What was womens' role in society and literary portrayals during 1865-1912? Consider political, social, cultural, and philosophical perspectives.
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The role of women has, and always will be, an ever changing role. She has evolved from the quiet, submissive, subservient, domestic servant of centuries past to the dominant, outspoken, charismatic businesswoman and sometimes entrepreneur of today! No longer is she relegated to stereotyped, unskilled, former womens-job-only as washer woman, secretary, nurse, and schoolteacher! Now she operates a backhoe, pilots a jet fighter, fights fires, performs surgery in our major hospitals, patrols the streets with a badge on her chest, dictates laws and policies from Capitol Hill, argues her case in front of judge and jury, and sits on the board of directors of major corporations worldwide. She has "come out of the closet" and shown the world what she is capable of doing for it!
The 1860's marked a great change for women as the women's suffrage movement was in full swing worldwide. Although it would take decades for the movement to reach full circle, many rights had already been won by women at the beginning of the Civil War. From 1865-1912, women's role in society and literary portrayals displayed the following characteristics:
Political: Beginning with the 1870's, women received the vote and began taking an active role in the way our country was run.
Social: Women began coming to the forefront in news, entertainment, and sports. She no longer was on the sidelines watching but was an active participant on all fronts.
Cultural: Women were now becoming affluent entrepreneurs and owners of businesses, and their influence was felt in many circles. They had an eye for fashion, detail, and pizazz formerly missing in an all-male controlled society.
Philosophical: As great thinkers, authors, statesmen, philosophers, and philanthropists women began making their mark in a world torn and troubled by war, catastrophe, and poverty. Many famous women came to the forefront as heroines--fearless, daring, and dauntless. Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, Alice Roosevelt--to name a few. Their selfless, bold contributions changed the world to a better place.
Literary: Novels became more and more common as a new style of writers and writing came into being, and the women in books took on new roles that were formerly unbecoming to their gender.
Change brings with it both good and bad, and the change in womens' roles came with a price. The price is that women are no longer viewed by men as a helpless, hapless, dependent species. Instead, men have had to step back and step aside for a new breed of women who take charge and sometimes don't need them! So, through the years, men have become less respectful, less tender, less nurturing, and less protective of women. Sorry guys and gals--that's just the way it is!
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