Sexism In Girl Interrupted

Decent Essays
Imagine living in a society where women are treated unequally and had a label because of their gender. According to Tavaana.org, women were legally subject to their husbands via “head and master laws,” and they had no legal right to any of their husband’s earnings or property. Women were also limited to jobs as a teacher, nurse, or secretary while other professional jobs were reserved for men. Even if women had jobs, they were often paid lower than men. If a woman were to express her thoughts, she would be labeled as “mad” and her thoughts would be disregarded. Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Frida Kahlo’s artwork, and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted, all had characters that experienced this unethical phenomenon. Gilman, …show more content…
Back in the day, women were often unemployed and males were dominant figures in society. Business owners were often males while women were responsible for domestic duties. If a women were to be in the work force, they would be treated harshly and underpaid. In Kaysen’s journal, she faces sexism in the work force. She writes, “Typists are not permitted to smoke” (131). Kaysen uses the word “typists” to refer to all the women working at the Harvard billing office. This shows a lack of freedom experienced by women because all supervisors were men and they were allowed to smoke while typists, who were all women, were not able to. Smoking served as a way for Kaysen to focus on the job so that she can avoid making mistakes yet she is denied the opportunity to smoke which shows sexism since women were always denied opportunities in life while men had more access to them. Kaysen is also expected to follow a strict dress code at the Harvard billing office. Kaysen writes, “This put me in a pickle, as I had only miniskirts, and I had as yet no paycheck” (132). In this case, the supervisor is unfair towards Kaysen because he tells her that she can’t wear miniskirts which showed sexist acts since women had to follow a stricter dress code than men. Not only do women face sexist acts in the work force but women were often underpaid which is apparent in this quote because she only had “miniskirts” and did not have a paycheck, showing that miniskirts were probably all that women could afford at the time. This drives Kaysen insane and makes her ponder about her decisions to become a writer so that she could express her thoughts. According to TheAnarchistLibrary.org, women’s oppression lies in the division of society into classes and since they were given the worst work, with no job security, the bosses created super-cheap workforce which they could hire or fire

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