The Cult of True Womanhood

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Jo March was born into a society that considered women inferior to men. The expected role for a woman was in the home. As being keepers of the home, women were in charge of taking care of their family’s need and making sure the home was in exceptional order. This lifestyle was commonly called The Cult of True Womanhood. The requirements for membership into this cult were simple: if one was a woman, their membership was guaranteed and inevitable. The Cult of True Womanhood seemed to be a birthright to any individual who was born a woman. However, there are those who rebel against society rules. For example, Susan B. Anthony was freed from taking care of family matters. With no husband or children, Anthony was not forced to stay at home. Therefore, she was able to travel around the country and provide for herself (Boydston, “Cult of True Womanhood.”). Anthony’s lifestyle was not the typical lifestyle for women in the nineteenth century. In fact, some might have viewed her lifestyle as crude and unusual. However, Anthony’s lifestyle was the ideal lifestyle for Jo. From the first time Jo is introduced to the reader in chapter one, one can tell her behavior was different from a typical girl. She used “boyish” slang, “… pretty jolly set” (Alcott, p. 12) and refused to become a young lady, “I hate to think I’ve got to grow up, and be Miss March, and wear Little Women long gowns, and look as prim as a China Aster!” (Alcott, p. 13) Instead, she preferred to play games that were designed for boys and fight in the Civil War with her father. Jo’s aspirations to be a boy instead of a girl coincide with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and or Transsexualism in a sense. For instance, Jo stated she was disappointed over the fact she was not born... ... middle of paper ... ... Attitude Towards The Opposite-Sex.” International Refereed Research Journal 2.4 (2011): 192-99. Print. Sands-O'Connor, Karen. “Why Jo Didn't Marry Laurie: Louisa May Alcott and The Heir of Redclyffe.” ATQ 15.1 (2001): 19-23. GALILEO. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. Reed, Terry. Definition and Synopsis of the Etiology of Adult Gender Identity Disorder and Transsexualism. 2002. Definition and Synopsis. Welter, Barbara. “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860.” American Quarterly Part 1 18.2 (1966): 151-74. JSTOR. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. Zizek, Slavoj. Richter, David. “Courtly Love, Or,Woman as Thing.” The Critical Tradition Classic Texts and ContemporaryTrends. 3rd ed. Boston (Mass.): Bedford / St. Martin's, 2007. 1181-197. Print.
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