Essay on The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

Essay on The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

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This day in age, everything is always compared whether it is social status, racial problems, etc. A popular topic tends to be gender equality and different things both male and females endure, such as the fact that it is a lot easier for men to get a high paying job compared to women. Along the same lines, their suffering is also compared. In Harriet Jacobs, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” Jacob’s shares her experiences as a slave including the most traumatizing moments she went through. Although there is no doubt that every slave suffered greatly, women suffered the most during this time period; women went through sexual exploitation, psychological damage, and shame.
It was not uncommon for a female slave to have several encounters with sexual exploitation, or rape. Jacobs wrote, “... I now entered on my fifteenth year–a sad epoch in the life of a slave girl. My master began to whisper foul words in my ear.” A girl at the age of 15 is innocent, being exposed to these inappropriate actions from her master is killing her innocence. Women are more at risk of being harassed this way than any male slaves. In “Women and slavery: The popularity of female slave trade in Africa, its causes and consequences,” Begun Guvenç writes “Besides their potential for reproduction, slave women were used as concubines to please various fantasies a male owner might have had.” Owners, with no care about the feelings of their slaves, did as they pleased to the women for their own pleasure. The main thing male slaves had to worry about was being beaten. Female slaves worried about beatings, and sexual exploitation from their masters.
The sexual exploitation also affected male slaves. Men often feel the need to have power, and as slaves, they d...


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...been raped normally find it harder to go about their day as they would have before the incidents. When others know what they went through they could feel that they weren’t seen the same way again. Jacobs also wrote, “My self-respect was gone! I had resolved that I would be virtuous, though I was a slave. I had said, ‘Let the storm beat! I will brave it till I die.’ And now, how humiliated I felt!” Jacobs felt completely changed, and that she will forever be in shame because of the incidents.
Slavery is horrendous for every female, male, and child that ever had to live through it. Women had it worse when it comes to suffering during this time period. Female slaves had to endure sexual exploitation/rape, psychological damage due to these events, and also had to deal with shame because of it. This is far worse than what males endured at the time, including the pain.

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