What are some gender issues around the world addressed in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though first published in 1892, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is still relevant today. It depicts the assignment of rigid, gender-defined roles to the main character and her husband, John. She is the emotional, fragile member of the pair, and her husband, a physician, is the rational, practical one. He and her brother, also a physician, believe they can decide what is best for her. They prescribe a rest cure, even though she feels she would do better being active. In their gender-determined roles, the wife abdicates all decision-making abilities an adult has and becomes child-like. The medical establishment that decides how she should be cured is dominated by men.

There are many cultures around the world that make women the possessions of their fathers, husbands, and brothers. Many cultures and societies do not recognize women's rights to determine their own futures and decisions, and they also deem women fragile and unworthy of receiving an education. In addition, in many cultures, the medical establishment is still run in such a way that it advances the ideas of male superiority and does not give women a say in their own treatment and care. 

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The Yellow Wallpaper

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