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Women Seeing The World Through A Different Lens In Three Guineas And The Years

2696 words - 11 pages

At the time Virginia Woolf wrote The Years and Three Guineas, there were many differences between men and women, one of which was education. Most women were not educated, which prevented them from entering into agency. Women allowed themselves to be played by history. In order for them to change a world that was dominated by men, women needed to refuse what history said was their essence, and rather, use that essence to create critical ways of being in the world. The photograph, "a crudely colored photograph--of your world as it appears to us who see it from the threshold of the private house; through the shadow of the veil that St. Paul still lays upon your eyes; from the bridge which connects the private house with the world of public life," must be taken from a different perspective, (Three Guineas 18). In Three Guineas, Woolf shows her readers how women were enslaved by men, why it was so important that women receive an education, and the different ways in which women could enter into agency in order to change a world that was dominated by men.

In Three Guineas, Woolf describes all of the ways in which women were being enslaved by men. There were many differences among men and women, which deprived women of their freedom. At this time, there was a power imbalance; men were dominant and women were not valued by society. Many doors were still locked for women. Men had been educated for five or six hundred years, while women, only sixty. Even though both sexes contributed to university funds, the number of women who were allowed an education was extremely limited. "Though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes," (Three Guineas 18). Men were taught to think and act through tradition. They were trained in a way that differed significantly from women.

Because women did not receive an education, they were unable to make money. Therefore, women believed that they had no choice other than to side with men. They were dependent on their fathers' or husbands' income, which prevented them from freedom. Although women did not work as judges, lawyers, or any other job in the public world, they worked at home. Women were wives, mothers, and daughters, and without them, "the state would collapse and fall to pieces, without whose work your sons, Sir, would cease to exist," (Three Guineas 54).

Although this was unjust, men were not entirely at fault. Married men got paid twice that of a bachelor. Half of men's salary belonged to their wives, but women had little access to their husband's salary. "We may assume that the wife of an educated man has as much money to spend," (Three Guineas 55). Then why, didn't women spend that money on pleasures that she enjoyed? Because men made the money, women allowed them to decide how it should be spent. "She lays out thousands and thousands of pounds upon clubs to which her own sex in not admitted; upon racecourses where she may not ride; upon colleges from which...

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