Emma Goldman's Internal Tyrants

Better Essays
Emma Goldman’s concept of “internal tyrants,” as discussed in her piece The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation, describes how the conventions and expectations that are prevalent in society that affects the personal thoughts and feelings of women and thus shapes their actions, preventing them from living totally free. Goldman discusses how these internal tyrants can be seen when a woman worries about how she will be perceived in her social circles and communities, and may subsequently allow those perceived reactions to dictate her behavior and attitudes. She internalizes the idea of their judgement and this affects her decision making without her always recognizing it. Goldman explains that women do not know the true meaning of emancipation…show more content…
After we have been freed from the internal tyrants, as well as the external tyrants that prevent independence, then womankind will be totally emancipated. While a woman is not free from the internal tyrants, they act as a police on her behavior and attitudes, keeping her docile and subordinate to her oppressors. Although external tyrants are more apparent and seem more tangible, internal tyrants are experienced more privately and often remain unchecked, and we can become oblivious to them. This is the reason why Goldman claims they internal tyrants “far more harmful to life and growth,” than external tyrants, (Freedman 172). Internal tyrants can plague a woman’s mind and deprive her of her freedom by influencing her behavior and swaying her beliefs. This can, of course, undermine feminist ideas and reinforce patriarchal views for a number of reasons. One being that since a woman is being controlled by anything other than the values and beliefs that are truly her own, internal tyrants undercut feminist ideals as they take precedence over the woman’s free will. Also, by allowing the views of others to influence her, a woman may likely adhere to patriarchal expectations of what is “acceptable” behavior for her, as those are often the ones that are deeply ingrained and commonplace, and deviations from these expectations can be treated
    Get Access