One of the most vital characters in Woolf’s To The Lighthouse is a walking stereotype. Mrs. Ramsay, the hostess who welcomes many people into her summer home, is the typical feminine character who affirms every traditional gender role. She conforms, intentionally, to the role of being a housewife and catering to men for a living. She feels that she “had the whole of the other sex under her protection, for reasons she could not explain, for their chivalry and valour, for the fact that they negotiated treaties, ruled india, controlled finance” (6), rationalizing her feelings which support misogynistic behaviour by a woman as it shows how she supports the idea that men control everything and in turn, women must be there to put band-aids on their egos when things do not go their way. As a housewife, Mrs. Ramsay feels that her job in life is to serve her husband day and night; that being wed is vital to a woman’s life experience and that having a husband gives women a purpose in life. However, her marriage to her husband, Mr. Ramsay, is an example of an unhealthy relationship with set roles wherein Mrs. Ramsay is the visual accessory to Mr. Ramsay’s arm, while he is the intelligent mouthpiece. Through firstly degrading her individuality, Mr. Ramsay affirms M...
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...roles and misogyny have on relationships and dynamics with other people who both perpetuate and accept unfair conventions.
And with this, Woolf attempts to prove the damaging effect of those forced gender conventions and expectations on Mrs. Ramsay and Lily Briscoe. Whether or not the characters realize it, they were perpetuating and internalizing misogynistic ideals and stereotypes, not only harming themselves but others around them. However, Woolf uses Lily to show that when given a creative outlet, expressing yourself is the best way to reject those harmful ideas and to free yourself of being bound to another person’s idea of life. To The Lighthouse is an impressive misogynistic critique and feminist novelty that opens doors to discussions on the treatment of women and the societal pressure they must face to fit the paragon that both men and women expect of them.
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