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The Feminist Lens
Transcript of The Feminist Lens
Sexism in 17th Century
The Scarlet Letter
Man's Last Stand?
"Women derive a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other sex, from the delicate toil of the needle" (Hawthorne).
"The unlikeliest materials—a stick, a bunch of rags, a flower—were the puppets of Pearl's witchcraft, and, without undergoing any outward change, became spiritually adapted to whatever drama occupied the stage of her inner world. Her one baby-voice served a multitude of imaginary personages, old and young, to talk withal" (Hawthorne).
It is 2014 and men still think that they are the victims here.
By doing common household chores and being a decent human being, this commercial says that men are deserving of whatever they want, like this car, which is the "man's last stand". This commercial also completely disrespects women by portraying them as nagging and complaining.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Can We Still Do It?
Sexism Still Prevalent
Throughout this issue of The Feminist Lens, you will encounter various articles that deal with how women have been perceived in literature and film, from hundreds of years ago to now.
Ever since the 1960s, a new type of literary criticism, the feminist lens, has focused in on "the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women" (Tyson).
Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of women's strength since WWII, represents that battle that is still being fought. This classic picture emulates the "can do" spirit of all the women who helped in the war effort, either as factory workers or soldiers. Today there is a different war being waged, one for equality between the sexes, be we
still do it.
The Feminist Lens
What does this say about the role of women in Puritan society?
Women may have enjoyed sewing, but they did NOT get so much pleasure out of it that it would be "incomprehensible" to men. This domestic duty was put upon women because women were seen as inferior, not because they actually liked it. Nice try, Hawthorne.
Sexism in 20th Century
The Great Gatsby
"'She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool—that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool'" (Fitzgerald).
How are the roles of men and women defined in this passage?
What constitutes masculinity and femininity?
How do Tom and Myrtle embody those traits?
This blatant act of violence towards Myrtle demonstrates Tom Buchanan's disregard for her well-being. The only reason why he is with Myrtle is to use her; he cannot hurt Daisy because she is a part of the upper class. On the other hand, Myrtle is poor so he can easily take out his frustrations on her. So not only does Tom disregard Myrtle, but he also disrespects Daisy because the only reason he does not hurt her is because of her money, not out of love.
Misogyny Still Present Today
The Twilight Saga is a perfect example of sexism in today's society. In this clip, Edward manages to save the day be swooping down and rescuing Bella from being crushed by a car. This may seem brave and romantic, but throughout the whole series, Bella is constantly portrayed as a fragile and weak damsel in distress, perpetuating the stereotype that women are in need of a man.
By Carolyn Kizer
By Adrienne Rich
The beginning of this poem references the "cure-all-ills" tonics that were popular in the 1800s as a quick way to embezzle money from uneducated townsfolk. Then the poem shifts to Marie Curie, a scientist who pioneered research on radioactivity. This creates a contrast between corrupt salesmen and Curie.
In the end, by saying that Curie's wounds and power come from the same source, Rich comments on the true nature of women's strength. Despite the countless setbacks that women have had to face throughout the centuries, it is that very pain and denial of it that has been the ultimate motivation for discovery, innovation, and change.
Living in the earth-deposits of our history
Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate
Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil
She died a famous woman denying
her wounds came from the same source as her power
In this poem, Kizer challenges the long instilled patriarchy that is present almost all the dominant, Western societies. By alluding to mythological and biblical stories, Lizer points out the trend of using women as scapegoats. This is evident in Helen being blamed for the Trojan War and Eve being blamed for the disgrace of all humanity.
Kizer further ridicules the history of sexism by pointing out that EUROPE ITSELF is named after one of Zeus' victims and that Joan was only sainted because she was "burnt to a cinder."
Kizer concludes by saying that because of all these injustices, men should not even suppose that they had any part in women's magnanimity.
Quotes of the Week
Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.
- Cheris Kramarae
“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
- Gloria Steinem
Women belong in the house
... and the Senate.
History is herstory too.
How does this passage reveal the social and psychological oppression of the patriarchy?
According to this passage, what is valued in a woman?
Men were not the only ones who believed in women's inferiority. In fact, Daisy hoped that her daughter would be dumb so that she wouldn't have to realize how dreadful her life was. Instead of trying to encourage confidence and self-sufficiency in her child, Daisy chooses to give up and let her child live the same awful existence as her mother. Women had so little power at the time, that that was the only future that many of them envisioned.
"Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!" shouted Mrs. Wilson. "I'll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai –– "
Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand" (Fitzgerald).
What does this passage say about the upbringing of women and how they are expected to act?
Pearl is not a witch, sprite, or elf; she is simply having fun acting by herself as she doesn't have any friends, considering she and her mother were ostracized from society. In this time period, young girls were expected to be learning how to embroider, not play with sticks and rocks. Of course, boys playing with those things would not be called witchcraft, but horseplay because 'boys will be boys'.
A Special Thanks to Our Contributors...
Arms and the girl I sing - O rare
arms that are braceleted and white and bare
arms that were lovely Helen's, in whose name
Greek slaughtered Trojan. Helen was to blame.
Scape-nanny call her; wars for turf
and profit don't sound glamorous enough.
Mythologize your women! None escape.
Europe was named from an act of bestial rape:
Eponymous girl on bull-back, he intent
on scattering sperm across a continent.
Old Zeus refused to take the rap.
It's not his name in big print on the map.
But let's go back to the beginning
when sinners didn't know that they were sinning.
He, one rib short: she lived to rue it
when Adam said to God, "She made me do it."
Eve learned that learning was a dangerous thing
for her: no end of trouble would it bring.
An educated woman is a danger.
Lock up your mate! Keep a submissive stranger
like Darby's Joan, content with church and Kinder,
not like that sainted Joan, burnt to a cinder.
Whether we wield a scepter or a mop
It's clear you fear that we may get on top.
And if we do -I say it without animus-
It's not from you we learned to be magnanimous.