Danika Rockett University of Baltimore Summer 2010 Mid-Twentieth Century Feminism
Simone de BeauvoirThe Second Sex (1949) • “One is not born a woman … she becomes a woman” • Gender is an aspect of identity that is shaped by societal norms • Men are the “norm” and women are the deviation of that norm—the “other” sex • e.g. Men are superior, women are inferior
Betty FriedanThe Feminine Mystique (1963) • Helped ignite the 1960’s feminist movement • Focuses on post-WWII middle-class family life • e.g. Leave It To Beaver, Ozzie & Harriet • Women are expected to find meaning in their lives through their husbands and children • They lose their identities to that of their family • Media and propaganda encouraged women to conform
World War II: Rosie the Riveter All the day long,Whether rain or shineShe’s part of the assembly line.She’s making history,Working for victoryRosie the Riveter
Post-World War II: June Cleaver • Popular television encouraged women to stay out of the workforce • Public images of Hollywood stars were consciously reworked to show their commitment to marriage and family • “The family is the center of your living. If it isn’t, you’ve gone far astray”
Sandra Gilbert & Susan GubarThe Madwoman in the Attic (1979) • Uses feminist theory to examine Victorian literature • Nineteenth Century male writers' tended to categorize female characters as either pure, angelic women, or rebellious, unkempt madwomen, so . . . • . . . women writers were confined to make their female characters either the "angel" or the "monster.“ • Gilbert and Gubar: Writers should strive for definition beyond this dichotomy, whose options are limited by a patriarchal point of view.
Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre (1848) Bertha: The original “madwoman in the attic” Jane = The angel Bertha = The monster Can you think of other angel/monster dichotomies in readings from this semester?
Syllabus updated on website Take –home Essay due Wednesday, July 7 Start thinking about Final Essay topic Google Scholar Knight Citations Reminders for upcoming classes