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Feminist Text Discussion
Feminism refers to advocating and perception of women as being part and parcel of a human being. It is a commitment to achieving equality for both sexes. Although feminism has been vied as a quest for selfish gain by the woman professional by actors such as the media, it is often the women with the least who benefit from girl child activism. There are three types of feminism, reformist, socialist, and radical. Feminism seeks to address the problem of discrimination, prejudice, stereotype, and other negative oppressions that women go through as a result of sexuality, age, race, class, and disability among others things.
Feminism has evolved through different stages known as waves. This includes first, second and third waves feminism. The first wave feminism refers to the first movement that was formed to look into reform of women’s legal and social inequalities. Its concerns were employment, education, marriage laws, and the plight of middle-class single women. The wave succeeded in opening up higher education For women The second wave stands for the rise in feminist activities. It arose from a group of women who got disillusioned by their second-class status and the urge to contend against discrimination. The third wave was initiated with the purpose of building a long lasting foundation for social activism across the world to help determine whether a woman needs to stay at home for the baby or not, the following texts are explored ”No Name Woman” ”The Feminine Mystique”, and “The Second Sex”.
Discussion of the Feminine Mystique
“The Feminine Mystique”, is in line with the second wave feminism. The author of this text introduces the readers to the problems being experienced by women which in his perspective is “a problem that has no name”. This is a clear indication that women for a very long time had suffered in salient, a fact that is common in the entire world. In fact, most societies as discussed by the author had trained the girl-child to acknowledge the house as her sole position. In my view women unhappiness is not just attributed to their role as housewives, but to various prejudices, stereotypes, and the limited duties assigned to them by the society.
However, it is unrealistic to learn that despite the problem that women were going through prior to 1930s, these women later decided to abandon their careers for housewife responsibilities. Moreover, it is believed that there has been progress in societies with as far as the position of a woman is concerned (Friedan, 2001). This is not what we see Friedan depicting in her examination of various magazines published during various times. For instance, women in 1930s were actively involved in various careers. However, magazines produced in 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s offered contradicting information concerning the role of men.
Friedan is typical example of a conservative and naturally does not propagate the feminist agenda. This is evidenced by her own volition to abandon her career at the expense of societal expectations and further assertion that women should not find it difficult to accept societal role modeling. According to Friedan, society attempted to restrict the women to the roles of wife, mother and punished those who went against this directive. However, since the feminists held their ground, the women were given the opportunities men enjoyed like education. This implies that women have the power to choose their position and roles in the society.
Discussion of No Name Woman
Kingston, the author of this text touches on the themes of secrecy and feminism. She narrates a story about her aunt who happens to have conceived in the absence of her husband. When her time comes to deliver, no one is there to assist her (Kingston, 1989). Since the baby is a girl and the aunt on realizing that the baby has no limited chances of survival, she decides to jump into the well together with the baby, both of them drowning. This is a clear indication of how the society detests single mothers and girl-child born out of wedlock. Women are also made to live under a lot of fear. The aunt’s pregnancy solicits different reaction since it is hard to tell whether some women are forced into relationships or they just like sex.
The author on attaining the age of puberty begins to live in fear because of the physical and emotional changes resulting from puberty and the societal expectations. This shows how society has set traumatizing expectations for females attaining adolescent stage. Surprisingly, her major fear is caused by her mother’s story about her father’s sister. It appears that her sister had attained the age of marriage, but still lived with her parents. She therefore loses the recognition of her family as one of them. In my opinion, this is a draw back to the fight for gender equality caused by women themselves. The author’s mother uses an unproved story to instill fear on her daughter for her to get married at an early age. To some extent, I feel that it is women who have chosen that they should sit at home for the baby.
Discussion of the Second Sex
The author, Beauvoir has anticipated the second wave feminism and partly the third wave feminism in her work. She presents to the readers her exhaustive effort to deal with the state of restlessness that being a woman creates in a person. She analyzes the dilemmas caused by the conflicts by quest for dependence, reasonable work, maternity and the painful artifices the real femininity requires. She proceeds to talk about how hard it is for an independent woman to choose between her social life and professional interests. In my own opinion, I feel that women are not yet decided and hence stand high chances of following someone else’s decision.
De Beauvoir’s belief that women’s inferiority is caused by societal orientation of male and female genders and not the natural cause is 100% true. This is because children of different genders tend to follow how they have been nurtured by various social institutions. Ideally, nurture is what has propagated inferiority of the female gender. Moreover, the society has perceived women to be homemakers through giving birth to children and carrying out other cores within the home. However, such belief tends to forget that such reproductive ability of women can be converted into production labor.
Comparison and Contrast of “the Second Sex”, “No Name Woman”, “the Feminine Mystique”
The three texts explored in this paper focus on issues surrounding the girl child, and the attempts to offer insights on such issues. In my view, “The Second Sex” by De Beauvoir tends to be more superior to the other two. This is seen on how it articulates various issues affecting women without taking sides or confusing the plots. Similarly, De Beauvoir through her text offers realistic themes which reveal prejudice, discrimination, stereotype, and other forms of sufferings that have befallen women from the ancient times. As a matter of fact, the readers get to learn that women have always tried to ascend a given ladder in all spheres of life. However, what the society has coined and made people to believe to be the female’s inability according to De Beauvoir, is where the strength of a woman lies. For instance, nature vs nurture, reproduction vs production, and imminence vs transcendence are attributes that should be utilized for the good of both sexes.
Women activists rather referred to as feminists, should not be seen as absurd in their quest for equality among all genders, but as agents of restoration of people’s, society’s, media’s and other social institutions’ perception of women’s abilities. A society that propagates her women to stay at home and take care on babies promotes backwardness and denies the fact that women can effectively succeed in bringing up a family and excelling in career.