Feminism Essay

Feminism Essay

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Both Virginia Woolf, in a speech addressing a graduating all women class,
and Naomi Wolf, in her text The Beauty Myth, contemplate feminism from an
economic viewpoint. While Woolf believes women need money and a room of their
own to have economic independence, Wolf gives credence to the fact that the
beauty industry is hindering the independence of women. Through male
pomposity, the conventional lives of women, obsession with physical
appearance, and the reality that beauty is diverse, both Woolf and Wolf
explain the significance of our world's economy.
Women have always been economically dependent on men. Any land or money
that was in a woman's possession was given to her father or husband. Women
have stayed at home working as housewives, cleaning house, and taking care of
children. Of course, there have been women who have worked outside of the
house, but Woolf sees that kind of work as enslavement. Not much money was
made, and not many occupations were open to women. ". what still remains with
me. was the poison of fear and bitterness which those days bred in me. To
begin with, always to be doing work that one did not wish to do, and to do it
like a slave," (Woolf 348). Therefore Woolf concludes that women need to be
independent from men, and in order to do so women need to have money of their
own. This statement is without a doubt biased, as Woolf is limiting her
thesis to those women who have an income without working. Consequently,
working women can never really be liberated.
One may ask why women have been the poor ones. Why have women been
dependent on men, and not men on women? Why haven't women been able to thrive
and prosper like men have? The answer lies in the fact that men blow
themselves out of proportion. Woolf's theory is that women have been seen as
mirrors. "Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing
the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its
natural size," (Woolf 346). Because men see women as inferior, men feel
superior. If a woman were to stand up for herself and lessen the power of the
looking glass, men wouldn't have the feeling of predominance that they occupy
now. "The looking-glass vision is of supreme importance because it charges
the vitality; it stimulates the nervous system. Take it away and man may
die," (Woo...

... middle of paper ...

...s I was writing this paper,
an ad for a "Jenny Jones Weight Loss" program came on. Lose nineteen pounds
for nineteen dollars, Jenny Jones promises. And a couple days ago heavier
people were protesting an ad 24-hour Fitness had exhibited, "When the aliens
come, they will eat the fat ones first." Even my nine-year-old sister wonder
why her stomach sticks out, she wonders what she can do to be thinner. It's
affecting the younger generation. On the other hand, I look at my mother who
is successful. She is a single mother who works in a predominantly male
occupation, raising three children on her own.
In some ways women have progressed, in some ways women have digressed. As
women, we need to crack the mirror Virginia Woolf indicated as apparent in
our domain. We need to set Shakespeare's sister free, and make the choice to
have money and a room of our own. And as Naomi Wolf presented, we need to
look for diversity in beauty. We need to become aware of the decrease in
self-confidence that is happening in women, and do something about it. While
it certainly is not going to happen today, or even tomorrow, on behalf of all
women, I hope it happens soon.

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