Essay on Redefining Public and Private

3866 Words16 Pages
Redefining Public and Private "Public and private are imbedded within a dense web of associational meanings and intimations and linked to other basic notions: nature and culture, male and female... The content, meaning, and range of public and private vary with the exigencies of each society's existence and turn on whether the virtues of political life or the values of private life are rich and vital or have been drained, singly or together, of their normative significance." The mantra of second wave feminism, "the personal is political," signifies the first attempt to break down the gendered division between the private sphere attributed to women and the public sphere of men. There is no clear origin of this public/private…show more content…
It has politicized women's voices in a way that has disrupted the unity of women. Second, the concerns of private life are now exposed to the public, allowing for public and political influence on the private life, specifically in the form of legislation. Third, the deconstruction of the public/private threatens the individuality of experiences of women as women. Finally, it jeopardizes the sanctity of the private space. By looking at different models for gender equality within the private and public spaces we can begin to find a way in these spaces can be reconstructed to achieve a gendered equality while still preserving the public/private divide and the integrity and individuality of men and women. As more women have entered the work force, and thus the public sphere, there has been an increasing focus on how this movement influences the idea of the traditional private life. Since the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, men have been defined as the money-making workers and women as the child-bearing emotional support for men. In this traditional model "the ability of the unencumbered individual (man) to participate in the public sphere of work and politics assumes that someone, usually a woman, is preparing his food, cleaning his house, and raising the next generation of laborers through her reproductive labor." The expectation that child care will be done 'for free' by the mother in the home is connected to the lack of
Open Document