Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reflection on A Room of One's Own

Hi everyone! =]

Alright, so I’d like to start by saying that the more I read A Room of One’s Own, the more I like it! I enjoy how Virginia Wolf portrays the gender differences. She notes these differences in referencing how they have changed throughout history and by referencing historical figures like Shakespeare and Pericles. I thought it was interesting how she notes that the female position has not increased greatly throughout the centuries. Pericles had said in his funeral oration that “self respecting women should be neither seen nor heard,” and to find that several centuries later in the time of Shakespeare men were still thinking along those same lines, made me realize that there was very little social advancement at all throughout the centuries. It even frustrated me to think that, in a sense, thousands of years had been dedicated to solely male social advancement and barely any to female social advancement. Personally, the more I read A Room of One’s Own, the more I come to realize how much greater it is to be a woman in the 21st century. I can’t imagine living in a time when I wouldn’t be allowed to express myself in any way, where my only purpose would to bare children and then take up space, and where I would be expected to repress every ounce of talent that I may possess. i suppose that being a woman even in today’s world is still subject to some gender inequalities, I mean we still struggle with getting the same pay as men for the same work after all, but I feel that in just the past 100 years there has been so much more being made available to women. It makes me wonder what it would be like if back in the time of Pericles or Shakespeare they would have started to pay a bit more attention to the gender inequality.

I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween! =]

7 comments:

  1. I would have to agree that there has been great advancement in gender equality in the last 100 years. It has been interesting reading her book as a male because it forces me to consciously keep my mind open to her views so I can learn from her perspective, not only as a female but a modernist writer. I have noticed however, that the introduction to the book tries to connect a lot of her book's content with her life. Is this unusual for modernist writers?

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  2. I really agree with what Arcy is saying. Being a woman for most of human history was very difficult and you just couldn't do the same things as men. The cultures that readily accepted women as an equal citizen were very few and far between. Most cultures just had cultures that put women down, made them unable to participate in society, and generally treated them like property. So yeah just agreeing. Love the Classics reference Arcy, I've been thinking about it all the time i've been reading her work.

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  3. I have also been enjoying reading A Room of One's Own. The gender differences that she talks about are really interesting to think about. I can't imagine living in a time where women can't sit on the grass at some places. It's an interesting topic to think about. I wonder how I would act if I was in her position and time.

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  4. When reading A Room of One's I own I to appreciate being a woman of the 21st century because in the past they really had no chance to be an individual and find their calling in life. I feel like I really take this for granted because I never think about how much we have actually advanced. I agree with Arcy that the more I read this book the more I am enjoying it because it puts the gender role of the past on trial and shows its many flaws.

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  5. I'm taking a classics seminar and we talk about some of the same issues of women - funny you mention Greek literature. We talked about the roles of women in Greek society, which apart from the goddesses, were mainly maidservants. It's interesting yet unfortunate to see the similarities between how cultures over time treated women. Women didn't have a voice until this past century. Berkeley emphasizes using your voice to express your opinions. It just shows how far along as a civilization we have come, but we still have a long way to go.

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  6. Women have made great strides to obtain what they have today. I think Keefe made a good point about how other cultures are still far from seeing women as equals. I wanted to bring up women in Confucian practicing households in Asian countries. Women are to serve all the men in their lives without question. Although it is not a silencing of women's talents, it is somewhat a form of subjugation to me. Complete devotion to all the men in my life wouldn't be ideal, in my opinion. I'm really grateful to have grown up in a culture that has made big leaps in, what I think, improving women's roles.

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  7. I guess a rough measure of how much society is progressing is through how many women are in the arts right now. It used to be that women were bound by the gender roles and by stepping out of it, those women would be pariahs in society (possibly why Woolf needs a room of her own -- to hide from the criticisms of society). Yet, as time progresses, culture seems to become more tolerant, and it would be interesting to see how the role of gender and society will change through the next century.

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