gender-Conflict

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Society, Gender Roles and Gender-Conflict

Time and time again gender-conflict is brought to the attention of the public in various forms. In our time someone who wants to make a point about gender-conflict and the inequality that is present will be more likely to use television or song to reach their audience. This however is a fairly new technology. Books or some form of writing on the other hand have been around for thousands of years. Gender-conflict is nothing new. It is not as though one day it just came out of no where. It has been around since the dawn of time. What is a man’s place and what is a woman’s place in society or is there really a specific place at all; further more are we even really that different to begin with? Two classic novels To the Lighthouse and Lady Oracle are perfect examples of how gender-conflict is viewed and present in our society, but what is it that they are trying to teach us? One of the central motif’s in To the Lighthouse is the conflict between the feminine and masculine principles at work in pretty much the entire universe. Mrs. Ramsay, with her emotional, poetical frame of mind, represents the female principle, while Mr. Ramsay, a self-centered philosopher, expresses the male principle in his rational point of view. Both of which are flawed by their restricted and somewhat ignorant perspectives. A painter and friend of the family, Lily Briscoe, is Woolf's vision of the ideal blending of male and female qualities. When looked at more deeply Lily does not only personifies the ideal male/female role in society but she is also representation of Woolf herself (Fokkema, 14).

Growing up as a female little alone trying to fit into the stereotypical role a women is expected to fill in a mal...

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...and ignorant. We all know what must be done to overcome the stereotypes placed in the society. It is just a matter of time. The two novels give us a better look into humanity and what it means to be human, not make or female, but human. Basically what these novels teach us is that it is fatal to be a man or a woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly.

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. Lady Oracle.Toronto: Seal Books, 1999.

Cooke, Nathalie. Margaret Atwood: A biography. ECW Press, 1988.

Dworkin, Andrea. Woman Hating. New York: Dutton, 1974.

Fokkema, Douwe W. An Interpretation of To the Lighthouse: With Reference to the

Code of Modernism. Tel Aviv, Israel, 1979.

Ruddick, Lisa. The Seen and the Unseen: Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse.

Cambridge: Harvard, 1977.

Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. New York: Oxford, 1999.
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