Virginia Woolf's Battleground Against Sex-Based Discrimination

1954 Words 8 Pages
Woolf’s Battleground Against Sex-Based Discrimination
According to Professor Ellen Rosenman, “A Room of One’s Own analyzes the hostile environment in which women write…” (29). Throughout this course, the content in which I was most interested has been the idea that women were considered biologically inferior to men. From previous courses, I know that statements such as: “Women, living in a male world, lack the necessary autonomy to create freely” (Rosenman 29), were true in historical contexts and that gender injustice still exists in 2017. In A Room of One’s Own, Woolf “confronted explicitly the misogynistic claim that women’s artistry could never equal that of men’s because of their biological inferiority,” (Moran 5). A Room of One’s
…show more content…
Rosenman posits that A Room of One’s Own has remained poignant over the decades because it “often contradicts itself,” “can accommodate many agendas,” and is “a fertile source of ideas and illustrations,” (13). Relating most closely to feminism, “The celebration of the feminine style coexists with the valorization of androgyny; the insistence on gender as crucial to women’s perspective and experience coexists with a stern admonishment to women not to think consciously of their sex,” (Rosenman 13). Rosenman offers future critics plenty to dissect from A Room of One’s Own, saying that the book offers readers different topics to pursue and complex issues with which to wrestle, all dependent upon the readers’ background and point of view …show more content…
Hudnut used her findings to make a statement about the status of women at that time, calling novels “the mirror of life” (115), summarized that “women are still tacitly thought to be the inferior sex,” (112). She noted men and women held this view, and based her conclusion on trends she identified in the novels. The three main trends are “a general preference for male children, … the remarks of the characters, and an emphasis on woman’s [sic] appearance rather than on her intelligence,” (Hudnut 112). Of note—and I place emphasis on the first word—is that “even the most successful and dominant women have moments of weakness in the novels” because although they may be highly regarded within their own sex category, they remain women, and thus remain less than men (Hudnut 113). To refer to a man as a woman was considered an insulting comment, as the goal of such a comment was to lower the man below acceptable standards of masculinity (Hudnut 113).
Rosenman reiterates the importance of A Room of One’s Own given the times in which it was written: “It was the first literary history of women writers and the first theory of literary inheritance in which gender was the central category,” (11). In

Related Documents