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To Be A Feminist Essay

996 words - 4 pages

The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities is truly what feminism is. A major key principle that Donald Hall utilizes in his Feminist Analysis is that “Language, institutions, and social power structures have reflected patriarchal interests throughout much of history” (202) and that “This has had a profound impact on women’s ability to express themselves and the quality of their daily lives” (202) are greatly seen in the two short stories “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and in the novel The Awakening also by Kate Chopin all written in mid-19th century. These all illustrate how women were oppressed by patriarchal power and how women rose and subverted patriarchal oppression which elucidates Hall’s theories that state women have been denied self-expression affecting their daily lives and patriarchs take power away from women.
One major effect of patriarchal power that Hall discusses is how it denies women to express themselves. A feminist would argue that women have been valued as objects, valued on for the usefulness they provide for men and their beauty. This gives way to why patriarchs would frown upon women expressing themselves. The purpose of a woman was to be a mother, a good wife and, in a very blunt manner, a trophy, an accomplishment that satisfies the man. Traces of such practices could be referred to the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” when the unnamed narrator suspects that her husband, John, is coming into the room, she writes, “There comes John, and I must put this away,-he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman 769). The wife is being denied the right to express herself through writing and she does not question this restriction. The man is stronger; the man is in control therefore the woman must submit to his demands. In Hall’s analysis he states that women are “relatively smaller [in] physical size” (Hall 202), which has a major effect in how the man oppresses the woman. The man overpowers the woman physically and he takes advantage of his position. Now the result of such oppression, such restrictions of self-expression could result in rebellion, suicide and insanity. In the same short story, the unnamed narrator believes there is a woman trapped inside the walls and begins to crawl all about the floor as if she were to be possessed by the woman trapped in the walls. Her husband refused to listen to her and denied her to convey her thoughts which resulted her to lose herself in the walls of her mind. Restricting what a woman can and can’t do or how she can express herself demonstrate the power that men have taken from women in the mid-19th century.
Another one of Hall’s theories states that patriarchs take power away from women. One could even argue that patriarchs take women’s freedom, robbing them of their natural...

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