Negotiating Fine Lines between Women’s Work and Women’s Worth
A woman’s place is in the home. She should have babies and raise them well. Her job is to keep the house clean and to take care of her husband. Although in today’s society this is no longer an acceptable classification, parts of it still exist within the minds of many. For example, the majority of men and women in the United States would say that they are against inequality between men and women; yet, the majority of women in America are living with their husband’s last name. This practice literally used to symbolize the ownership of the woman by the man, but people today fail to see the connection between this tradition and the past. This inability to see the connection creates a contradiction. It would seem logical that if America wants to affirm the value and equality of women, it would reject practices that keep an oppressive past alive in the present.
Although in today’s society women are sometimes still subjected to practices that label them as inferior to men, whether it’s in a marriage where the woman must stay at home to care for the child or in the workplace where the female is paid an average of 25 cents less than men, the fight for equality for women has come a long way since the 1920’s and 30’s. This is the time period that Kari Boyd McBride reflects upon for women in her essay “A Boarding House is not a Home: Women’s Work and Woman’s Worth on the Margins of Domesticity.” McBride’s essay is valuable because of the experience and knowledge she has about her field, which is that of Women’s Studies.
In analyzing McBride’s essay the rhetorical devices found to be used were logos and pathos. First, it will be shown how important it was that McBride chose to include background information about her subject. Building upon that knowledge allows her to expand upon the technique of appealing to the reader’s emotional side and how she does so will be deeply analyzed. This is by far her most important technique as she uses narration, description and repetition to overwhelm the reader and help them really feel what McBride’s character did. The reason she wants the readers to truly understand the emotional battle the women she describes went through is because her goal is to reveal the reasons behind their low self esteem in the early 1900’s. Those reasons are shown to have been largely a result of their work being demeaned as unimportant compared to the man’s.
McBride’s essay is therefore intriguing and eye-opening because she sparks the reader’s interest by contrasting common everyday beliefs about what is known as women’s work and by provoking a sense of sympathy and longing for more details about the plight of women in the early 1900’s. She begins her essay using a logical appeal to provide background information about her subject. This is useful to the reader as he/she attempts to grasp the reasons for which an...