Inequality between the sexes which is one of the main reasons as to the establishment of feminism has been linked to ignorance (Deutscher pg 1). With many individuals who identify themselves as feminists believing that we are in the third wave of feminism, a wave that challenges dualism while identifying itself with particularity and diversity. It’s a high time feminists looked back at the progress that has been achieved through the first and second waves of feminism. This discussion is timely and important in the sense that similarities between the first and the second wave of feminism can be established as the challenges that have adamantly rocked feminism. This way, feminists can gain an occasioned entry into the third wave of feminism with a clear picture of the issues they are to deal with (Mack-Canty pg 1).
Each wave of feminism has reasons for its existence the first wave of feminism advocated for voting rights, child custody sexual liberation, and divorce laws among others. This wave of feminism ended in the beginning of the twentieth century a period in which most of the women in the western world were granted voting rights. Most of the second wave feminists were made of young women. They advocated for civil rights and were part of radical youth movements.
In the book “the yellow wallpaper” by Perkins- Gilman’s the woman is portrayed as someone who believes strongly that she has a supportive family. She is suffering from a nervous depression and believes that she knows what her remedy is. The couple lives in a leased residential mansion so as to give see an improvement in the health status of the woman who is expectant and also to give way to repairs in their home (Perkins- Gilman’s, pg 14).
In the poem “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath, the woman is portrayed as someone who is suppressed and is trying to gain an understanding of her father. She is scared of his father and as such cannot be able to communicate with him. She indicates by the description of his features which are the main basis for the fear she holds for him. Although the use of the word brute gives a confirmation that her judgment was not merely based on his looks (Sylvia Plath pg 1).
The woman in Perkins- Gilman’s book portrays the man in her life as loving although with an authoritative grip. Although in the background it is clear that the man in her life is suppressive evident from the frequent scoffing, and the need to painfully control her self control in his presence so as to prevent “neglect of proper self-control” (Perkins- Gilman’s, pg 3). On the other hand, the man in “daddy” poem is portrayed as someone oppressive.. The woman in the poem says she has been too scared to breathe (Sylvia Plath, pg 1).
The man in the life of the woman in “the yellow wallpaper” does not offer approval to the things that are not observable, can be felt or can be figuratively represented, this greatly affects the psyche of the woman and her eventual recovery. The man in “daddy” by Sylvia Plath does not offer his daughter the opportunity to understand him, and despite the suppressed attempts at understanding him, the man is also oppressive to the woman and this has an effect on the psyche of the woman.
The differences that are observed regarding the time that these two articles were written is observable from the fact that the first article was written at a time when male dominance in the marriage setting was quiet normal, and as such the woman in the book “the yellow wallpaper” by Perkins- Gilman’s does not take it too personal that the man in her life is denying her some of her preferences, particularly that of changing her room. The difference in the poem is realized from the fact that it is not clear what were the milestones achieved by feminists in achieving gender equity. However, it is clear that some of the actions of the man to the woman may have been jeopardized by a war that was present at the time. This war had an effect on the perception of certain individuals based on their origin. It is clear moreover that the oppression of women has remained the same over time.
The woman in the book “the yellow wallpaper” has used the paper on the walls of their room which had been stripped off in large patches. This offers an understanding to her mental state which can be viewed from the perspective that although “the yellow wallpaper” and the woman may appear normal, scrutinized closely will give details of flaws unobserved initially. In the poem “daddy” the shoe has been used to represent the man and the feet represent the woman indicated that the woman feels oppressed.
The similarities between the situations that the women in both articles find themselves in can be established as the lack of proper communication. The woman in the book by “the yellow wallpaper” by Perkins- Gilman’s has insufficient communication with the man because of domineering nature, extreme practicality, intense superstition and a number of other factors.
The woman in the poem “daddy” however fails to voice her concerns, mainly because of fear and this leads to poor communication.
The woman in “the yellow wallpaper” believes that the remedy to her situation is to tear down the whole wallpaper. This will release the woman held beneath who is constantly creeping in and out of the wall. The woman in “daddy” believes that she has to make a model of the father clothed in black and ‘with a Meinkampf look”.
Feminist waves are important, and though the third wave feminism is as complicated as it is problematic, it is clear, young women and in some cases girls have are active in feminism and the feminist practices and theory is alive in the contemporary youth (Hammer & Kellner pg 10). This wave of feminism is believed to contain a host of benefits absent in the second wave of feminism. The prime property of the third wave feminism is the deconstruction of the idea of duality. The trend of the first and second waves of feminism was to work with political entities mainly socialism and liberalism in an attempt to explain the oppression of the women. The third wave focuses on the diversity in women’s perspectives. The use of the term third wave feminism has however been clouded with controversies. There are claims that the term has been used to develop individual political interest and has in most cases been used in place of the word post feminism
(Mack-Canty pg 2).
The first and second waves of feminism are attempts by feminists to voice their stand on certain issues in the society and to have their concerns heard and rights addressed. The comparisons of “the yellow wallpaper” and “daddy” are illustrations of ways in which dominance and neglect by the men have been the key factor that contributes to gender inequity.
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