Women and Economics
There is a clear and logical explanation for one of the most confounding and prevalent problems in people’s lives. It is a problem that practically every individual faces on a practical level and that deserves the moralist, doctor, and sociologist full attention. It reaches out to today’s thinking women in particular and instills in them a new understanding of their civic responsibilities as individuals, but also of their unfathomable racial significance as men’s makers. This essay will attempt to discuss the topic by responding to the three questions listed below using Gilman’s article, Women and Economics.
1. Gilman’s view of obstacles to women’s freedom
According to Gilman’s article Women and Economics, the most significant obstacles to women’s freedom arise from the reality that women are wholly reliant on males for their life. The result of this connection is that women are compelled to repay their obligation to males by performing domestic services. For these sexual implications, all women are controlled by men, with the power distribution remaining in the hands of men. Due to these considerations, Gilman feels that it will be necessary for society to alter on both a social and legal level in order to overcome this barrier. Women emphasize their feminine characteristics, such as passivity and sexual ability to attract males, at the expense of their human characteristics. It is as a result of this that she believes women are over-sexed. She defines it as overdeveloping their uniquely feminine characteristics at the cost of their human characteristics.
2. The Relationship between the Family and Individual Freedom
Gilman is well-known for her critiques of women ‘s financial dependence. Her perspective was controversial at the time, as it was connected to a view of the effect of societal forces on what appeared to be isolated situations, for example, marriage. Rather than campaigning for women’s right to vote, Gilman contended that the unequal division of labor resulted in distorted human beings. Gilman claimed that women would achieve equality with men only after attaining economic independence. She felt that the unpaid work performed by women within the family, such as raising children, cooking, and washing, was a form of abuse. Society had to come to terms with the fact that women, especially married women, might have professions. She argued that women must work outside the family and women and men should divide household chores. However, she continued, saying that marriage itself needed to be modified to reflect contemporary reality. She believed that, to the extent practicable, cleaning, cooking, and parenting should be handled by professionals rather than biological parents. Gilman believed that the basic concept of “motherhood” was out of line in modern culture. She felt that rather than individual homes, children should be nurtured in community orphanages and served in communal kitchens. She reasoned that girls and boys must be raised with similar clothing, toys, and ambitions.
3. Industrial Workers of the World
Even throughout the Progressive Era, women and minorities experienced significant discrimination, which explains why the Industrial Workers of the World grew rapidly and encountered opposition. Due to the IWW’s primary objective of solidarity, it accepted those who were excluded from the AFL and other groups. It provided minorities with an opportunity to engage in labor issues and to advocate for themselves. Whereas this pleasant aspect gained a large number of followers, it also provoked controversy because it posed a threat to the still-existent white supremacy ideology. Indeed, detractors named William Haywood, IWW leader “America’s most dangerous man.” Allowing “fewer” groups and women to have this type of influence and power that should have been reserved for white people was a dangerous and frightening outrage to those fearful of relinquishing their white thrones.
In conclusion, humans have already taken a step toward improvement in today’s world. Additionally, contemporary social forces are forcing us forward, even without human understanding and in the face of their violent opposition. It is a process that can be enhanced significantly with people’s recognition and support. Thus, the article’s idea has been sufficiently intriguing to encourage additional investigation and discussion, as it has demonstrated its inaccuracy and confirmed its truth.
Gilman, C. P. (1898). Women and Economics. A Celebration of Women Writers. https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/gilman/economics/economics.html