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Gender Bias Expressed In Women's Literature

2316 words - 9 pages

Gender Bias Expressed in Women's Literature"The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race." --Susan B. Anthony (www.feminist.com)Throughout history there has been an unwritten law of gender roles. Society has rooted the idea that women are subservient to men. It has only been in the past one hundred years that some women have started to have the same rights as men. Women have fought for rights that establish the same social, economic, and political status that men have. Though many countries have started considering women as equals, such as the United States, Canada, and Europe, there are still many parts of the world, such as India Africa, and Latin America where women are still considered subservient to men. Although women in the "Westernized" world have gained significant legal rights, many people believe that women still do not have complete political, economic, and social equality. The pieces of literature that I will discuss show how women have certain roles assigned to them and some of the literature shows how women were able to rise above their "so called" place in society.In Western Europe, Sidonie Colette addresses the issue of gender inequality in her short story "The Other Wife." The dominance of the male over the female is acted out in a public restaurant. Throughout the entire story we can see that Marc, the husband, tries to take control of the situation in the restaurant. He does this by tightening his grip on Alice's (his new wife) arm, choosing where to sit, ordering their food, and leading the conversation. Colette symbolizes independence through the ex wife. The ex-wife shows power by sitting alone, smoking a cigarette and looking as calm and composed as can be as to say that she doesn't need a man to validate her as a woman. By the end of the evening Alice is wondering what more could there possibly be than the relationship with Marc. We see that Marc likes to be in control of things and it seems that the ex-wife wanted to have a say so in what went on, so it did not work out between them. Alice seems to like Marc taking control of every situation, but the end of the story leaves us with the feeling that she to may now be questioning his "authority". He divorced his ex wife because she was being "difficult" (Colette 526). She didn't make him the center of her universe. He much rather divorce than have his wife question his authority. Once again this story showed the unequal treatment between men and women. The man believes that the woman should be subservient to his wishes and whims. The ex-wife though provides a ray of hope in the fight against this type of behavior.In North America, Anne Hebert's "The Thin Girl" is a poem about the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. The poem speaks about how girls...

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