When Women Are `More Than Human' Do Their Roles Change?
Feminism is a movement which promotes the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Prior to this movement, which initiated the empowerment of women, their role in society was a predetermined package, a set of stereotypes to which all women belonged. It was a women's job to be a mother and a housewife. They were allocated no other job or status. Women were treated as `nurturers' who were expected to be submissive to men and to play passive roles in society. They lacked independence, social networks, personal identity and individuality. The feminist movement began questioning these stereotypes and fighting to promote equality of the sexes. As the views of women changed
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Janie, the main female character, exhibits headstrong and aggressive qualities, which again are more closely associated with modern feminism. Janie is obviously not afraid to speak her mind, as is evident when she tells Lone "You're a real cheap stingy son of a bitch," (49). By having a female character speak so assertively to a male, Theodore Sturgeon is countering the traditional view of women as passive and submissive. Furthermore, not only is Janie represented as a forceful female, but she also steps outside traditional boundaries by acting out the typically male role of a `rescuer'. Hip was trapped both physically in a jail cell and mentally in a state of torment. Janie proceeds to get him out of prison and into a situation where his physical and mental health could be restored. Sturgeon inverts the typical male and female roles as Hip becomes the victim and Janie becomes the rescuer. Another glimpse of protofeminism is seen near the end of the novel when each of the main female characters defy the dominant male figure, Gerry, who had maintained control of them throughout the
majority of the plot. Janie breaks free from Gerry's control and attempts to help Hip restore his vitality. Later, Beanie and Bonnie physically attack Gerry in order to intervene