The women's movement was in full swing in America in the sixties. These were the women who were escaping from their kitchens, burning their bras, and working in careers that were traditionally male-oriented, while at the same time demanding payment equal to men's salaries. In her essay: What Would It Be Like if Women Win, Gloria Steinem has many thoughts on the ways feminism could change this country and what the society would be like if her changes were made. An interesting change she is looking to make involves sexual hypocrisy: "No more sex arranged on the barter system, with women pretending interest, and men never sure whether they are loved for themselves or for the security few women can get any other way" (Steinem, Takin' it to the Streets, 476). This new attitude can be found in much of the literature of the sixties. Specifically, in two of the books we have read, women authors have projected this concept of a "new sexual women" into their characters.
The main character in Sylvia Plath's novel, The Bell Jar, could be the spokesperson for all of Steinem's ideas. Esther Greenwood breaks all of the traditional rules that a female in her time should have been following. Esther is a bold and independent woman. Which makes Buddy Willard, he...
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...or this reason, and not just because her mother wants to serve her husband, that she delivers them. She is not willing to be a servant.
The women authors of the sixties incorporate many ideas of the feminine movement into their works. Their characters are strong and independent. They make bold choices, like their creators, and that is what makes them interesting.
Bloom, Alexander and Wini Breines, eds. Takin' it to the Streets. Oxford University Press, New York, 1995)
Paley, Grace. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, New York, 1974.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. Harper and Row, New York, 1971.
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