When one thinks about the leaders of early Christianity, an orthodox vision of Jesus’ male apostles and disciples fills their head. While there is no doubt these men were important, their influential women counterparts are often overlooked and underrated. For years, historians were perplexed at the rapid spread of early Christianity, until they considered women. Women had a major role in the rise and spread of early Christianity because they were not only numerous, but also influential in leadership positions and converting others.
Throughout history, women have constantly been objectified and forced into submission by the male dominated society. Simone de Beauvoir’s philosophical work, The Second Sex, echoes the intense oppression of women and reflects the first wave feminist movement. Her existentialist decoding of genders resulted in the idea of the Other, which explores the phenomenon of women forced into the role of an object, while men are the subject. In the second chapter, “The Girl”, Beauvoir further studies the idea of this oppression during one’s transition from a girl into a woman. Beauvoir states that no matter how much freedom and sense of self a girl holds, she is always forced into the role of the Other in society. Beauvoir 's idea of the Other held
In Foucault’s work “The Body and Sexuality” Foucault suggests, power no longer asserts itself as a deduction, as a "right of death." The primary interest of power now is
Over the past 200 years sexual liberation and freedom have become topics of discussions prevalent within western culture and society. With the recent exploration of sexuality a new concept of sexual and gender identity has emerged and is being analyzed in various fields of study. The ideology behind what defines gender and how society explains sex beyond biology has changed at a rapid pace. In response various attempts to create specific and catch all definitions of growing gender and sexual minorities has been on going. This has resulted in the concept of gender becoming a multi- layered shifting hypothesis to which society is adapting. Since the 19th-century, philosophers and theorists have continued to scrutinize gender beyond biological and social interpretation. Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale captures the limitations and social implications forced upon a set gender based on societal expectations. Gender is a social construct that limits the individual to the restrictions and traditions of a society, or if it’s an individually formed self-identification of sex and sexuality that is formed autonomously. Evidence of gender establishment can be seen within literary works and supported by various schools of gender and sexuality theory.
Sexuality has an inherent connection to human nature. Yet, even in regards to something so natural, societies throughout times have imposed expectations and gender roles upon it. Ultimately, these come to oppress women, and confine them within the limits that the world has set for them. However, society is constantly evolving, and within the past 200 years, the role of women has changed. These changes in society can be seen within the intricacies of literature in each era. Specifically, through analyzing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, one can observe the dynamics of society in regards to the role of women through the lens of the theme of sexuality. In both novels, the confinement and oppression of women can be visibly seen as a result of these gender roles. Yet, from the time The Scarlet Letter was published to the time The Bell Jar was written, the place of women in society ultimately changed as well. Hence when evaluating the gender roles that are derived from sexuality, the difference between the portrayals of women’s oppression in each novel becomes apparent, and shows how the subjugation of women has evolved. The guiding question of this investigation is to what extent does the theme of sexuality reflect the expectations for women in society at the time each novel was written. The essay will explore how the literary elements that form each novel demonstrate each author’s independent vision which questions the
In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Genesis and the Greek play Medea, by Euripides, contain female characters that can be seen as complex and have significance and meaning in the text. There are many interpretations involving the female characters, some characters may be portrayed as weak and irrational or strong-willed and wise. I will argue that, women are portrayed in the Hebrew Bible and Medea as irrational and senseless, in order for the men to be portrayed as superior and for women to be seen as inferior. This idea of the female characters being irrational and senseless can be seen in Genesis 4, Genesis 18, Genesis 29, and throughout the Medea play.
As social beings, the human race demonstrates a correlation between language and thought. Michel Foucault believed that language is the expression of power relationships and that it is shaped through the relationship between power and discourse. This means that the degree of influence between the language and the though process is reciprocal – discourse shapes the thinking dynamics of mankind and, likewise, the ideas and power dynamics determine the language used. The use of one word over another is extremely revealing and influential. Thus, the use of discourse must be approached carefully and consciously. The social conditioning associating the word ‘victim’ with an individual of the female sex might not be evident, but it hides underneath the countless justifications that the patriarchal education has embedded. As aforementioned, to tackle harmful gender stereotypes that feed the proliferation of SVGB crimes, it is necessary to start at the most basic –
Judith Butler questions the belief that behaviors of either sex are natural. She proposes a rather radical theory that gender is performative and that sex is constructed. When gender is being performed, it means that someone would take on a role, acting in such a way that gives society the idea of their gender and constructs part of their identity. To be performative means that we produce a series of effects.Gender is constructed and is not in any way connected ‘naturally’ to sex.
In this essay I discuss that "doing gender means creating differences between girls and boys and women and men...." (West & Zimmerman 2002:13) I am concentrating on the female perspective, how societyputs forth expectations of what is 'natural' or biological even though, in some cases, it can be quite demeaning and degrading. I am using some examples from the local media and also a few childhoodexperiences that have helped me to now strongly suspect that the quote from Simone Beauvoir (1972) "One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one" most likely has quite a bit of truth to it.
Spargo goes on to address some of the criticisms of Foucault and how these failing have been addressed as queer theory has developed. The most significant of these criticism as addressed by Spargo was Foucault’s focus on masculine sexualities . Spargo explores the relationship of the production of sexuality to gender through a discussion of Judith Butler. Butler argues that gender is produced and understood via cultural discourse in the same way as sexuality . Gender according to Butler is
The Bible is controversial on the matter of gender equality. There are numerous contradictions about the status of women in Christian society. Historically, the most prominent interpretation has been rather negative toward women. The Christian Church, with principally male authority, emphasizes the idea that women are inferior to man. They focus on Eve’s sin leading to a punishment that “her husband will have authority over her.” (Drury, 34)
Gender is defined in Undoing Gender in an act of improvising within a scene of constraint, where one that is always within a social context, and never outside of the ideology. Butler expresses that Undoing Gender expresses an understanding of how “restrictively normative conceptions of sexual and gendered life” might be undone. She stresses throughout the reading that this process of undoing is not something that is negative or
Despite how the word may sound, deconstruction means to deconstruct, not to destroy. Deconstruction is always simultaneously affirming and undoing. Deconstruction refers to a technique for reading and analyzing texts developed by Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, and others; this, in turn, is connected to a set of philosophical theories about language and meaning. As a result of the popularity of this technique and theory, the word “deconstruct” is often used as a synonym for criticizing or demonstrating the incongruity of a position. It is a way to interpret literary, religious, and legal texts as well as philosophical ones, and was adopted by French feminist theorists as a way to make clearer the deep male bias that was embedded in European literature and traditions.
According to Judith Butler’s theory, gender is a social concept and not a natural part of being, therefore making it unstable and fluid. Gender identities are produced through what Butler calls “performativity,” the repetitive acts of expression that form and define the notions of masculinity and femininity. These repeated performances are engrained within the heteronormative society and impose these gendered expectations on individuals. In this respect, gender is something inherent in a person, however Butler writes “gender is always a doing, though not a doing by a subject who might be said to pre-exist the deed.” In Olga Tokarczuk’s House of Day, House of Night identity is undoubtedly central to the characters’ stories, specifically the strict social constructs of gender that is snarled with one’s identity. Tokarczuk’s novel presents a mosaic of stories that put into question heteronormative gender roles, while offering an alternative way of existence. Analyzing House of Day, House of Night with Judith Butler’s gender theory demonstrates the characters struggles within the rigid constructions of gender and how some ultimately deal with moving past such restricting expectations.
The Traffic in Women: The “Political economy” of sex by Gayle Rubin is an exploration of the origin of women’s oppression. Rubin’s main objective is to arrive at a more fully developed definition of the sex/gender system, otherwise referred to as “mode of reproduction” and/or “patriarchy”. She further develops her definition through the analysis of the work of Levi-Strauss and Freud from a marxist perspective. Rubin provides the following preliminary definition of the sex/gender system “A set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity, and in which these transformed sexual needs are satisfied.” (159) She attempts to add to her definition of the sex/gender system through the analysis of the overlapping work of Claude Levi- Strauss and Sigmund Freud. Despite implications with their work, Rubin believes that both Levi-Strauss and Freud provide conceptual tools in describing the sex/gender system. Rubin looks at a Marxist analysis of sex oppression, as well as, Engels theory of society which integrates both sex and sexuality. Furthermore she incorporates aspects of each theory addressed into her own working definition of the sex/gender system. By shifting between Marxist, structuralist and psychoanalyst explanations of sex oppression, Rubin is able to construct a multi-dimensional definition of the sex/gender system that is not only inclusive but also provides a basis of which to build from.