David Walker's Argumentative Essay

1253 Words 6 Pages
If women are inferior to men, then there should be no reason a woman should not have equal rights, for she will never obtain superiority; her mental aptitude and her potential for success are restricted by her womanhood. An overwhelming majority of men and women believed in the inferiority of women, but Franny Fern and Harriet Jacobs were not going to conform to the traditional gender roles outlined by the patriarchal powers in their lives. Coming from extremely different backgrounds, each woman experienced subjugation at the hands of men in unique ways, yet both women were able to utilize whatever power they had in order to maintain agency in their relative situations. In addition to establishing themselves as strong women in their daily lives, …show more content…
Women were constantly left out of the developing American character. Not only were they underrepresented in the content of literature, but also in the opportunity to create literature. As the abolitionist cause grew, writers such as Boudinot, Jefferson, and Garrison produced literature focused on marginalized populations, specifically Native Americans and slaves, within the United States. Male writers in the nineteenth century rarely focused on women right’s, since women’s inferiority was accepted as fact and therefore there was no real problem to be addressed. David Walker’s Appeal goes as far to ask, “Are we Men!” in order to criticize slavery, indirectly promoting the marginalization of women. Even Emerson and Franklin, who promoted perfection of the self through personal improvement and connection to the physical world, seem to appeal to the male reader, as women, often seen as their husband’s property, were expected to work in the home, taking care of children. For any female who aspired to enter the public sphere, especially women writers, there were significant barriers to overcome. Women writers were stigmatized and struggled to be taken seriously. Even once a woman writer established herself, her content was frequently scrutinized for its’ intent …show more content…
Through its’ witty and humorous language, for example, the “mistake” of writing poison instead of pies and things, the column points out the absurdity of marriage and gender status quos. In another instance, Fern suggests women should serve their husbands, if for no other reason, then to ensure he does not try and kiss her. This is another profound statement because it reveals how, despite its’ common occurrence, it should not be normal for a woman to be in a relationship with someone she finds appalling. This parallels Fern’s personal life because she went as far to get a divorce from her second husband because she could not stand his demeaning behavior. Fern was detested by friends and family for getting a divorce, but to her it was more important to be able to support herself than rely on someone who was disrespectful and unloving. In her works Male Criticism on Ladies Books and Ruth Hall, Fern continues to fight against the oppressive institutions confining women lives. Specifically, in Ruth Hall, Fern advocates for opportunities for women to support themselves and their families, especially thorough publishing, since there are only a limited number of socially acceptable positions for women to fulfill. As an autobiography, Ruth Hall, severs as a work of empowerment for women who are widowed and struggling to make a living. Fern highlights the insecurity of men and the discomfort

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