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Feminist Theory

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Vicky Ansher Chang

on 13 December 2014

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Transcript of Feminist Theory

Feminist Theory
What is Feminist Theory?
Feminist theory, or feminism,is support of equality for women and men.
Feminism is a political activity for terminate the sexism, sexual exploitation and sexual oppression. The purpose of this activity is to promote the sexual equality and launched a social theory and political movement.
Feminist is a type of theory that is about how are the women write their own experiences through the stories. The authors always advocate the equal rights between men and women through describe the different issues on society, For example, the cultural and social status.
A Pair of Silk Stockings

”A Pair of Silk Stockings” was a short story which published on 1896 by Kate Chopin. It was about a middle age’s mother, Mrs.Sommers, who was from the lower class, found fifteen dollars accidentally, and she decided to use those money buy some clothes for her children. However, when she arrived at mall, she saw a pair of silk stockings, she couldn’t help herself. After that, she bought more things and spent a lot of money on dinner and theater. Lastly, when Mrs.Sommers walked out of theater and waiting for a trolley car, she back to reality again.

Question 1
How are women represented in the text?
Feminism started on late eighteenth century by a female who was named Olympe de Gouges. On 1791, Olympe de Gouges published “ Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen”, she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male–female inequality. But on that time, there were not many people support her and even against her. Finally, she was accused by her two close relation and executed by guillotine.
The protagonist, Mrs. Sommers, who is searching for a balance between family life and personal satisfaction, loses her sense of family responsibility when she puts the stockings on in the ladies room, even she knows her family priorities are more important than herself. She is portrayed as a typical married woman of the early 1890 and her action shows her desires to gain personal freedom to be a woman.
Therefore, women in the story are represented as a lower social class. They are expected to stay at home and look after the family,In other words, they are suppressed by the men and have lost their individuality.
Question 2:
If you were to rewrite the text’s ending,
what would happen to the female protagonist? The male protagonist?
"The sunlight poured in through the windows. Mrs. Sommers wakes up, she realizes she just had a beautiful dream. As usual, Mrs. Sommers is preparing breakfast for her children. When she opens the cabinet to get the jam, she sees fifteen dollars in the corner of the cabinet." In the end of the story, I want to leave a suspense for readers. If the original story is Mrs. Sommers’ dream and in reality she finds fifteen dollars "again". What will she do? Will she still spend all the money for herself? Or spend them for her children?
Question 3:
How do women exercise their power in the text?
In the story, Mrs. Sommers as a wife in this story she just like usual women in that time serve for her family. however, after she had fifteen dollars she was able to change this status, cause she has chance to enjor others give service for her. she could exercise her power by using money .
What were the social and historical conditions for women
in this period that might help us understand their roles and desires in the text?
Question 4
In nineteenth century America, women were not treated fairly, especially in the lower class women. Women of the time were expected to give up everything in order to care for their families and they were not to show independence or aspirations.The author of this story “Kate chopin” was those literary activists who lived in the era when the notion of the ‘New Woman’ emerged. The women of the time were beginning to realize a desire for independence, small changes were emerging as women began to be more self-indulgent and to voice their opinions.So women had the strength to be independent and enjoy their life.
How and to what degree are the women’s lives limited or restricted in this text?
Question 5
Mrs.Sommers is the protagonist of the story and her situation stands for the majority women in the 19 century. According to herself, the role of she has being in her family, and her personal economic strength are limit her. Mrs.Sommers, as a housewife, her life is restricted by taking care of family, cooking, cleaning,etc, as a result, there is no time and economic capability for her to enjoy life. In addition to the society, women in lower class are limited to get education and it is scarcely possible to have interpersonal communication with the people in higher class. Mrs.Sommers can watch drama with the two brilliantly dressed women, but that does not mean she can approach their lives. Therefore the women’s lives are not only limited by themselves, but the society as well.

J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It!" poster from 1943
which used to promote feminism and other political issues beginning in the 1980s.
The relationship between men and women has almost always been unequal and oppressive.
The extent of inequality and oppressiveness has varied greatly.
All known societies have been patriarchal-- a system in which males dominate females.
•All major social institutions have been characterized by male dominance:
Political system

•Women have usually accepted their subordination to men.
–They have been socialized to believe ideologies that justify male domination.
Summary brief:
person vs. society
, Mrs. Sommers wanted to be rich but her identity and social status do not allowed her to have a luxury life.

person vs. herself
, at the beginning of the story, Mrs. Sommers against herself to repress the temptations of the luxury items and decided to buy some clothes for her children. However, she was succumbing to her desires and spent all the money for herself, this shows the conflict between Mrs.Sommers and herself.
when Mrs. Sommers decides to buy more than just the silk stockings.
a pair of silk stockings, symbolized upper class, rich and power.
time: early 1890’s, place: a fashionable outlet, a theater and an elite restaurant.
point of view:
third person, readers can only knows the thoughts and feelings of Mrs. Sommers.
“Little Mrs Sommers one day found herself the unexpected possessor of fifteen dollars. It seemed to her a very large amount of money, and the way in which it stuffed and bulged her worn old porte-monnaie gave her a feeling of importance such as she had not enjoyed for years.”
Quote 1
In the beginning of the story, the author shows feminist according to describe Mrs.Sommers’ situation. For example, the word “little” may represents Mrs.Sommer is short or she has no power in the society. And “she had not enjoyed for years” shows Mrs. Sommers is a poor middle-age woman and she never had a lot of money.
Quote 2
“The vision of her little brood looking fresh and dainty and new for once in their lives excited her and made her restless and wakeful with anticipation.”
Mrs.Sommers is imagining how could she spend those money on her children. Through the previous paragraph we can know that Mrs.Sommers is on the lower class in the society, but this sentence reminds us that Mrs. Sommers’ social status drives her children into her place, the lower class.
Quote 3
“ What a very small parcel it was! It seemed lost in the depths of her shabby old shopping-bag.”
Quote 4
“There was a restaurant at the corner. She had never entered its doors; from the outside she had sometimes caught glimpses of spotless damask and shining crystal, and soft-stepping waiters serving people of fashion.”
Quote 5
“a powerful longing that the cable car would never stop anywhere, but go on and on with her forever.”
1.make men and women more equally on human rights and social level.
2. Making more people know this theory. 3 The story shows the personal psychological changes, which everyone has it, but not only for women.

Weakness: focus on women themselves, ignore those relationships in society , history and economy even break the relationship with men.

Strength & Weakness
By: Vicky Zhang, Le Chang, Wantzu Lai, Cynthia Li, Faye Huang, Jasmine Wu

This quote shows the readers how much desires she has. The small parcel cannot even meet her. she wants more and more to fill her shopping-bag, as well as her inner desires.
The author Kate Chopin’ writing style is really straightforward. As readers, we can get the idea of insight into Mrs. Sommers by reading her actions. Chopin’s words are easy to read and understand with the questions unresolved for the readers. As the main character, Mrs. Sommers was really careful with the money and want more, she lived with a cautiously attitude. However, after she had money, her desires made she become selfish and fearless.
Original Video on Youtube:A Pair Of Silk Stockings(by Kate Chopin)
writer detailed description that restaurant at the corner,the reason why write this part is through these things we can figure out a strong desire from character’s deep heart, and these daintiness things can contrast how poor she is. that is why these money so seductive for her. In her eyes ,evey thing in upperer class society people’s life are so elegant even waiter are also so politely . these attractive things are exactly like what kind of life she wants to have but the glass just like the reality for her , because even she have enough money to afford these food but there also have a deaden between her and upper class which she never can get into.
Go back to the whole story, Mrs. Sommers found herself with unexpected money and unexpected desires, she dreamed of living one day for herself and spending the money on herself, she portrayed a desire to live for herself which was contrary to the social norms and the ability to self-indulge gave her great pleasure, she enjoyed this feelings so she would like to continue this kind of life.That was the expansion of the desire especially for these lower class women like Mrs. Sommers.
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