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The Potential For Change: The Relationship Between Male/Female With Culture/Nature

1419 words - 6 pages

Since early history and the ancient civilization of man, women have played a secondary role, and are continuing to be in viewed as less then men. Throughout history women have taken the role of housewife, mother, and nurturer. Many women today want careers outside the home and a place of greater significance in this world. The paintings by Charles Lamb, in the Glucksman Gallery, which portrayed woman's role as being solely in the home. He offset hyper-masculinity against hyper-femininity which impacted on the construction of Irish female identity, whereby women were portrayed by the Irish Free State government against a backdrop of a wild rural landscape, dressed in peasant costumes, working on the land or tending to children. The rural dress worn by these women was the antithesis of contemporary fashions elsewhere, proclaiming the new Free State as an anti-urban entity. As Ortner states in her essay; "...she accepts her own devaluation and takes culture's point of view". The independent women of our times want to stand on their own two feet, and desire to become self-sustaining individuals, independent and free from other individuals.Taking into a historical context, the Easter Rising was as revolutionary in its inclusion of women as it was in other respects. It made its appeal to Irishwomen as well as Irishmen, and promised universal suffrage, 'equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens'. However, women brought a radical edge to the struggle that could well have been lacking in an exclusively male campaign. Perhaps their own experiences of exclusion had helped to radicalize many of them. They challenged authority in ways that broke down many of the old gender roles and social boundaries, and opened the way to a genuinely egalitarian, open and tolerant society. If, as James Connolly said, "the cause of labour and the cause of Ireland could not be dissevered, then the causes of women and republicanism are undoubtedly equally indivisible". This principal is reinforced by Ortner in her cultural ideology of Taoism; the yin and yang concept whereby male and female "are given equal weight". After all, woman is "half of the human race".The Irish Free State government comminsioned Sir Lavery to paint an image of an archetypal Irish girl for the new banknote. This is because Ireland had always been allegorised as female, both in iterature and in the visual arts (Lady Lavery, 1928). Despite woman's vital role in the rising, it should be remembered that even the most progressive-minded Irish republicans were operating in a society where old structures were still in place. It was not until 1974 (the Anti-Discrimination (Pay) Act), that women were recoginized and rewarded for their efforts in war, in which they proved themselves to be worthy of an equal status in Irish society.From the lyrical point of view, I will now focus on how women have long been associated with nature - metaphorically, as 'Mother Earth'. Ortner discusses woman's...

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